Game-chang­ing al­bums. Arena tour epics. Re­turn­ing leg­ends and to­mor­row’s su­per­stars. If you thought 2018 was an ex­cit­ing time for rock, you’ve not seen any­thing yet. With ex­clu­sive ac­cess and all-re­veal­ing in­ter­views across the fol­low­ing 14 pages, here’s

Kerrang! (UK) - - Contents -


Mos­cow, the Adren­a­line Sta­dium. As those mourn­ful strings usher in the nonemore-apt Death Is Not De­feat, more than 8,000 voices rise as one. They al­most drown out Ar­chi­tects front­man Sam Carter as they sing along to the poignant lyrics: ‘When I leave this skin and bone / Be­yond my fi­nal heart­beat / I’ll dis­man­tle piece by piece / And I will know that death is not de­feat.’

There are hun­dreds, per­haps thou­sands, of red, heart-shaped bal­loons in the crowd, and they pro­vide a vis­ual rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the love that ex­ists be­tween this band and its fans. An hour or so later, as Ar­chi­tects come out to be­gin their en­core, those same fans un­veil ban­ners pro­claim­ing ‘All is not lost’ – a lyric from the band’s A Wasted Hymn.

This is only the third show Ar­chi­tects have played since they re­leased eighth al­bum Holy Hell in Novem­ber. It’s an al­bum that deals with the pass­ing of gui­tarist, founder mem­ber and driv­ing force Tom Searle, who passed away from can­cer in 2016. It’s one of the most emo­tion­ally res­o­nant al­bums you’ll ever hear and, judg­ing by the hand­ful of shows so far – as well as Mos­cow, this short end-of-year stretch takes in gigs in Saint Peters­burg, Kiev and Brighton – the in­creas­ingly huge crowds have taken it com­pletely to heart.

“It’s amaz­ing when you travel to some­where like Rus­sia and they do some­thing like that,” says Dan Searle.

The drum­mer, who has shoul­dered his brother Tom’s role as the band’s chief lyri­cist, ad­mits that he couldn’t even tell what the ban­ners said at the time due to his short-sight­ed­ness. It’s not been the first such ges­ture, how­ever, and it’s un­likely to be the last.

“Since Tom died we’re al­ways be­ing am­bushed by crowds with some­thing sur­pris­ing and thought­ful. It shows peo­ple’s in­vest­ment and the ded­i­ca­tion of the fans all over the world,” he says.

“There’s been a lot of Ar­chi­tects fans that have or­gan­ised those sorts of things,” adds Sam. “It’s al­ways beau­ti­ful when you see it.”

On Jan­uary 14, Ar­chi­tects will bring Holy Hell back to the UK for a short but hugely sig­nif­i­cant run that will take in a two-night stint at Manch­ester’s O2 Vic­to­ria Ware­house, a date in Glas­gow and an arena show in Cardiff. Oh, and the small mat­ter of their big­gest ever head­lin­ing show at Lon­don’s Wem­b­ley Arena.

Sit back and take that one in for a sec­ond, be­cause the mem­bers of Ar­chi­tects had to.

“We thought it was a piss-take when we first played [Lon­don venue] The Round­house,” laughs Sam. “That was so far ahead of what we thought we could achieve with this band. You’ve just got to laugh, try not to take it too se­ri­ously, but still put on the best show you can. If you think that you’re play­ing Wem­b­ley and you’re the sort of band that’s got blast­beats and break­downs, it’s a bit too much to take in!”

Th­ese won’t be the first huge shows that Ar­chi­tects have played (and again, they won’t be the last). Al­most a year ago they head­lined Alexan­dra Palace in Lon­don – it­self a show that Dan de­scribes as “be­yond bucket-list stuff”.

“It was one of those out-of-body ex­pe­ri­ences, where you can’t re­ally take in 10,000 peo­ple singing along to your songs,” adds Sam. “It’s too much for a brain to com­pre­hend! It was very much like Le­ices­ter win­ing the league, I would imag­ine.”

Foot­ball anal­ogy in mind (hey, he started it), there’s now no doubt at all that Ar­chi­tects are now firmly en­trenched in the mu­si­cal Premier League. Th­ese lat­est dates are proof that last year’s step up was no one-sea­son won­der and it’s not just do­mes­ti­cally that they’re on a win­ning streak. The venues are also in­creas­ing in size in Europe and be­yond, while the singer says he’s par­tic­u­larly ex­cited about the North Amer­i­can fes­ti­vals they’re cur­rently lin­ing up.

“We’ve never re­ally done those be­fore. Bring Me The Hori­zon and While She Sleeps are go­ing to be out there, so it will be nice to have a bit of a Bri­tish gang out on tour. We’re also play­ing so many shows with Tool, which is amaz­ing as we’re all huge Tool fans,” he grins.

This must be an in­cred­i­bly ex­cit­ing time to be a mem­ber of Ar­chi­tects. At the same time, how­ever, ev­ery new peak they scale and ev­ery new achieve­ment they tick off that ‘be­yond bucket list’ rep­re­sents a bit­ter­sweet mo­ment. Be­cause the one per­son who did the most to get them there isn’t here to share in it.

“It’s odd that Tom did so many years with the band but never ex­pe­ri­enced any­thing like the pop­u­lar­ity that the band has now,” sighs Dan.

“The big­gest show he played was the Round­house in Lon­don. It was a to­tally dif­fer­ent re­al­ity when Tom was here and you for­get that he wasn’t phys­i­cally at any of th­ese shows. It’s sad be­cause it’s all built on his em­pire and none of it would ex­ist with­out him.

“It’s def­i­nitely bit­ter­sweet and strange, but at the same time there’s no doubt that he would be happy for us and very proud that we’ve man­aged to move on.”

Ar­chi­tects may have man­aged to move for­ward in spec­tac­u­lar fash­ion, but it cer­tainly hasn’t been an easy tran­si­tion. The band have pre­vi­ously spo­ken about how hard it was to re­turn to live ac­tion with­out Tom, but this tour presents a dif­fer­ent emo­tional chal­lenge, with the set built heav­ily around the new al­bum.

“Per­son­ally, I find it [harder] do­ing stuff off [2016 al­bum] All Our Gods Have Aban­doned Us be­cause I’m singing Tom’s lyrics and talk­ing about his per­sonal jour­ney with what was go­ing on in his life at the time,” says Sam. “Whereas with Holy Hell, singing Dan’s lyrics, it’s com­ing from the same place that we’re all in. So it’s more cathar­tic do­ing the songs from Holy Hell be­cause it’s more re­lat­able and I can get into that mind­set of where I’m at and where we’ve been as a band.

“But day by day, some­times it can be okay and some­times it can be re­ally hard. Some­times I’m on­stage when I’m hav­ing those bad days, and I think it’s im­por­tant not to hide from it and to show peo­ple how you feel be­cause you’re a hu­man be­ing. I want peo­ple who are go­ing through their own strug­gles with things like that to un­der­stand that every­body goes through it.”

Death Is Not De­feat is the al­bum opener, but is us­ing it to open the show also a state­ment in it­self?

“I think so,” the singer says af­ter a pause for con­sid­er­a­tion. “It car­ries on from where we left off with Me­mento Mori on All Our Gods…, and it’s Dan hav­ing his con­ver­sa­tion with Tom through that song. I think it re­ally sets the show up very nicely for us to get in the right frame of mind but also for peo­ple in the crowd to un­der­stand why we’re still here.”

There are no­table ab­sences in the set lists of the shows they’ve played so far, in­clud­ing A Wasted Hymn and the har­row­ing The Sev­enth Cir­cle. It oc­curs that the emo­tional heft of th­ese songs might be too much to tackle right now, but Dan of­fers a more pro­saic ex­pla­na­tion.

“[The Sev­enth Cir­cle] raised a few eye­brows and caught peo­ple’s at­ten­tion. It’s ob­vi­ously a very ex­treme song in terms of the emo­tional


sen­ti­ment of it, but the truth is we just don’t want to play ev­ery sin­gle song off the al­bum,” he says. “Be­cause we know we’ll do an­other tour and we want some songs to switch out. We’re sav­ing that one for a later date.”

And you also have to think about the son­ics and the flow…

“Yeah, ex­actly, and think about which songs stop dead, which ring out, which are in which tun­ing, which are new, which are old. I think the set will maybe change slightly from Rus­sia. But we’ll have a cou­ple of sur­prises up our sleeves…”

One con­stant that has helped Ar­chi­tects to carry on has been their re­la­tion­ship with their fans. It’s not un­usual to hear a band speak of their ‘spe­cial’ re­la­tion­ship with their fans, even if they’re su­per­stars who charge the equiv­a­lent of those fans’ av­er­age daily wage for a meet and greet. In the case of this bunch of what Sam calls “five nor­mal blokes”, though, it re­ally is the case. It’s not just the in­ci­dents like the bal­loons and ban­ners in Mos­cow. It’s also the count­less mes­sages they’ve re­ceived, on­line and on paper and in per­son.

“It’s been mas­sively im­por­tant and, to be to­tally hon­est, I don’t al­ways ap­pre­ci­ate it enough,” nods Dans. “It’s been two and a half years since Tom died and we have had all th­ese sur­prises and mes­sages of sup­port and love. There was so much af­fec­tion when we started re­leas­ing songs from the record.”

As they scale up and move to ever big­ger venues how­ever, does it also get more dif­fi­cult to main­tain that bond?

“Peo­ple will hate to hear it, but it does,” the drum­mer says. “It’s all well and good go­ing to the merch ta­ble, but if there’s 10,000 peo­ple at the show, you’re go­ing to be there ‘til the early hours. At the same time, the big­ger the band gets, the more you meet friends out­side the show en­vi­ron­ment. I’m not Justin Bieber by any stretch of the imag­i­na­tion. I’m not even Sam Carter. But we all get stopped by fans in ev­ery­day life, go­ing to the shops or what­ever. Maybe that’s now the best time to do it!”

Given the in­tensely per­sonal na­ture of the new al­bum, the big­gest shows Ar­chi­tects have ever played could also, in a unique way, be their most in­ti­mate.

“They’ll def­i­nitely be the most vul­ner­a­ble,” says Sam. “They’ll prob­a­bly be the most ex­posed we’ll be, through talk­ing about our own jour­ney. I think it will be quite raw in some re­spects, but there will also be the pure joy in us from play­ing th­ese shows and be­ing com­pletely blown away by it all.”

No mat­ter how big Ar­chi­tects get, there are a cou­ple of things that will – hope­fully – al­ways keep them grounded. The first is the fact that suc­cess on a ma­jor scale came so late in their ca­reer. Sam re­calls with ap­par­ent fond­ness years of sleep­ing in the back of a van while “liv­ing off $2 a day” some­where in Amer­ica.

“We put in a hard graft to get where we are and ev­ery bit of work we’ve done means that when we get th­ese op­por­tu­ni­ties we’re so grate­ful for it. We’re still blown away that we get to tour in a bus, and I’m still blown away that we have crew that sets up stuff for us. We re­ally are liv­ing the dream and you’d be hard-pressed to find any of us com­plain­ing on tour,” he adds.

And if they do start com­plain­ing or sweat­ing the small stuff? The mem­ory of their late gui­tarist, brother and best friend will be there to kick their ar­ses.

“You can’t be com­pla­cent or be throw­ing your toys out of the pram about rub­bish stuff be­cause Tom wouldn’t be­lieve it,” Sam smiles. “You have to en­joy ev­ery mo­ment be­cause he didn’t get to do th­ese amaz­ing things, but we’re do­ing it for him. He was and al­ways will be the driv­ing force for us.”

And what about the fu­ture? If you’ve al­ready sur­passed your wildest ex­pec­ta­tions, is there any point lim­it­ing your am­bi­tions from here? “Well, given that I would never have imag­ined play­ing Wem­b­ley Arena, I am be­gin­ning to think that the band can just be as big as we are pre­pared to imag­ine it could be,” says Dan. “Baby steps have turned into big strides in the past few years… I can def­i­nitely see us head­lin­ing a Down­load in the fu­ture.”

Just a few years ago that would have seemed a laugh­ably bold sug­ges­tion but now? We wouldn’t bet against them. K!

You just can’t get the qual­ity of jeans nowa­days

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