Raw energy exploded from the crowd as While She Sleeps started the long night of metal music at the House of Blues Anaheim. Opening up for Thy Art Is Murder and Architects, While She Sleeps pumped some fresh air into the lungs of sold-out crowd Friday night. At least fifteen people were hoisted in the air, surfing on the sea of waving hands over the course of the set which is rather remarkable. The energy that the entire band had on stage was thrilling to watch and it really got the crowd moving. Guitars were thrown around and the band members were running all around the stage as they played their hearts out to screaming fans.
Mosh pits opened and swirled violently for Thy Art Is Murder, the heaviest band on the act. Guttural screams and squeals echoed throughout the hazy sweat filled the room as fans cheered and sang along with vocalist CJ McMahon. April 1st, 2019 founding member and drummer Lee Stanton left the band and was replaced by Jesse Beahler, who did an excellent job. While Thy Art Is Murder’s music and name are intense, their on-stage presence was static and looming rather than thriving and active. This also could be due to the fact that Thy Art Is Murder is a deathcore band and so it’s probably very technical music, making it difficult to move around freely. Along with their chugging guitar riffs and pounding double bass drums, the lights during their set were flashing and waving everywhere, making it a vibrant and intense sensory experience.
The crowd raged on for Architects as they sold out the first stop of the Holy Hell North America 2019 Tour. At the House of Blues Anaheim, Sam told the crowd that they have spent the last week relaxing in California and have really enjoyed their time here. The band was setup on two levels, drummer Dan Searle was on risers in the back next to keyboardist and bassist, Alex Dean. I thought it was cool how the stage was laid out but that meant Alex couldn’t really move around the stage.
Architect’s setlist was a delightful mixture of material from their previous four albums, but primarily from Holy Hell and All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us. They opened with “Death Is Not Defeat” and “Modern Misery” which had the crowd belting out the lyrics and jumping like crazy! As expected, Architects performed a flawless set with countless hits like “Deathwish, Gravedigger, These Colors Don’t Run, A Match Made In Heaven, Doomsday,” and so other great songs. Additionally, Sam’s vocals sound just like they do on their albums. The level of control he has over his voice is incredible like when he quickly transitions between screaming and cleanly singing. While Architects’ set was filled with amazing songs, I wish they had played “The Seventh Circle” off of their most recent album Holy Hell.
In true Architects fashion, the whole show felt meaningful. Squeezed between the thrashing mosh pits, Sam discussed the epidemic of male suicide, encouraging people to reach out to friends and family if they are feeling depressed. In his meaningful speech, Sam said there is nothing wrong with men being open with their feelings, seeing a therapist, or taking medication. Vigorous cheers echoed throughout the crowd and continued when Sam talked about how it is an honor to be in Tom’s band, playing Tom’s music. While this Architects concert was emotional, it wasn’t as heart wrenching as the All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us Tour while spanned the globe after Tom Searle (the band’s primary songwriter and lead guitarist) died due to skin cancer in 2016. Unfortunately, Josh Middleton couldn’t make it on this tour because his wife just had a baby! Josh is being temporarily replaced by his guitar tech named Martin.
Architects, Thy Art Is Murder, and While She Sleeps continue the Holy Hell North American tour. Pick up Architects new album Holy Hell!