Progressive Metal Heroes Tear Down the House at Intimate “Colors” 10th Anniversary Show – Review of the Between the Buried and Me concert at the Culture Room (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
Originating in the metalcore heyday of the early 2000’s, Between The Buried and Me has always occupied a special spot in the hearts of many metal fans. I first heard of them in 2003, right when The Silent Circus came out, when a middle school friend of mine introduced them to me and they quickly became one of my favorite groups – one that stood out in the sea of carbon copy screamo bands that were dominating the airwaves at the time. As my tastes matured and I began to listen to different, more progressive artists such as King Crimson and Pat Metheny, it seemed like BTBAM’s music expanded in the same direction as they assembled their current lineup and recorded Alaska. Their progressive evolution reached a new peak in 2007 during the recording of their most well known album Colors, one that many fans to this day still consider to be their finest work, and they have only kept climbing, recording three more acclaimed albums. This night, however, was about the old-school fans, as the group assembled in the incredibly intimate Culture Room to play their seminal album in its full glory.
For this very special run of small club shows BTBAM brought along a three hit combo punch of new wave progressive bands. Hard-hitting newcomers ToothGrinder joined instrumental wizards Polyphia and avant-garde metal masters The Contortionist to back up BTBAM on this run. This impressive line-up sold out the venue, with tickets becoming unavailable before the first act, ToothGrinder, even began to play. As the group took the stage they kicked off their set with The Shadow from their upcoming second full-length album Phantom Armor. I was first introduced to this group a few years back when they put out their Schizophrenic Jubilee EP, of which I was a huge fan as it had an edge missing in many current acts and I’m glad to see that they’ve come so far in three short years. They played a few more songs from their upcoming album as well as their first full length, Nocturnal Masquerade before finishing their time on stage with the song Blue.
Up next were guitar masterminds Polyphia, and the Texas natives wasted no time getting right into it, starting their set with Icronic from their latest EP The Most Hated. Most people are familiar with the group from the viral YouTube playthrough of their song Impassion, which has over two million views. However, their latest album takes a bit more of a melodic direction, and their setlist consisted mostly of songs from their newest offering. They ended their set with a couple of songs from their album Muse including Champagne and Finale, before departing from the stage and letting the next group begin setting up.
The Contortionist finally appeared onstage and by this point the venue was too packed to be able to move through. Starting with the haunting new track Return to Earth from their latest offering Clairvoyant, the band began resonating with the crowd immediately with the whole room swaying and head-banging in unison. As a shout-out to the old school fans that have been with them since the very beginning, they launched into Flourish from their first full album Exoplanet, and the entire floor in front of the stage exploded into a giant mosh-pit. After a few more songs showcasing their latest record, the group played the stunning two-part prog masterpiece Language I: Intuition and Language II: Conspire and left the stage to a crowd frantically chanting for an encore.
Finally the moment that everyone showed up here for finally came as Tommy Rogers and the rest of Between the Buried and Me came out of the fog onto the stage as the first few notes of Foam Born A: The Backtrack began to play to a crowd going wild. As soon he hit that first growl in B: The Decade of Statues the room exploded as the throng of fans transformed into a whirlwind of circle pits and crowd surfers. Colors was meant to be heard all the way through with no interruptions, and this was no exception, and the band saved all their banter until the very end instead opting to play the album (complete with song transitions) all the way through, and they did an amazing job. From the piano sing-along in Ants of the Sky to the cowboy jam breakdown in Ants of the Sky, every part of the album was faithfully recreated with the fans screaming back every word all the way to album closer White Walls which, naturally, drove the herd of fanatics absolutely insane. The group disappeared for a short while before reappearing to play another old-school fan favorite Mordecai from The Silent Circus before finally departing for a second a last time to a crowd still hungry for more. Here’s hoping they continue the trend of playing full albums in 2019 with a tour of my personal favorite, The Great Misdirect.