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Live Review: Architects (UK) + Deaf Havana - HMV Forum, London (12/16/11)

Tonight, inside London’s HMV Forum there was a heightened sense of anticipation from the crowd, who were not only about to witness Architects biggest ever headline show, but were about to see the first headline tour off the back of the Brighton five-piece’s most recent release ‘The Here And Now’. The album may have split the Architects fan-base somewhat, but with the crowd filling the venue to near capacity, it seems the band have far from lost the hardcore fan-base, and from tonight’s performance they put all questions of their new direction to rest.

Main support for the evening, Deaf Havana seemed to have half the crowd on their side before they even entered proceedings. And what ensued was a confident and solid performance. However, since the departure of Ryan Mellor this, now four piece play out quite predictably. And with James Veck-Gilodi now singing all the parts, after losing the gritty screams of Ryan, the band seemed to have lost some energy and drive. Yet nothing can be taken away from James, whose vocals were faultless throughout.

When Architects finally arrived on stage to the intro of ‘Devils Island’, lead singer Sam Carter was quick in throwing aside the mic stand after the opening verse, swiftly taking hold of the stage, striding back and forth as the band launched into their latest endeavor. After jumping straight into ‘Early Grave’, it was clear these lads weren’t messing around, and something that stood out instantly was just how tight the performance was. Aside from sounding crushingly huge they were here to prove their headline pedigree, thrashing out the tracks with faultless precision. The London crowd were treated to a set that fused ‘Hollow Crown’ and ‘The Here And Now’, demonstrating just how huge both albums are, with the crowd forming a mosh pit to match. Sam Carter took hold of every song and delivered screams that quite literally shook the venue, for any fan left wondering how capable he is of handling this mix of brutal growls and clean vocals, Sam certainly proved himself tonight, with ‘Heartburn’, further demonstrating his vocal ability and also bringing a much needed calm to what can only be described as a ferocious storm.

After a breather and a band photo they came back on for a two song encore, dedicating a poignant ‘Hollow Crown’ to friends and family, then closing with one last assault, in the form of ‘Follow The Water’. Tonight, Architects were so clearly focused on the music itself, the set was fiercely intense and brutally heavy, a sure display of this band’s ability to headline a venue of this size, oozing with confidence and delivering easily one of the best shows of 2011.

Connor O’Brien

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