LIVE REVIEW: Architects, Beartooth, Polaris, Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, 18/01/2019
The foot-stomping riff of The Remedy echoed out into the huge hall of Cardiff Motorpoint Arena as Polaris entered, not only consistently conquering the metaphorical bar set above them, but most certainly walking away with a swarm of new fans.
Jamie Hails’s diverse blend of screaming beatdowns and impressive vocal range bombarded Cardiff, as he and his fellow musicians threw huge shapes around the stage, playing through their technical melodic metal repertoire from their latest album, The Mortal Coil. With arena performances, it takes a special relationship between artist and audience to really electrify the first half hour, and although they didn’t stir up quite the storm they may have predicted, sparks were certainly charging between the two.
Jake Steinhauser’s vocal contribution could not go unheard however, with the anthemic Dusk To Day highlighting his own singing abilities as both guitars and drums continued to revive lulling individuals with tasty and unprecedented guitar licks/drum fills. Ending the set on Lucid, the Australian quintet strongly emphasise how bright their future is steadily becoming.
The gravel-scagged vocals of bandana-clad Caleb Shomo rang out over the speakers as the heavy hardcore punk hitters Beartooth made their appearance. Favourites such as Aggressive had the few front rows overbearing Caleb as they screamed out the well-known chorus, before opening up huge mosh pits in the centre of the arena. Unlike some artists the singer seemed to be the most active in terms of stage charisma, as the remaining members focused on their craft and successfully hit every big musical breakdown in time to send the spectators into what seemed to be quite an enjoyable frenzy.
Connor Denis also received a brief interlude to boast under the spotlight with his stick skills, unleashing a flurry of drum solo combinations mid-set that kept everyone’s eyes and ears fixed on him. With raw encouragement in every mass applause, they left 2014’s big single Body Bag and 2018’s Disease ’til last, really routing out any scepticals resting at the back of the room.
The evening had reached its crescendo as the lights dimmed and out walked the five metalcore musicians known as Architects, instruments in-hand, more than prepared to bring Wales a huge show to remember with material from one of their most powerful and gruelling albums to date. Dan Hillier’s beautiful artwork from the Death is Not Defeat music video faded into being against the enormous backdrop, as Sam Carter erupted into being with beams of light flowing out from behind him into the darkness. It wasn’t long before the light display took full affect and illuminated what felt like the entirety of Cardiff, with the beefy guitar riffs of Modern Misery and crushing speed breakdowns of Nihilist swiftly following behind, bringing with them huge clouds of Co2 and bursts of blazing pyro.
Album title-track Holy Hell, from the bands late 2018 release, slowly surged in its magnitude, rushing in as the mosh pit opened up once more, giving crowd surfers and shoulder riders their opportunity to surf the countless nameless straight to the front. Guitarists Adam Christianson and Josh Middleton strode around with nothing but confidence in their stride, as drummer Dan Searle and bassist/keyboardist Alex Edwin Dean were focused on hit for hit and key for key atop their risen platforms.
With music from 2016’s release All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us making a violent appearance, 2014’s album Lost Forever/Lost Together also stood out once again with numbers such as Gravedigger leaving the barrier row fighting for breath, as throngs of people refused to let up in their enjoyment of the chaos unravelling at the centre of the room.
Steadily coming to the close, the talented frontman took a few moments to not only thank everyone for their presence but to speak from the heart and introduce each member accordingly, explaining the depth of their relationship together (as well as thanking security and their crew for always being on top form).
A dramatic middle section of Momento Mori was played illuminated by the impressive projections, before Gone With The Wind came swooping in with an emotional tribute metaphorically carved into the setting for their previous guitarist Tom Searle, who passed away in 2016. His twin brother Dan Searle standing in respect to his late brother was enough to tip the majority to shed a tear in the same respect.
With Stuart Birchall’s music video referenced through a beautiful projection, slowly creeping over the musicians as they moved into Doomsday, an enormous wash of confetti exploded into the air, showering the audience in colour and finalising the verdict of the performance which left most in tears and awe.
The grief that befell this particular band has been an overbearing experience to watch even from the sidelines, and one that no one would ever have blamed them for if they had decided to call it a day; but they battled through hell and back to write an album that will hopefully help them find closure in this unfortunate circumstance, and what better way to personify its greatness than delivering a commandingly outstanding show to a fanbase that supported them through every step of their progressive recovery.
Written by: Nathan Roach
Photos by: Nathan Roach