VENUE the elec­tric fac­tory, philadelphia DATE 31/03/2018 SUP­PORT le­prous, the dear hunter

Prog - - Take A Bow - JOR­DAN BLUM

North Carolina quin­tet Be­tween The Buried And Me have been lead­ing the pro­gres­sive metal scene for over a decade, with their lat­est record, Au­tomata I, re­in­forc­ing their mastery of meld­ing crush­ing so­phis­ti­ca­tion and soar­ing catch­i­ness. It’s no sur­prise, then, that this head­line show ex­plodes with all of the lus­trous sav­agery fans ex­pect.

They’re pre­ceded by two equally re­mark­able acts. Up first are Nor­we­gians Le­prous, who be­gin with a bit­ter­sweet lone cello recital be­fore fully delv­ing into their en­tranc­ingly thun­der­ous ar­se­nal. Nat­u­rally, they pri­ori­tise tracks from 2017’s Malina, fault­lessly pulling off Bon­neville and From The Flame, among oth­ers, be­fore clos­ing with Mi­rage. In be­tween, they do jus­tice to the rhyth­mic hyp­no­sis of The Price and gut­tural at­mos­pheres of The Flood, both from 2015’s The Con­gre­ga­tion.

Amer­i­can folk/or­ches­tral/pro­gres­sive rock group The Dear Hunter are up next, clearly rel­ish­ing the op­por­tu­nity to present some dy­namic and in­vig­o­rat­ing ma­te­rial. Specif­i­cally, their penul­ti­mate per­for­mance of Wit­ness Me is headed by live­lier nods to nearly ev­ery al­bum. The com­bi­na­tion of The Old Haunt and The March is a high­light, while other

stand­outs, such as Mus­tard Gas, The revival and the sub­lime fi­nale The Moon/Awake, demon­strate why they’re one of the best bands around.

BTBAM kick things off with se­lec­tions from Au­tomata I, in­clud­ing Con­demned To The Gal­lows, Mil­lions and the two‑ part pow­er­house of Gold Dis­tance and Blot. In be­tween, they pay re­spect to their prior mas­ter­works, with stun­ning ren­di­tions of The Coma Ma­chine, Dim Ig­ni­tion, As­tral Body, Lay Your Ghosts To rest and even a sec­tion of Ob­fus­ca­tion. Their great­est epic — Silent Flight Par­lia­ment/Good­bye To ev­ery­thing (reprise) — is the per­fect en­core.

BTBAM al­ways dom­i­nate in a live set­ting, and they cer­tainly de­liver here. Aided by two ex­cep­tional open­ing en­sem­bles, they pro­vide an as­tound­ing ar­ray of dev­il­ish yet serene pro­gres­sive metal majesty that fur­ther en­hances their rep­u­ta­tion as a supreme mod­ern act in the genre. Let’s hope they of­fer a com­pa­ra­bly stel­lar line‑up when it’s time to tour Au­tomata II later this year.

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