Words & Photos by Nathan Katsiaficas
Progressive metal titans Between the Buried and Me are presently on the last leg of a headlining tour in support of their July release The Coma Ecliptic, with Norway’s Enslaved providing support, accompanied by openers Intronaut and Native Construct. I caught up with the tour as it was nearing its end on December 12th at the House of Blues in Boston.
The venue originally listed the show as starting at 6 online, but had apparently bumped it up to 5:30, leading many (myself included) to miss Boston’s own Native Construct opening things up in their hometown. In fact, I arrived just in time to see Intronaut walk out onto the dimly lit stage. While this was my first time seeing them, I knew these guys had some serious musical chops, and was not disappointed by their set, which was entirely composed of material from their freshly-released full length The Direction of Last Things, which came out back on November 19th. Their set included “Fast Worms,” “Digital Gerrymandering,” “City Hymnal,” and “Sul Ponticello.”
After an ethereal performance from Intronaut, it was quite the transition to Norse extreme metallers Enslaved. One by one the band emerged onto the stage until all were present, at which point they launched straight into “Fusion of Sense and Earth” from their 2006 album Ruun. While much of the audience was comprised of progressive metal fans, many seemed to appreciate having Enslaved bring a different flavor to what would’ve otherwise been a more monotonous lineup. Their set went on to include five more tracks, including “Building with Fire” from their 2015 release, In Times. Frontman Grutle Kjellson led his bandmates in an energetic performance that was peppered with entertaining quips from Kjellson, who at one point picked up his drink and identified the unknown amber liquid as Cognac, which he described as “France’s only culinary contribution.”
After a brief stage changeover, it was time for Between the Buried and Me to take to the stage. As it is The Coma Ecliptic Tour, it was no surprise that the band kicked things off with the title track from their new release, proceeding put on a magnificent 90-minute display of masterful musicianship. With such a huge discography and such lengthy numbers, it’s hard for a band like BTBAM to make a set that spans their full musical career–that being said, the band is playing a mix of different material on this tour that should please most diehard fans as well as newer ones. Alongside the two other new songs they’re playing this tour (“The Ectopic Stroll” and “Turn on the Darkness”), they’ve thrown in several fan-favorite oldies including “Fossil Genera – a Feed from Cloud Mountain” from 2009’s The Great Misdirect, and “Informal Gluttony”and “Sun of Nothing” from 2007’s Colors. After closing out their set they returned for a 2-song encore featuring “Silent Flight Parliament” and “Goodbye to Everything Reprise” from The Parallax II: Future Sequence. I don’t know that I’ve ever witnessed such a tight performance from any band–be it new material or old, BTBAM sounded flawless. While this tour is nearing it’s end (see remaining dates after the photos below), Between the Buried and Me has just been announced for the Carolina Rebellion and Rock on the Range music festivals in May of next year–so if all else fails, you can catch them then!
Remaining dates on The Coma Ecliptic Tour
Dec 16 Baltimore Soundstage – Baltimore, MD
Dec 17 The Fillmore Charlotte – Charlotte, NC