Between The Buried And Me live @ Gorilla, Manchester
One thing that progressive metal acts attract is intensely dedicated and passionate fans, and Between The Buried And Me are definitely no exception. As I stand warily at the front, the room slowly fills up with fans, people who may not look too excited or bothered that the band they know and love will be in front of them in less than 2 hours. These are the sort of fans that keep it all locked up until the climax of the music hits them. While it might be a social event for them in some way, it is much more than that. It is the chance to let the music and the atmosphere affect them in a different and more personal manner than mere headphones could ever do. That is why many individuals are like me on this night, they come alone with the promise of swapping spirits with the band, like something out of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim whenever the Dragonborn absorbs the spirit of a dragon and it gives him new powers, for all the gamers out there…
The support for the night, British-borne Haken, enter the arena with quiet confidence about their abilities to warm the crowd up. They play a good 40 minutes of charged progressive rock goodness and a snazzy keytar solo later and it seems the set has finished before many had even gotten into the groove of it.
When Between The Buried and Me (BTBAM) come on the crowd goes suitably berserk and they launch into Selkies: The Endless Obsession with its perpetual metalcore breaks and grating vocals that have lead vocalist Tommy Rogers craning over us like a feasting crow. The song ends with a brilliant solo by guitarist Paul Waggoner and heads and hair flying everywhere.
The band’s more recent material dominates most of the set creating a more cerebral vibe that prompts people to actually keep their heads still for a moment to marvel at their more progressive rock-influenced sound. A personal highlight is the dreamy and melodic epic Memory Palace that has Rogers belting out the tasteful lines ‘Focus on melody/the sounds under my eyes/dreaming inside of this world inside my head/drift on/never end’.
The band go back to their earlier repertoire with songs such as the 14-minute magnum opus White Walls from what is often said to be their finest work, Colors. This song evokes a strange mood in people. It brings the fans together it seems, almost like the battlecry of the average BTBAM fan in which they all stand as one to commemorate this wondrous band and to simply celebrate life. Never have I seen an audience react to such a climax as with White Walls. As the instrumentation hypes up and Rogers hones his lungs, the fans know it is coming…
They rush to the front all at once and raise their fists in unison and belch the fabled lines…
It’s as if it represents the personal connection between the fans and the band. The band know what it means to the fans and vice versa, it really is something beautiful to behold and a lone reason anyone should go and see this band, whether or not you’re a fan of progressive metal, metalcore or technical death metal.
The band continue their European tour throughout September and October and then embark on yet another North American tour in November and December with fellow metallers Enslaved, Intronaut and Native Construct. Their seventh full-length LP Coma Ecliptic was released worldwide via Metal Blade records on July 10th and is definitely worth a listen if you are someone who craves majestic and complex progressive music or if you’re just an audiophile in general.
Featured image from Between The Buried And Me’s Facebook page.