In 2008, Between The Buried And Me appeared on the Progressive Nation tour alongside Opeth and Dream Theater. Reflecting on these exhibits, the band’s frontman Tommy Rogers suspects that their a lot heavier tackle the style brought on a ruffle amongst punters, admitting that “if Opeth hadn’t have been there, it might have been actual unhealthy”.
Actual unhealthy? Quick ahead to their slot on the 2012 Summer time Slaughter tour, graced by such loss of life metallic heavyweights as Cannibal Corpse, and he says that a number of the crowd are sure to really feel “uneasy” uncovered to BTBAM. Briefly, these North Virginia prog/excessive/alt/rockers/metallers have a tough job of becoming in.
Let’s be trustworthy, prog is the black sheep of rock’s household – a capricious soul that flits between social circles, making an attempt a little bit of this, refusing a little bit of that and steadfastly going in opposition to the grain. An ideal instance of this rebellious predisposition are Between The Buried And Me. The likes of Opeth, Cynic, Devin Townsend or Mastodon had been by no means their reference factors once they began out. There was no ‘We need to make a document like Watershed’ or ‘Mother and pop introduced me up on a eating regimen of Rush and Pink Floyd’. It simply occurred that method. Like a duck-billed platypus being found for the primary time, they crawled onto the scene to a mutter of ‘What the hell is that?’ A band that fused all method of genres from jazz and blues to polka and lounge-rock, spliced with sci-fi math metallic and bludgeoning loss of life metallic screams?
Nah, it’ll by no means catch on.
Tommy Rogers, singer of the band and pivotal songwriter, explains the roots of BTBAM: “When Paul [Waggoner, guitarist] and I began this band, we had been in one other band that was a mix of metallic and hardcore and was actual heavy, and when that band disbanded we had been like, ‘Properly we clearly like this type of music, that is naturally what we write once we choose up our guitars.’ However we wished so as to add to the weather and never maintain again. We didn’t need to be cornered into this one sort of music. I feel that’s what’s helped us as a result of from day one, we had been by no means like, ‘That is what we sound like and we’re not going to stray from this.’ We’re not afraid to have this tremendous, tremendous mellow half that doesn’t sound prefer it ought to be in a music like this and I feel from our early followers to now, folks anticipate that from us and need to be stunned. They need to placed on a document and never know what’s going to occur.”
Due for launch in October is The Parallax II: Future Sequence, their seventh studio album and the follow-up to their EP The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues, launched earlier this 12 months. It’s unarguably their proggiest document so far, with extra clean-sung vocals and a shift away from chunky metallic riffs in the direction of extra intricate guitar traces. As ever, the album is characteristically unpredictable, utilizing pronounced melodies and class-A manufacturing to reinforce the rhythmic interchanges and quirky stylistic obstacles. All through are Tommy Rogers’ acerbic screams and blissful vocals. Definitely their most cohesive album so far – due, Rogers says, to the truth that they’ve all improved as musicians – The Parallax II is remarkably seemless for a document that ought to sound extra disjointed than Houdini.
“We’re somewhat bit extra choosy than we had been previously,” says Rogers, as he explains the writing and recording course of. “We most likely spend extra time than we should always over-analysing every thing. I suppose we get a bit OCD about it generally.”
As soon as the writing was achieved, the band laid down the music earlier than really recording the album. This helped them to clean out any kinks and become familiar with the circulate of the songs, thus making the recording comparatively plain crusing. From the sounds of it, so was every thing else…
“This document was an excellent all-round course of: the writing went rather well, the recording flew by, it was nice. There have been no kinks wherever. We’re very completely happy. So long as folks benefit from the document, we ought to be good.”
It seems like little one’s play, however BTBAM have been plugging away for a decade, constructing upon their portfolio of labor to create albums of better and better accomplishment, spending a sizeable portion of their profession as an underground band and step by step rising in standing, aided by the elevated reputation of progressive metallic and tech metallic from bands like Meshuggah, Protest The Hero and Periphery. Now excursions with the latter, in addition to Cynic and TesseracT, have helped forge a scene that has been welcomed by a sect of their fanbase hungry for classy time signatures and songs wealthy in development.
“We’re all enormous music lovers, all of us got here from totally different locations,” Rogers explains. “A number of us have the 90s different in our roots and all of us hearken to totally different sorts of music. Once we write we form of simply go for what feels proper. We by no means actually attempt to drive ourselves to sound a sure method or write a music a sure method. You already know, it’s bizarre – as chaotic and as intricate as our music sounds generally, it’s a really pure course of. That’s why writing and recording could be very thrilling for us as a result of we by no means know what to anticipate from every document. It’s like a fan ready for a document – for us, it’s like we will’t wait to see what Paul or Dan [Briggs, bass] or any of us are going to jot down subsequent. We all the time shock one another and that helps us alongside much more.”
Tommy Rogers performs keyboards and piano each dwell and on the document. His dexterity suggests a person with a classical upbringing however the actuality couldn’t be farther from the reality. Rogers began going to rock concert events at an early age, starting with Mötley Crüe and dealing his method as much as New York hardcore. He simply occurred to be a pure on the ivories.
“I by no means actually touched piano or keyboard till our second document, really. I’ve by no means actually been taught how one can play issues classically – I simply take a look at devices as a way to make music sound cool. It’s all about discovering the best sound or the best notes for the half, and that’s what I attempt to do with my voice as properly.”
Chatting with Prog from Knoxville, Tennessee, Rogers is within the midst of the US Summer time Slaughter tour. Now a everlasting West Coaster, spoilt by the proper climate situations, he’s not accustomed to the searing warmth he’s met by on this leg of the competition tour. Neither is he notably accustomed to festivals.
“It’s a fairly cool combine at this competition, and extra numerous than I anticipated it to be. Nevertheless it’s undoubtedly a full day of in-your-face metallic and it’s very spectacular that folks can stand there and watch bands all day. It’s been cool, it’s been very lengthy days and we’re not used to those excursions. We rarely do competition stuff, so it’s form of bizarre simply having to hold round all day, as a result of usually we have now a number of bands on set and play an extended set. However I feel it’s cool to do one thing like this, to step exterior of our consolation zone.”
To align themselves with the heaviness of their present tour, they’ve put out gutsy, riff-heavy music Telos as a preview. Although not a sign of the general sound of Parallax II, Telos caters for the followers that rejoice on the band’s hardcore leanings. On the similar time, there are sufficient stylistic shifts to assuage the prog heads – the sci-fi jazz jam, the spine-tingling clean-sung half – however we’re not speaking Mr. Bungle meets The Seaside Boys. That occurs elsewhere on the album.
To date, reactions to Telos are beneficial, with some followers evaluating it to their 2005 album, Alaska – thought-about their opus by some. But when the preview isn’t sufficient to whet the urge for food then absolutely the prospect of buying a personalised area go well with is! Any hot-off-the-press BTBAM merch ought to be sufficient to sate hungry followers, however there does appear to be a little bit of a buzz about their new initiative.
“We had been considering, ‘Would folks really need this? That is so ridiculous.’ However we wished to make it customisable so you possibly can have your personal title on there if you need. Nevertheless it’s simply one thing totally different. We wished to create a buzz across the document and make folks see how extra out of our minds we’re. On our subsequent tour we’re going to have all our tour guys sporting them once they arrange our gear.”
One other transfer which may have BTBAM followers chomping on the bit is the inclusion of TesseracT’s Amos Williams on the brand new album. Take heed to the title observe, a segue piece shaped of a spoken-word narrative over atmospheric guitars, and the richness of Williams’ voice may have you questioning if he moonlights as a voiceover artist – it’s that good.
“Once we toured with them [TesseracT], we’d say to Amos, ‘Man, your voice makes you sound like you have to be narrating Planet Earth or one thing,’ and we all the time joked that if we ever did a spoken phrase observe, his voice could be good.”
It’s not the primary time Rogers has stepped exterior his consolation zone – a number of months in the past he grew to become a dad for the primary time to son Max. Rogers’ fatherly duties have been stretched, particularly since he took off for the tour.
“It’s robust,” he says. “You actually don’t perceive what it’s wish to be a dad till you might be one. It’s nonetheless early within the tour and you’ve got good days and unhealthy days however fortunately we have now expertise that enables us to see one another, in order that makes it lots simpler. I get to see him extra usually. I’ve really seen him a number of occasions on the tour; he’s really seen a number of exhibits already.”
You’d be hard-pressed to discover a youthful gig-goer than a three-month-old child and one thing tells us Max will develop up with music in his veins.
It’s all half and parcel of a major time for Rogers and, certainly, his band. It’s one through which progressive metallic is at its zenith and BTBAM are reaching new heights of recognition. And with a London present with Periphery locked in for November, we’ll have our probability, as soon as once more, to get the complete mind-bending, ear-shattering expertise. And consider me, it’s price it.
This text initially appeared in challenge 30 of Prog Journal.