Tonight was a prog rock/metal feast for the brain, Leprous and The Dear Hunter tickling the ample crowd’s intellects for main-eventers Between the Buried and Me, who are an equation brought to life by technology, the theoretical made real through a combination of machine and soul. Many in attendance were obviously in Mr. Smalls to catch the aforementioned two acts. While both bands performed admirably, the music made by each failed to grab my attention or whet my appetite despite their respective cult followings.
BTBAM were far more concussive and therefore more satisfying, and the audience responded in kind. The keystrokes and harsh-to-melodic-and-back-again vocals of Tommy Rogers floated atop the digital death metal riffing of guitarists Waggoner and Waring who put everyone from Dimebag, Mustaine, Petrucci, and Fripp into a calculator in order to spit out ridiculously complex numerical figures as Dan Briggs and Blake Richardson kept everything from devolving into entropic chaos. One minute they’re Kansas. The next they’re Testament or Meshuggah or Pantera. Five minutes after that, they’re Soilwork…or Bloodbath or Samael. As rhythmic as it is rigid and as sweet as it is brutal, A BTBAM gig is an interdimensional jaunt where categories and subgenres and other such tags lose meaning. Songs seemingly become endless or you at least wish they were, finishing as they start and starting as they finish, virtuosity reigning, impossible music becoming reality.
BTBAM are not alien; they are the future.
The Grym Hessian