Find us on Facebook!

To keep updated like our page at:

Or on Twitter:

Or E-mail us at:

Tuesday 28 March 2023

A View From The Back Of The Room: Haken & Between The Buried And Me (Live Review By Matt Bladen)

Haken, Between The Buried And Me & Cryptodira, SWX, Bristol, 23.03.23

A wonderful prog smorgasbord of a gig that had been touring Europe under the name Island In Limbo finally hit the UK at SWX in Bristol. I'm a little in love with this venue and I love watching prog metal bands there so to see these three acts pumping through this clubs great sound system was much more appealing than watching Blackie Lawless in the awful O2 Academy across the city.

First up were New York progressive death/post metal band Cryptodira (7) who open the show up with aggression taking most of their five song set from their 2020 album The Angel Of History, the roared vocals and death metal stylings made sure they were the heaviest band on the bill, playing to a smaller crowd due to how early they started. Long, sprawling songs that drew the crowd in with their set as a aperitif to the main course.

That main course was essentially a co-headline set from two of the prog worlds most important bands, first out were North Carolina's purveyors of the weird and wonderful Between The Buried And Me (8) riding high on their last studio release and sequel to their seminal Colors, most of the set was drawn from Colors II including the incredible The Future Is Behind Us which is one of my favourite tracks on the record.

Vocalist/keyboardist Tommy Rogers is a dynamo on stage conducting this avant-garde cacophony of noise with his scintillating synth playing and varied vocals that soar high one minute and growl low the next, Dan Briggs adding more synth along with bass that locks in with drummer Blake Richardson.

The guitar duo of Paul Waggoner (lead) and Dustie Waring (rhythm) bring shifting riffs and solos that switch at seemingly random through the jazz, death metal, hardcore, prog rock that makes up BTBAM's DNA. The only thing I find with the band is that live their songs all filter into one another, which I suppose is part of their allure as a band, the connectivity in their music, but it makes it a little harder to decipher of you're not a super fan.

Closing out their show with Voice Of Trespass BTBAM were greeted by a now almost full venue who had just witnessed one of the most inventive bands in their genre.

With the lights dark and the time almost near Baha Men's Who Let The Dogs Out? Blasted out of the P.A much to the amusement of the corwd who sang it back heartily. After getting almost the entire song the backdrop was projected and it was time for the UK part of this Island In Limbo tour the ever impressive Haken (9).

Getting heavy from the first minutes Prosthetic and Invasion from Virus (an album they did not get much of a chance to tour) got things going as the Richard Henshall and Charlie Griffiths' muscular, groovy riffs stirred a positive reaction from the crowd. The whole band decked out in Hawaiian shirts linking to themes behind their new album Fauna. Fauna is probably the bands grooviest record yet tracks such as Alphabet Of Me were designed to get you to shake your hips and shake they did. Well the people in front of me anyway.

Connor Green and Raymond Hearne give the rhythm section that can be loud and explosive one minute then full of funk grooves the next as euphoric Falling Back To Earth was the first true showcase of Ross Jennings' amazing vocals (as it nearly always is).

Using Taurus from the new album to link into the keyboard heavy The Endless Knot from Affinity, was a brilliant way to re-introduce original keyboard player Peter Jones to the band. I mentioned in the album review he has his own style and this much more obvious when they play live, tweaking the solos of his predecessor to make them his own.

After The Endless Knot was the Phil Collins inspired Lovebite, a zombie love song that uses the Easy Lover riff to underpin all the prog going on, this led to Carousel which ended the first part of the evening. The encore was the five part, 16 minute Messiah Complex Suite from Virus, this tour being the first time it was played live and it kept the crowd enthralled for it's sprawling length.

With the close of Part V it was time to end, a huge applause for this well drilled, entertaining act who bring the party to prog with every gig. I can't wait to see them at Radar Festival again later this year, as on the evidence of this Bristol show they are currently on fire.

No comments:

Post a Comment