Malevolence opened the show with gusto
Malevolence opened the show on Friday night and – I’ll be completely honest – before they began their set I had never listened to them before. But what better way is there to be introduced to such a talented young band?
The Sheffield quintet came out swinging and devoid of any nonsense. While the other two bands playing that evening surely had much larger fanbases, Malevolence were perhaps the most energetic and forthright in their delivery throughout the entire night. Their absolutely brutal riffs and breakdown in Life Sentence carried through the crowd and demanded attention. Vocalist Alex Taylor did not falter once during the band’s six-track setlist, and he seemed confident enough to stare every member of the audience down.
Their closing track, Keep Your Distance, was even more dastardly than the album version of the song (somehow?). Alex’s silky vocals refused to be ignored while he controlled a football pitch-sized circle pit like a conductor of chaos. Throughout all of this, the band as a whole did not miss a beat and should be commended for their absolute precision.
But perhaps the most surprising part of Malevolence’s set, however, was their confidence in song choice.
Before delving into the aforementioned final song, they played The Other Side – as close to a ballad as they could get – and it was welcomed by the thousands of onlookers. This confidence in their songwriting – while in a support slot, no less – was enough to win me over. Almost any band can turn up to an Architects gig and drop a few riffs, but Malevolence proved they had some actual substance to them.
Malevolence are one to watch. And with their third album, Malicious Intent, coming out on May 20, music fans will be silly not to delve into their work.
I have seen Sleep Token a few times in the past few months, and they never disappoint. Tonight was no different.
The enigmatic Vessel skulked onto the stage of Ally Pally with the same weight and reverence he employed at his solo Lafayette gig at the end of last month – but it did feel a bit off here. It’s important to note that I have only ever seen Sleep Token perform as a headline act, so they seemed a little more restrained in a supporting slot.
Obviously, the crowd wasn’t full to the rafters with their dedicated Worshippers, so they couldn’t conduct themselves with the blind confidence granted by playing their own show. With the added fact that the sun was still out when they finally took the stage, it all felt a little rough.
Despite this, Sleep Token didn’t come to play where the music was concerned.
Of course, the band erred on the side of their more guitar-y tracks with such iconic sounds as Alkaline, Like That and The Love You Want, all of which allowed their abstract musicianship to carry them through to attendees who might not have been familiar with the band.
During their set, I could see newcomers to Worshipping around me looking confused by Sleep Token’s shtick. “Why aren’t the band talking between songs?” they were no doubt thinking. “Why is this man crying on stage? What the actual hell is going on here????” But it was kind of wonderful watching those same people get sucked into the power of Sleep Token during Vessel’s unbelievable performance.
After Vessel’s voice settled (either nerves or cold vocals), he gave perhaps the best rendition of Mine I have seen yet. Something about the performance felt a bit different at its core. Maybe the guitars were tuned lower, maybe the drummer went harder… Either way, it was magical.
Whether you like them or not, Sleep Token are easily one of the most interesting bands around at the moment, and the macabre maestro’s exceptional vocals elevate every live performance beyond their rivals.
Listen to Sleep Token here.
Sleep Token floated onto stage with their powerful irreverence
Architects review: The band delivered a powerful performance
Boy, that Sam Carter has some stamina, doesn’t he?
Watching Architects felt like administering an IV of caffeine directly into your veins. You couldn’t not get up and dance. The band delivered pure energy for almost 90 minutes straight, and it was glorious to watch.
Architects are easily the most integral metal band in the UK. There are other acts who are, perhaps, bigger commercially, but they certainly are nowhere near as good as this lot. And Architects proved that they have the biggest presence around. But they also sounded genuine through it, as well (mostly).
Through almost pitch-perfect performances of Impermanence and Nihilist Sam could not stop telling his fans how grateful he was for their attendance – and it felt like he really meant it (I think 10,000 people screaming the lyrics of Discourse is Dead back at you would probably humble anyone even a little bit).
However, he did follow it up with a condemnation of any criticism of any “bum notes” the audience might hear. “That’s just rock and roll,” he said.
I definitely disagree, Sam.
To me, it felt really disingenuous for Sam to thank his fans for spending their “hard-earned cash” to see them at the most out-of-the-way venue in London on one hand… while demanding an acceptance for any musical imperfections on the other.
At this level of venue, fame, and musicianship, most fans would probably expect nigh-on perfect performances, regardless of the energy of the set. (Although, to be fair, I didn’t actually notice any bum notes, so, maybe he was just overcorrecting?)
Despite that, Architects’ set was mostly filled with their newer, chunkier tracks from For Those That Wish To Exist – but there was room for some oldies. The aforementioned Nihilist brought the house down, while Sam’s iconic growls in Gravedigger set the house on fire.
Their encore duo, When We Were Young and Animals, were unbelievable, both in performance and response. Their power and sheer density of composition allowed the band to really show off what they are made of. It was amazing.
But, what’s next?
Architects are at the top of their game, at the moment. Are they going to go to the O2 next? Or try for Wembley? They could easily keep playing Alexandra Palace until they’re blue in the face, but something tells me they want more – especially after that number one album get. It’ll certainly be interesting to see what happens with them next.
Listen to Architects here.