Between the Buried and Me, often abbreviated as BTBAM, is an American progressive metal band from Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. Formed in 2000, the band members are Tommy Giles Rogers (lead vocals, keyboards), Paul Waggoner (lead guitar, backing vocals), Dustie Waring (rhythm guitar, lead guitar), Dan Briggs (bass, keyboards) and Blake Richardson (drums).
Loyal followers of the band after discovering them just released their second studio album The Silent Circus back in 2003, we have not missed any of the occasions that have been given to see them in Madrid. The band bridged the "math metal" complexity of the Dillinger Escape Plan, the godly hardcore of Converge, the furious technical death metal and the more melodic strains of mid 90s Swedish death metal. In short, no doubt that discovering them meant not stopping following the band and their, so far, 10 studio albums.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010, a summer Wednesday in Madrid was a bit of a strange setting for Between the Buried and Me to play for the first time in Madrid. For the occasion, around 300 people gathered in the central Sala Caracol, currently closed since after the pandemic, along with two Spanish bands as opening acts, As My World Burns and Vortice. What a joy to have been able to see them for the first time and of course, there we bought some CDs... you know, at that time most people still bought more CDs than vinyl.
After breaking into the American scene and their successful show at the Be Prog! My Friend in Barcelona in 2016, Between the Buried and Me returned to Madrid on a Friday, February 3, 2017, performing after Leprous and opening for Devin Townsend Project at Sala La Riviera. The venue housed a capacity of almost three quarters of its capacity (with a maximum capacity of 2500 people between the interior and the terrace), far from what all expected, it could even have been sold out.
The band's third step through Madrid was on Saturday, October 5, 2019 at Sala Mon, with a show structured in two sets and an encore, without any opening acts. They worked a live show that lasted about two and a half hours with a little break in between. A great example of the capacity for effort and work of this band!
And recently their fourth visit to the city a few days ago, Thursday, March 9, 2023, again at Sala Mon, co-headlining the Island in Limbo Tour together with Haken and as a guest Cryptodira. Before we start talking about the amazing concert by BTBAM, we want to mention the enormous gratitude to the drummer Blake Richardson for inviting us and having the possibility of taking live photos and writing this chronicle.
The band's show started and one thing that immediately jumped out to everyone who’s been following the band for years is that someone’s missing. Unfortunately, guitarist Dustie Waring had to stay home for health-related reasons. He did an amazing job pre-recording his parts for this tour! While not there physically, his sound undeniably carried a huge portion of the band's sound, the delivery was so good you could swear he was just playing behind the big Colores II projection in the background. We wish him all the best in his recovery and really hope to see his crushing riffs on the next EU tour.
Starting off with the nearly 10 minutes all-time classic Extremophile Elite, from their album The Parallax II: Future Sequence, something that raised the passion of a good part of the public. Sadly, people in front row, couldn't enjoy the amazing voice of Tommy Giles Rogers. Obviously not the band's fault, it was because they go by line and the front row at this venue mostly doesn't catch the PA well, all the people behind the front monitors heard everything perfectly. In any case, people in front row just equally enjoy the show with the clean technical metal and the transitions that define the unmistakable style of these North Americans. We love watching the audience at prog metal concerts, the "music nerds" listening carefully to every note, others trying to bang their heads in three different time signatures at the same time, and still others who just adore this fantastic music style and playing skills.
Between The Buried And Me played a heavy set, which of course mainly focused on the last record Colores II out in 2021. Straight after Extremophile Elite they jumped right into Revolution In Limbo, followed by another two songs from their last album Colores II, Fix the Error and Never Seen/Future Shock. It would be a vast understatement to say these performances rocked everyone awake, the band is able to create absolutely crushing riffs, yet still invite everyone in the crowd to sing along to the clean parts.
After around 25 minutes of absolute music enjoyment and highlighting the amazing exhibition of drummer Blake Richardson, the brief song Dim Ignition served to introduce Famine Wolf, both songs from the album Coma Ecliptic. The band showed that on this tour they have earned their place at the same level as Haken, based on proving a live capacity that can put any band that has to act after them in trouble. Dan Briggs took care of the bass corner, with great skill and ease, with moments for amazing solos, also supporting Tommy Giles Rogers on keyboards throughout the night. Also, Paul Waggoner was paying attention all time to all the guitar resources that the compositions require, which are not few between riffs and solos.
The duo made up of Bad Habits and the beloved The Future is Behind Us marked the final review of the recent album Colores II. Tommy Giles Rogers didn’t stop moving between the piano and all along the stage, demonstrating his great qualities in either of his two positions, also displaying incredible talent as a frontman.
This band really can do it all, the perfect mix of unbelievably fat riffs and wild screams, sublime epic melodies and completely detached Prog craziness. The end was reached after almost 75 minutes, the concluding Voice Of Tresspass, a song from Automata II, left us all euphoric and overwhelmed. It's actually insane how it's possible to have such a mad song with such a positive vibe to it, one that just doesn't allow anything but going absolutely crazy.
And just like that, BTBAM’s set was over. At the end of the day, it's not crazy to include Between the Buried and Me in that category of bands you don't want as a band playing before you. The evening's debate was certainly bound to revolve around which band put on a better show. Whatever the answer, with a show of not insignificant length and impeccable execution, they contributed to making the night one of the best progressive showst in town. A shame about the voice sound in the front row, even so, these Prog masters from North Carolina made us all enjoy their undoubtedly technical metal, where synchronization and skill stand out, giving a good example of the great quality of this band. Thank you Between the Buried and Me, we look forward to your return very soon!