I wasn’t sure how to write this. Despite the fact I offered to write this, once I started I found myself in a cycle of typing and deleting, worried I wouldn’t be able to do it the justice deserved. So I’ll just start.
I didn’t know Tom Searle. Though I know his music as a part of Architects, even including their 2014 Lost Forever//Lost Together in my list of Top 10 Albums of 2014 list for this very paper, I never had the privilege of speaking with Tom and discussing it. But hearing about his passing at the young age of 28 hurt.
Maybe it’s because of the way that whenever you hear the word cancer, no matter who you are chances are people come to mind: my best friend’s mom who beat breast cancer, my 14-year-old cousin who is currently fighting leukemia, and now Tom who passed after battling it relentlessly for three years.
Though his battle was not publicized, its implications were there. Details of his struggles with the disease and its impact on loved ones are beautifully examined in the song “C.A.N.C.E.R.” off of Architects’ record, Lost Forever//Lost Together. “Our name carries more than disease/A symbol of man brought to his knees/This is not about what we deserve/There’s no bias in the misery served.”
It only makes sense that as a guitarist and songwriter Searle, who founded the UK post-metalcore outfit in 2004 with his twin brother (and drummer) Dan Searle, would use music to help make sense of the nonsensical. He understood the realities and connections both music and cancer hold too well.
On one hand cancer is an illness that transcends all aspects of identity, unbiased in who it attacks. On the other is music, the ultimate uniter that can connect those who may have nothing else in common. Rather than buckle under the weight of his diagnosis Tom continued to move forward, performing and recording while undergoing treatments and surgeries. He played at Rock Am Ring and Rock Im Park, using his passion for music to feel joy, to make a connection, and now to allow parts of himself to live on though he’s physically gone.
All involved feel this loss. Fans lost an icon, Architects lost a bandmate and friend, Dan lost not only his brother but all of the above. Those who didn’t know Tom still picture those they’ve lost and feel the same weight his loved ones are feeling. There is no remedy for that. And though Architects are unsure what will come next, the band still plans to embark on tour for their latest record All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us this autumn; the perfect tribute to someone whose talent and soul lies in the very songs they’ll be playing.
“Find a little light and hold it close/Don’t lose sight of what matters most/This is a burden we all carry together/Waiting in the wings, so we never say never.”
If you would like to donate to the hospice that cared for Tom Searle the last two months of his life, visit www.justgiving.com/thomassearle .