Review and photographs by Jessica Ayotte
Between the Buried and Me stopped at the Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park on their self-titled tour this past Saturday, February 22. In addition to BTB&M, California-based bands Deafheaven and Intronaut graced the stage along with openers the Kindred from Ottawa. With a diverse mixture of black metal and progressive rock, Deafheaven and Between the Buried and Me were clearly the crowd favorites.
Generally considered a black metal group by most, Deafheaven formed in 2010 in San Francisco, bringing a unique mix of metal with progressive/alternative instrumentals. Being a fairly new band, Deafheaven’s catalog currently consists of one full-length album and 3 EPs. During their set at Upstate Concert Hall, Deafheaven played a mix of selections from their newest album, Sunbather (2013) and EP Roads to Judah (2011). One of the opening songs, “Dream House” started off with a relaxed, up-beat intro. But then as soon as I thought I knew which direction the song was headed in, the “black metal” aspect of Deafheaven quickly swept the rest of their performance. It was a rather unusual combination of genres, but overall, I believe that they were worthy of the crowd’s acclaim.
While there was a lot of talk and anticipation regarding BTB&M, I was still impressed with the performance put on by Deafheaven.
When I first listened to the first few songs of BTB&M’s The Parallax II: Future Sequence (2012) – including “Goodbye to Everything” – I was instantly reminded of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Originating in North Carolina, BTB&M have been writing and touring since 2000, with nine studio albums to their credit.
I was curious to see how this band could re-create their nearly ten-minute songs filled with progressive and technical death metal. Not only do BTB&M have lengthy songs, but the songs also act as a narrative for each album. One song in particular that did just this was “Bloom,” a song filled with technical guitar riffs at the beginning before slipping into vocals similar to something done by System Of A Down. The song then progresses into a slower, more alternative feel, then, before you know it, the instruments kick the song back into a metal song again.
One thing that really caught my interest in BTB&M was the diverse genres that coalesced in each song. With such experienced musicians, they’re able to create music that is fitting for any metal/alternative/progressive rock fan. And as my first concert of 2014, I can gladly say it was a satisfying experience.