Live Review: Architects, Every Time I Die, Blessthefall & Counterparts @ Melkweg, Amsterdam, 25.2.15

A hardcore metal frenzy descended upon Amsterdam this week Wednesday when English metallers Architects tore the Melkweg apart together with their friends in Canadian group Counterparts, the Beau Bokan-fronted blessthefall and redneck rockers Every Time I Die.

Canadian hardcore quintet Counterparts were first up, playing to a sparse-yet-energetic crowd for just short of half an hour. Without a new album to promote (their most recent release was 2013’s The Difference Between Hell and Home), most of their set drew upon their first three studio albums. Frontman Brendan Murphy brutally launched himself across stage for most of the set, taking out some time midway to give out a heartfelt thankyou speech to the crowd. When asking how many people had seen the band live before, over half of the crowd screamed before set closer The Disconnect encouraged some fierce moshpit action. Their well-received set looks set to be repeated coming June when the five-piece return to support Every Time I Die in Haarlem.

Up second were Arizona metalcore quintet blessthefall, a band who a majority of the audience definitely came to see. Their early placing on the bill didn’t see to deter fans, with some arriving as 10am to await their arrival. As an electronics-laden backing track played out over the PA, drummer Matt Traynor (the only member who has been part of the band since its 2007 inception) was already in place when frontman Beau Bokan, guitarists Elliott Gruenberg and Eric Lambert and bassist Jared Warth bounded onstage. Bokan sprayed the crowd with a bottle of water as they opened their thirty minute set with You Wear a Crown But You’re No King, taken from 2013’s Hollow Bodies. As with Counterparts, blessthefall have no new material to promote, which meant that all seven songs leant on older output. Jesse Barnett collaboration Youngbloods preceded the likes of Deja Vu and Bottomfeeder, before set closer Hollow Bodies saw a huge amount of stagedivers. Bokan encouraged this early on in the set, on the premise that everyone “took care of one another”. As their set ended, lots of fans left their spots, thus leaving the crowd worryingly sparse ahead of Every Time I Die.

Thankfully, though, Buffalo rockers Every Time I Die still drew a full crowd as they played a forty minute set filled with pits, stagedivers and plenty of southern rock charm. Frontman Keith Buckley manically ran around stage commandeering the crowd whilst his brother, guitarist Jordan Buckley, did the same. Set opener No Son of Mine encompassed a slower intro which led into a circle pit-ready verse and heavy chorus, whereas Decayin’ With the Boys went full on redneck hardcore, accompanied by some melodic vocals. Following the recent departure of drummer Ryan “Legs” Leger, it was up to Daniel Davison to fill his boots, something which he did pretty well considering the short amount of rehearsal time he had. Penultimate track We’rewolf proved to be the highlight of the set in its power-charged, cowbell-led hardcore. “You don’t live till you’re ready to die” screamed Buckley at the top of his lungs as stagedivers accompanied him left, right and centre. Set closer Moor began rather demure with a dark piano line accompanying Buckley, before everything got chaotic and grandiose and their set came to an end. Every Time I Die will return in June together with Counterparts, a show will be nothing short of crazy.

Just before 9pm, the moment all 750 attendees were waiting for had come as Brighton’s Architects took to the stage. Set opener Broken Cross, taken from 2014’s Lost Forever // Lost Together, began with ambient background noise before frontman Sam Carter growled, “God only knows that we were born to burn”. A classic metalcore breakdown followed as the song picked up in pace and intensity as much as it picked up in stagedive numbers. The Devil is Near went on to speed the pace up drastically as Tom Searle’s spiralling riff accompanied a chant of “hey, hey!”. As the song came to an end by means of a dark breakdown, Dead Man Talking was full-on from the off as a heavy metalcore riff pulsated in combination with pounding drums and gritty bass. “Cover your tracks” commandeerd Carter, before slight ambience made way for a huge chorus. Alpha Omega, taken from 2012’s Daybreaker, took an even heavier approach mixed in with elements of mathcore. A clean vocal chorus slowed the pace down slightly before the verses combined altering time signatures with heavily distorted riffs. Castles in the Air kept intensity at a high as guitars chugged and stagedivers launched themselves into the energetic crowd. As the song ended, one young fan in a Pikachu onesienjumped onstage to give frontman Sam Carter a gift. Of all the things he could’ve given, he chose a big piece of cheese with the Architects logo carved into its side. Frontman Carter, a vegan, kindly thanked the fan before doing away with the rather unorthodox gift. The brutal Naysayer is one of Architects’ heaviest (and best) songs, bearing a chorus which is as much heavy as it is anthemic. “You can’t stop me giving a fuck” shouted Carter in true hardcore fashion, before the pulsating riffs of C.A.N.C.E.R entered the foreground in a brutal mix of pounding instrumentation. A massive chorus, sandwiched between brutal verses, left little room for serenity as blue and red strobe lights flickered in time with Searle’s riffs.

Set midpoint Devil’s Island began with ambient noises and electronic drums, before a thrashing mix of guitars contrasted with a faint piano melody. Carter howled his way through the track, demonstrating his fantastic live voice. It ought to be noted that tonight’s show was their tenth show in as many days, with their first day off slated for the start of March. It takes a lot for a band to power through such an adrenaline filled set night after night, so huge credits to Architects for managing so long. Early cut Follow the Water, lifted from 2009’s Hollow Cross, was one of the more brutal tracks of the evening, to such an extent that the crowd could hardly take it any longer. “Get me out alive” pleaded Carter, before Colony Collapse demonstrated the huge contrast between old and new Architects. “We fought the battle, we saw the saints” proclaimed Carter anthemically as sweet strings made way for a full-on chorus. Day In Day Out encompassed muted riffs and mathcore elements alongside clean vocals and a heavy chorus, before set highlight Youth is Wasted on the Young saw crowd members sing at the top of their lungs over a mix of gritty riffs, ambient wails and a brutal outro. “The past is done” screamed Carter as the main set came to an end.  Instrumental encore opener Red Hypergiant eventually made way for set closer Gravedigger, a song which showed off many differemt sides to Architects. As an ambient intro made way for fast-paced riffs and a hardcore-by-numbers breakdown, frontman Sam Carter fully engaged himself with the audience as a large number of fans took their last chance to encite a stage invasion.

As Architects triumphantly left the stage, one thing was clear – Architects are one of the best hardcore metal bands around today. They’re an unstoppable machine, and the only way right now is forward.