Three unique but very great bands were in a very small building this evening here at the Wolverhampton Slade Rooms. Architects were here for what turned out to be a special night, guitarist Tim Hillier-Brook has announced that he will part ways with the English metalcore band after their Groezrock slot later on this year and Wolverhampton hasn’t seen the Brighton boys for almost 6 years. Architects love to tour, whether it be a support slot or a full headline show, and they are well respected in the underground scene. Nevertheless, from the main stage at Reading last summer to the miniscule Slade Rooms, the venue was still surprisingly only half full. The tour is in support of their new album “Daybreaker” which is set to be released on May 28th in Europe. Wolverhampton was their 13th of 14 venues. Tonight was a unique chance to see a well established band in an intimate setting and the lack of heads in the way made it even more enjoyable.
First up were Stray From The Path. With six albums under their belt, charismatic frontman Drew York definitely had the loudest scream of the night. It wasn’t just the songs but the ideas that went into songs like “Damien” which is having a go at the odd branches of Christianity. I personally think the circle pit was bigger for Stray From The Path than the other two acts tonight and there was a really cool vibe. Even more so when Sam the Architects front man leapt on stage to get the crowd going. There is more to Stray From The Path than “making noise and scaring the neighbours.” They are totally original and 100% not generic. The sound quality however was a bit sketchy at times.
Next up were Rolo Tomassi. I was very excited about seeing them tonight as I wanted to see what a rhythmically complex and dissonant style of metalcore sounds like when produced by M.I.A collaborator DJ Diplo. Their 8 song set started with a spooky-sounding electronic solo, then came the guitars and out came Eva Spence. The sound was still a bit dodgy at the start of the set but it sorted itself out in the end. Shame because the demonic howls were distorted by the rest of the band for the first few songs. Eva and James go very well together, they both act crazy and both are very talented. Eva was a bizzare sight tonight even though the music was top notch, her twist and turns and aggressive head banging was a sight for sore eyes.
The angelic singing and the experimental calm atmospheric music was very creepy, while the metalcore section was still music to dance to. My personal favourite was their last tune “Party Wounds” with the Nintendo synthesizer lulling you into a false sense of security then the drums stopping and Eva going crazy! You cannot define Rolo Tomassi, however they mainly fall somewhere between grindcore, progressive and alternative rock. Whichever way you look at it their sound works and Rolo Tomassi are ones to watch out for at the many festivals they’ll be at this summer.
Now it was time for the main attraction, with the rate Architects are going it’s unlikely the Brighton metalcore outfit will be playing at venues this intimate in the near future. Despite the small setting Sam Carter was very comfortable and so were his band. It wasn’t just Sam who impressed me,the guitarists Tom Searle and Tim Hillier-Brook stood out in tracks “Early Grave” and “In Elegance.” The biggesst pit emerged for “Hollow Crown” as the audience “stepped up.” The new material from their fifth, political album, “Daybreaker”, was gutsy as the guys had definitely got their balls back.
The band thrive in the live underground scene, they’re not made for the radio, I personally don’t like hardcore bands that get too personal, I much prefer the political mandate (Enter Shikari). “Devils Island” was the first tonight and was very interesting to listen to. It showed a new side to Architects. To finish the night off Eva and Drew joined them on stage and as soon as Drew starting screaming everybody went mental. The set could have included a few more of the crowd pleasers but I was more than happy with what we got tonight. Amazing support, crazy fans, brilliant night!
Review – John Kirby
Photos – Steve Gerrard