Colors 10 Year Anniversary Tour
Between The Buried And Me
The Contortionist, Polyphia, Toothgrinder
124 Market Place
Baltimore, Maryland, 21202
Doors 6:00 PM / Show 7:00 PM
This event is all ages
Watch & Listen
Between The Buried And Me
Grandiose, dynamic, heavy, melodic, technically challenging: these are all words that fall equally short when trying to describe Between the Buried and Me's sonic offerings. When tasked with explaining the band's previous effort, The Parallax II: Future Sequence, Decibel Magazine claimed that the album "offers more substance than most bands put forth in entire careers" and Metal Hammer simply stated that it was "utterly captivating." Where does a burgeoning progressive act go from there? The answer is found in their seventh full-length album, Coma Ecliptic. Spanning just over an hour, the album stands as a significant step in the evolution for the group as a whole, as well as the individual musicians: vocalist / keyboardist Tommy Rogers, guitarists Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring, bassist Dan Briggs, and drummer Blake Richardson.
Tommy Rogers posits: "Coma Ecliptic is a new life for BTBAM. Throughout the process we worked harder than we ever have and really pushed the BTBAM sound to a new identity. In a world of repetition, I'm very proud to be a part of something that is extremely rewarding, as well as frightening. When you don't push yourself you will never know what the outcome is. The outcome is Coma Ecliptic."
What is Coma Ecliptic? It can be interpreted as a modern rock opera, and another ambitious concept album from a band that has completely mastered that format. Dan Briggs comments: "Spending the last year immersed in a world of Quadrophenia, Operation Mindcrime, The Wall- as well as Sondheim and Lloyd Webber musicals, Stravinsky and Mussorgsky symphonic suites; writing an over the top, dramatic and forward thinking rock opera was the most natural thing to do." The story follows the wanderings of an unidentified man, stuck in a coma, as he journeys through his past lives. Each song is its own episode in a modern day, sort of The Twilight Zone-esque fashion. The unidentified man enters each world and is offered a choice: stay, or move on to the next in search of something better, something more "perfect." The man does find his ideal life, but then is offered the ultimate choice of life or death. He chooses life and wakes up to his own actual reality. It's at that moment he realizes that he had been in a coma - everything that happened had been dreams and false memories. After awakening, we find the man outside finally experiencing reality, and he sees what he has been missing: the world is beautiful, the air is fresh, and the people appear to be happy, and then he falls over dead. The take away from this is to make the best of your life. People are constantly searching for something better without taking the time to appreciate the things they have. What we need may already be here, and is hopefully real. We may all be in a coma in another life.
Musically, Coma Ecliptic boasts a series of emotive peaks and valleys that drive the narrative along with the lyrics. Tracks such as "Memory Palace", while sounding wholly unique, clearly have a distinct BTBAM flavor to which fans have grown so attached. "The Coma Machine" brings to mind prog in the most classic sense; think YES and King Crimson passages with the added layer of modern metal heaviness. "Dim Ignition" highlights Rogers' continuing development as a keyboardist, but don't fret, there's still plenty of speed, technically challenging guitar, bass, and drum runs, and quirkiness throughout. What makes these parts work is the interplay of the heavy and technical with the simpler, almost cinematic, soft passages; that is the power of Coma Ecliptic. The listening experience is a journey, and when "Life in Velvet" brings the album to a sudden, triumphant end, fans will surely be reaching for the replay button. But what does the band think? Rogers adds: "If you asked me what this record sounds like, I would tell you BTBAM. With every listen I still find new exciting moments that each member has put into these songs. After all these years we still push each other to try new things and push our individual skills to the next level. It is an absolute thrill to write with such an inspiring group of people." Briggs continues: "Writing with a focus on storytelling and just crushing melodic themes set the tone early on before we were even in the rehearsal room together. Put your velvet capes on and get ready for a journey!"
Coma Ecliptic was recorded in January and February of 2015 with longtime Between the Buried and Me producer Jamie King at the Basement Recordings in North Carolina. Drums and piano were recorded with King and Kris Hilbert at the Fidelitorium. Final mixing and mastering was placed in the capable hands of Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia, Amon Amarth, Devin Townsend) at Fascination Street Studios in Sweden.
Between the Buried and Me began their journey in the year 2000 in North Carolina. Over the past 15 years, they have released seven full-length albums, an EP, a live album, a covers album, and a blu-ray/DVD. Their current lineup has been consistent since 2005, and they have taken full advantage of a stable and productive group of musicians. Each of their albums since that year have debuted on the Billboard Top 200 chart: Alaska (2005) at #121, The Anatomy Of (2006) at #151, Colors (2007) at #57, The Great Misdirect (2009) at #36, The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues EP (2011) at #54, and The Parallax: Future Sequence (2012) at #22. Additionally, the band's first-ever Blu-ray release, Future Sequence: Live at the Fidelitorium debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top Music Video Charts, impressively ahead of video releases from progressive legends Dream Theater and YES. Consistency and growth in an epoch of shrinking music sales is indicative of the supreme impact the band has had across the heavy and progressive music landscapes.
Warped time signatures, percussive mathematics, spider-fingered fretwork, dazzlingly atmospheric keyboards and immediately arresting vocals collide within THE CONTORTIONIST, who have achieved a career defining milestone with a "sophomore slump" defying feat of agility dubbed Intrinsic. The Indiana based prog-metal alchemists conjure the kinetic texture of RUSH, the cinematic musicality of DREAM THEATER, the heavy but heady metallic might of jazzy death wizards CYNIC and the studied experimental precision of BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME while simultaneously fashioning an overall sound uniquely their own.
In a short amount of time, THE CONTORTIONIST has enveloped audiences and nearly swallowed them whole. They've toured with a wide-ranging number of acts including PERIPHERY, ALL SHALL PERISH and THE ACACIA STRAIN. The band headlined the inaugural edition of the Summer Slaughter Survivors Tour, as well.
With their earliest self-released work, THE CONTORTIONIST remade the rules within emerging genres like "deathcore" and "djent" as they evolved beyond scenes and categories, even as they were integral enough to be instrumental in defining them. The band teamed with Ken Susi of UNEARTH for their marvelously refreshing, conceptually driven debut, Exoplanet. With album number two, THE CONTORTIONIST entrusted Eyal Levi (DAATH, JOB FOR A COWBOY) and Jason Suecof (TRIVIUM, DEVILDRIVER) to help them capture their at once complex yet defiantly easy-to-connect-with esoteric material, which shatters the boundaries of conventional heavy music note-by-virtuosic-note.
In popular culture we often hear space referred to as "The Final Frontier." And while it's true that the vast majority of our universe remains unknown and deserving of further study, much of the inner workings of human beings beg further contemplation and discovery. How wonderfully appropriate, then, that having delved into deep space with their expansive sound and contemplative narrative on the genre-challenging and wholly impressive Exoplanet, THE CONTORTIONIST turns inward with the stunningly mind-bending follow-up, Intrinsic.
Whereas the first album explored the idea of earth's destruction following the inevitable collapse of our star and the ensuing search for an inhabitable planet to call home, Intrinsic dives deep inside the mind. Moving across several operatic sections, the record transports listeners on a journey through the apparent holographic reality we call "experience," through our very consciousness and metaphysical archetypes. Toward the album's conclusion the band ultimately imagines advancements in neuroscience that would broaden and challenge who we are. All of the music, of course, captures these themes.
Canadian thrash architects VOIVOD would surely be proud of the band's science based subjects. Like IRON MAIDEN before them, THE CONTORTIONIST is the kind of band that can be enjoyed for the basest of reasons but can also send astute listeners running to the library, like all of the generations of people who wanted to read more about the origins of "The Flight of Icarus" or "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner."
Lyrical inspiration and reference points came from a stack of research, which included books like Antonio Damasio's The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness and Simon Young's Designer Evolution: A Transhumanist Manifesto. Immediate standout cuts "Holomovement," "Causality" (about a person having a near death experience brought on by an obsession with lucidity in dreaming and astral movement) and "Dreaming Schematics" (where scientific minds develop procedures to strengthen and multiply synaptic networks) are epics. These songs and the rest of the album's material inspire food for thought and aesthetic pleasure in equal measure.
THE CONTORTIONIST continues to be a study in contrast. In their quietest, most ambient moments, the band is intimately melodic. Alternately their heavy parts are as alarmingly bombastic as possible. An emphasis on songwriting and structure has resulted in a series of musical journeys that are constantly climbing new summits. There is only one song on the album with anything like a "repeating chorus."
At the same time, the band is always ever careful to tastefully balance technique with purpose. They aren't shredding for shredding's sake. Each section of every song is rooted in logic, meaning and reason.
THE CONTORTIONIST has succeeded at creating intelligently tasteful metal that is as memorable and melodic as it is creative and dynamic. Within their formula, a listener paying close attention is as likely to discover elements akin to MINUS THE BEAR as MESHUGGAH.
Just as different genre-pushing bands broadened their own minds, the men in THE CONTORTIONIST are happy to lead fans through the gateway of heavy music down pathways of new music and self-discovery. With fervent attention to every detail of their composition and presentation, the band's future in the pantheon of heavy music is assured. Intrinsic is the next step in what will become a landmark catalog. THE CONTORTIONIST opens minds from within and without.
Hailing from the quiet suburbs of Plano, Texas, progressive rock outfit, Polyphia, are anything but mild-mannered. With a distinctly thought-out and well-orchestrated sound, the quartet pummels out blistering blast beats, and an onslaught of guitar shreds that blends, seamlessly, with melodic grooves and a humble intensity that never wears on the ear. Capitalizing on a "Standard of Excellence", the band wishes to inspire those who listen with their doctrine of uncompromised work ethic and self-motivated success.
Heavy music can be like a painting in the right hands. When executed correctly, splashes of ethereal soundscapes color technical, tight, and taut brutality, yielding a portrait that’s as aggressive as it is alive. In keeping with that approach, it might seem like Toothgrinder’s paintbrush is literally on fire after just one listen to their full-length Spinefarm Records debut, Nocturnal Masquerade. These five musicians—Wills Weller [drums], Jason Goss [guitar], Matt Mielke [guitar], Matt Arensdorf [bass], and Justin Matthews [vocals]—certainly know how to create combustible artwork.
“The album’s overall theme is this dark, eerie charade through the night,” explains Justin. “You could think of it as this torturous and fun carnival adventure. At the same time, it’s personal.”
The delicate balance of guttural guitar gnashing, polyrhythmic stop-start percussion, and the most delightful vocal schizophrenia this side of the Mississippi fuels this midnight waltz. It’s an amalgam the group has unlocked over the past few years beginning with a string of independent demos, their Schizophrenic Jubilee EP, and tours supporting the likes of Periphery, The Faceless, After The Burial, The Contortionist, and more. However, in April 2015, they honed and focused this attack, spending an uninterrupted month in a Maryland studio with producer Taylor Larson [Darkest Hour, Capture The Crown, Periphery], creating what would become Nocturnal Masquerade.
“The writing process was a lot different than past projects,” he goes on. “Those were very leisurely and without any urgency. With this album, we set a deadline to get something going. So, we sat down and put 100 percent of our focus into it. The pressure and concentration really helped us in a way. It motivated us to put out our best material.”
Nocturnal Masquerade commences with the budding explosion of “The House (That Fear Built),” which relays a relatable emotion. “That song was about the turning point for me where I really wanted to get out of my town, experience new things, and live my own life,” admits Justin. “I had this urge to do something different.”
Immediately after, the grinding freight train of “Lace & Anchor” derails on a haunting refrain, which sees Justin “dig deep to pull something out that I wanted to talk about but was afraid of.” “Blue” offers a mid-album rumination on “overcoming obstacles in your way” with a bombastic break and deliberate smash. “Diamonds for Gold” enlists the vocal talents of Periphery frontman Spencer Sotelo, expanding the boundaries and then destroying them in a hypnotic twin harmony.
Justin continues, “Spencer wanted to do a verse on one of the songs, and that one was perfect. It’s about trading in something you have that’s untouchable for something less. It’s like selling yourself to the devil.”
Now, Toothgrinder continue a home state tradition of breaking musical barriers, originally perpetuated by New Jersey stalwarts such as Catch 22 and Dillinger Escape Plan.
$25 ADV $30 DOS
Box Office is open Wednesday-Saturday 12-6pm and All Show Nights, 410-244-0057. Unless otherwise noted Maryland State's 10% Admissions and Amusement Tax is included in the ticket price.
Fri, November 24
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Wed, November 29