Live Reviews

LIVE REVIEW: Architects, Sleep Token, Malevolence, Motorpoint Arena Nottingham, 03/05/2022

Photo Credit: Lucy Cheyne – Glasgow OVO Hydro (8th May)

When UK metalcore giants Architects released the dates for their first UK arena tour, it was fair to say that arenas have been a long time coming for the Brighton band. Their 2021 effort For Those That Wish To Exist took the band to the next level and had songs that were blatantly made for the arena setting, so how did this translate on a Tuesday night at Nottingham Arena?

Of course, with any band touring arenas for the first time, there is going to be those thoughts of ‘how are we going to persuade the casual metal music fan who is on the fence to fork out nearly £50 to come to the show?’, and the answer is really good support acts.

Parkway Drive did it with Killswitch Engage, and Thy Art is Murder. Don Broco are doing it with Papa Roach, and Architects most definitely did it with Malevolence and Sleep Token.

Malevolence are a band that no one has anything bad to say about. The Sheffield hardcore outfit evidently love what they do, and play with a passion matched by very few, and have a highly dedicated fanbase, and this certainly comes across in their live performance. Fresh off the release of singles On Broken Glass, Life Sentence, and Still Waters Run Deep (all of which are part of their upcoming new record), the band feel like they are riding the biggest wave of momentum that their career has had so far. Anyone who has seen Malevolence live will know about the circle pits that they have gone viral on many an occasion for, and Nottingham was no different. As the band unleashed a six-song setlist that went by in a flash, it was chaotic, heavy and everything you’d want from your local hardcore band. 8.5/10

In a different vibe to Malevolence, the enigmatic Sleep Token graced the arena with their melodic and emotive music. Although they perhaps did not interact or connect with the crowd, it is hard to deny the band’s talent. Tracks from their latest LP This Place Will Become Your Tomb such as Alkaline and Hypnosis were the best received but failed to connect with the crowd and get the energy levels to near the level of Malevolence. Musically, they sounded immense, however it is hard to deny that performing as if there is no crowd can come across a little strange rather than the mysterious vibe the band are going for, as the performance did grow a little stale, which is the risk you take when deciding to not speak to your crowd. 7/10

Onto the main event, and as the arena began to fill up further, you would guess it was at roughly 60% capacity, with the floor mostly full which is not bad for a first crack at arenas. As the PA played some of the best metal tracks of the last 20 years, the crowd were well and truly up for it. Beginning in the same style as their latest LP, Do You Dream Of Armageddon leading into Black Lungs is a brilliant way to start to any live set, and as vocalist Sam Carter screamed “Where were you when the gods clipped the wings off the phoenix”, it went off.

Throughout the set, the band showcased a lot of the new record, which was greeted to a brilliant reception. The drop in Discourse Is Dead, the chorus of Meteor, and the melody of Dead Butterflies were all lapped up like meat to a pack of wolves. Visually, the band’s production was good, but nothing particularly mind blowing. Where bands like Enter Shikari, Bring Me The Horizon and Parkway Drive have transformed how incredible a metal gig in an arena can be, Architects perhaps did not invest a lot of time nor use a lot of creativity in that area as a square lighting rig and a small wide screen behind the band did not give the aura of a huge arena band.

However, this did not take away from the band’s performance as they dipped in and out of their last four records, with Gravedigger from 2014’s Lost Forever // Lost Together being the oldest track they played, but also one of the rowdiest. Fan favourites such as the Tom Searle-dedicated Gone With The Wind and Doomsday had the crowd moving, both physically and emotionally. Sam Carter’s presence as a frontman was very strong. As a vocalist, he sounds exactly how he does on record, which is all that you could wish for from a singer. His crowd interaction was second to none as his personality shone through during intervals, as well as his honesty when talking about the band’s journey to arenas, and what some of the songs meant to the band.

As the encore began, the band played their latest single When We Were Young, which is another step in the direction of a more radio-friendly Architects that still stick to their metalcore guns. Animals capped off the set, which is arguably the perfect closer for the night as it is the track that has arguably pushed the band from the O2 academies to the arenas.

Architects are a band that are ready for arenas and have been for a while, and they showed that in Nottingham, and with a few tweaks to their production, they could really optimise their surroundings and take their live performance to the next level, however that takes nothing away from what was a brilliant night at Nottingham arena. 8.5/10

Written by: Joe Loughran

Photos by: Lucy Cheyne – Glasgow OVO Hydro (8th May)