This isn't your grandpa's progressive music.
Between The Buried And Me headlined a progressive music package at the Granada Friday night that included three other bands that are continually pushing the package for conventional music, and ever pushing the "progressive" moniker to places it hasn't been before. A very full Granada Theater was extremely receptive of all four bands, filled with lots of singing, lots of moshing and lots of smiling faces.
The first band of the night was Canada's The Kindred. The Kindred is normally a progressive metal band in the vein of Last Chance to Reason and maybe even Protest The Hero. However, they were performing without their vocalist, so everything was instrumental. Their performance without vocals didn't take anything away from them at all, and actually might've even benefited them in some places. Definitely a modern take on progressive music, they combined the breakdowns and palm-muted riffing of djent with the technicality of guitar solos and keyboards to great effect. However, it seemed like without their vocalist, the music was catchy enough to stand on its own for a bit, but it was obvious the songs were written to have a singer carry it along. They didn't have the outrageous riffing or heaviness that Animals As Leaders has, but they could get there if they wanted to. A respectable first band of the night.
California's Intronaut was up next, and personally it was my first time seeing them since 2008 with High on Fire at the Bottleneck. They've changed since then, mellowing out a bit and really embracing the stoner and progressive sides of their music. Their half-hour set included mostly cuts from their latest album "Habitual Levitations." The song "Milk Leg" showcased their incredible bassist - he even had a couple of solo's during their performance. Definitely one of the highlights of the set. Overall, Intronaut was a different kind of heavy from the rest of the night, but their sound was very welcome.
There isn't a more polarizing metal band today than Deafheaven, but you wouldn't have noticed it at this concert. As soon as the band started their opening song "Dream House," the crowd barely let up with moshing and headbanging. At one point during the song, vocalist George Clarke hopped down into the crowd and everyone screamed along with him. Deafheaven's set comprised of material solely from their latest album "Sunbather," which took the metal music world by storm last year. Deafheaven is obviously influenced by shoegaze and post-rock bands such as Explosions in the Sky and My Bloody Valentine, but the majority of their sound is extreme, blast-beat laden and shrieked-vocals black metal that they do just as good as the Norwegian masters of the genre. George Clarke is one of the most impressive frontmen I've ever seen, not only from his impeccable black metal vocal abilities, but he was constantly bounding around the stage, acting like a man possessed. An explosive performance and the best of the night.
Between The Buried And Me are at the center of this new-school progressive metal movement, and they proved it Friday night by performing all of their new album, The Parallax II: Future Sequence, which has enough twists and turns to make even the staunchest of Dream Theater supporters' heads spin. However, for the uninitiated, playing through all of their latest album might be too much. "Parallax II" might be the band's most ambitious release yet, with interludes and movements-within-movements everywhere and music genres going from metalcore to death metal to pop music to everything in between in the span of one song. Luckily for BTBAM, they have some of the most talented musicians around today to keep things interesting for those not vested heavily in their music. Guitarist Paul Waggoner and bassist Dan Briggs provide enough jaw-dropping moments per song that is worth the price of admission alone. There were several moments during BTBAM's set that stood out from the rest, particularly the songs "Telos," "Lay Your Ghosts To Rest," and "Silent Flight Parliament." However, the encore performance of the brilliant "Sun of Nothing" from the equally brilliant "Colors" album further cemented it as maybe the best progressive metal song of the 2000's.
All in all, the lineup of this tour is proof that progressive metal is no longer just confined to Rush and Dream Theater and is quickly moving to the heavier side of things. Based on the performances from all four bands, that's undoubtedly a good thing.
07/02 - Celeste/Primitive Man
07/06 - Jungle Rot
07/13 - Black Breath
07/16 - Psycroptic
07/19 - Danzig
07/22 - Melt-Banana