BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME, ANIMALS AS LEADERS, and THE CONTORTIONIST Unleash The Prog On Sacramento
2015's most solid progressive metal bill to date hit Sacramento, and I was there to gush about it.
At 7:30 the Ace of Spades was already full of people as most of the evening’s sold out crowd had filed in. The lights dimmed and a roar filled the room as The Contortionist took the stage. This was my first time witnessing the Michael Lessard-penned material I adored so much last year, and this keep my interest high. These guys did not disappoint. The older material, which I had seen live before felt tighter than before, but the Language material was where it was at. The set’s closer “Language II: Conspire” was the perfect finale as the song perfect encapsulates every angle of the band’s sound and give Lessard a chance to show off why he is one of modern metal’s finest vocalists. My only request from them would be to have one of the other five guys on stage back up on vocals where they are layered on the record. “Language I: Intuition” left something to be desired as a bulk of the vocals showcases a concurrent duality screams and stellar singing. One of the other five guys on stage screaming low in the mix could be pretty cool. Awesome otherwise though.
By the time Animals as leaders took the stage, It seemed like everyone that would be in attendance was there. I only bring this up because I’ve been to many shows at Ace of Spades and the openers, no matter how well known they may be, don’t always get an early crowd. It really was a testament to how stacked this bill was. The band got the first crowd surfers of the night and even I can admit (and I’m not a big AAL fan) that they were fucking slaying. That is, up until there was some timing mishap during “Ka$cade.”Guitarists Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes exchanged looks that made it clear someone messed up, but they weren’t sure who. They laughed it of and found their footing again and played a hell of a show ending with “CAFO,” as they often do. I was pleased when “Another Year” was played. I wasn't expecting it, and it was a stand out to me personally from The Joy of Motion. They’re not a band I would go out of my way to see, but if they’re on a bill I already want to see (as they were with Summer Slaughter), I’d happily see them again.
Honestly, the crowd reacted as if the night was coming to a close after Animals, but the main event was still to come. For their third time in the venue’s existence (coincidentally, my third time seeing them in Sacramento), Between The Buried and Me took the stage opening with “Skelkies: The Endless Obsession.” This song, oft a show closer, was great to hear right off the bat, and sort of get it out of the way. Always a tremendous overture of what BtBaM is, but I've heard it so many time. The set was pretty well balanced with material from the last decade (no love for The Great Misdirect or The Parallax EP though). New material like “Coma Machine,” “Famine Wolf,” and “Memory Palace” stood up really well next to the now classics of Colors in “Ants of the Sky” and “Prequel to the Sequel” and the material from The Parallax II: Future Sequence. The band was fantastic as always and could have easily walked away after “Prequel.” HOWEVER, Sacramento was one of the cities on this tour that was treat to the band’s fun BtBaM-ified cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody, which was just such a fun way to end a phenomenal night.
This made my seventh time seeing Between the Buried and Me overall, and it was easily the best show of theirs that I’ve been to. If you haven’t seen them and this tour is coming your way, go out and see them. You won’t see them on a bill much better than this.
This tour goes until August 15th before the band heads to Europe. For full dates hit the band’s website and surely get the latest releases from The Contortionist, Animals as Leaders, and Between The Buried and Me.