Architects live in London: a cinematic airing from iconic surroundings

Abbey Road Studios, December 12: The expansive metallers pair ‘For Those That Wish To Exist’ with the heft of a live orchestra, with magical results

“I think a couple of people will recoil in horror and then find they actually do like it,” Architects’ Dan Searle told NME back in January. The drummer was referring to the band’s then-upcoming ninth album, ‘For Those That Wish To Exist’, a massive, arena-sized rebirth that smashed any preconceived notions of how the Brighton metallers should sound.

Even so, it’s unlikely Dan could have foreseen their path leading here. Tonight, they’re playing that album in full and streaming from the iconic Abbey Road studios: spiritual home to legends like The Beatles, Queen and Pink Floyd. Backing the band are the Parallax Orchestra, who also worked with Bring Me The Horizon at their ‘Live At The Royal Albert Hall’ Show.

It’s the perfect ending to a year that’s seen the band flourish outside their comfort zone. While their previous three albums, ‘Lost Together // Lost Forever’ (2015), ‘All Our Gods’ Have Abandoned Us’ (2017) and ‘Holy Hell’ (2019), cemented them as modern metal scene leaders, in 2021 they hurtled towards a cleaner, more melodic future, reaching further outside the confines of technical metal-core.

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From the moment ‘Black Lungs’ shatters a hushed silence in a bombastic swelling of strings and horns, the effect is mesmerising. Songs like ‘Dead Butterflies’ and the Bond-esque ‘Demi God’, already dripping in strings on record, were destined to be played this way, the sheer volume and weight of additional arrangements elevating them to a breathtakingly cinematic level. Led by tattooed, Vans-clad conductor and arranger, Simon Dobson, who’s grinning his face off and clearly having the time of his life, the already apocalyptic, ‘An Ordinary Extinction’ and ‘Impermanence’ sound colossal enough to blow chunks out of the floor. Meanwhile, the online chat at the side of the stream is whizzing frantically with increasingly capitalised comments that boil down to: “OMG THIS IS THE TITS!”

Even when encircled by some of the country’s most accomplished musicians, Architects shine through. Although vocalist Sam Carter seems nervous at first, his voice, segueing between paint-stripping bellows, growls and increasingly tender cleans, is a thing of wonder – one of the best in the game. And far from sounding as though they’re being backed by the orchestra, at points it sounds like the band have simply morphed into a symphonic metal behemoth, brutal and classical elements coming together as one, strings, guitars and brass symbiotically entwining for maximum drama.

‘For Those That Wish To Exist’ continues a purple patch that started six years ago, but you couldn’t have imagined Architects pulling off this performance even two years ago. Yet as 2021 draws to a close, they sound nothing short of limitless.

Architects played: 

‘Do You Dream of Armageddon?’

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‘Black Lungs’

‘Giving Blood’

‘Discourse Is Dead’

‘Dead Butterflies’

‘An Ordinary Extinction’

‘Impermanence’

‘Flight Without Feathers’

‘Little Wonder’

‘Animals’

‘Libertine’

‘Goliath’

‘Demi God’

‘Meteor’

‘Dying Is Absolutely Safe’

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