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ConcertsHaken, Between The Buried And Me, Cryptodira: Glasgow Garage 25th March 2023

Posted on Monday, March 27 2023 @ 20:28:32 CDT by Steven Reid
Concert Reviews

It’s heartening to know in these days where ticket agencies seem to have borrowed their business models from the touts we used to despise, that it’s still possible to fork out less than £30 and revel in a top class evening of progressive metal. Sea of Tranquility’s Steven Reid was treated to some of the best sounds the genre has to offer as Haken, Between The Buried And Me and Cryptodira enthralled a packed Glasgow Garage.

The ticket prices may have been mighty reasonable but the infamous Garage curfew remained in place and hence with a turfing out time of 10pm, Cryptodira hit the stage at the very un rock n roll hour of 6.30 in the evening. To their credit Glasgow had made the effort to catch the American 4 piece, with the venue half full as a roar of riffs and growling vocals was interspersed with a sprinkling of clean guitars and classy vocals from Scott Acquavella, although his six string partner Mike Monaco split the extreme vocal sections with him. The latter, it had to be said, took the questionable decision to dress in white linen from head to toe and open to the waist, showing off his torso tattoo, but there’s no denying the verve with which he and his band attacked “The Blame For Being Alive” and “Something Other Than Sacrifice” from their most recent album ‘The Angel Of History’. As warm up acts go Cryptodira did their job superbly, even if, as a first time listener, it does feel like there’s an ever so slightly obvious formula to their mix of hard hitting progressive metal and lighter passages.

Almost as though invisibly called into the venue, in the ten minutes it took to get the stage ready for Between The Buried And Me, the venue filled to near capacity. The intensity with which “Extremist Elite” announced the band’s arrival was palpable and it has to be said that not once was it allowed to drop. Cleverly, BTBAM made a whistle stop tour of their discography while focussing most strongly on their 2021 release ‘Colors II’. For this tour the band have slimmed down a four-piece due to guitarist Dustie Waring ‘prioritising his health and working on resolving a long-term injury’ - although he recorded his live contributions prior to the tour and they were used as backing tracks as the band played live. With singer Tommy Giles Rogers and bassist Dan Briggs spending much of their time behind their keyboards, it would be easy to think that the quartet on stage might therefore lack for a focal point but nothing could be further from the truth. It helps massively that the huge sound hammered home during a blistering “Fix The Error” and stunning “The Future Is Behind Us” goes a long way to filling any perceived void, but in truth it’s the standard of musicianship and chemistry between the band that captivates your attention. “Voice Of Trespass” brought the set to a close, dazzling fretwork from Paul Waggoner and an incredibly deft drum display from Blake Richardson leaving many in attendance completely agog. This was a consummate display and no mistake.

Great pains had been taken to ensure that tonight’s show was presented as an out and out co-headline gig, with both BTBAM and Haken receiving almost exactly the same amount of seconds on stage, and neither indulging in an encore. But from where I was standing, Haken closed this show and through crowd reaction and interaction alone, quickly proved to be the main event. Interestingly, with a new album in the shape of ‘Fauna’ on their hands that suggests it’s an early contender for the best release of 2023, Haken chose to use 2020’s ‘Virus' as the backbone of their set. Three tracks and the fifteen minute crescendo of the five part “Messiah Complex” all brilliantly brought to life alongside earlier songs “The Endless Knot” and “Falling Back To Earth”. That said, Fauna was far from ignored, and not only were the band all sporting Hawaiian shirts mimicking the wallpaper on that album’s cover - the drums were also beautifully wrapped in the same flowery pattern - but the three songs played from the album, “Lovebite”, “Taurus” and “The Alphabet Of Me”, were greeted like old heroes as the crowd sang them word for word.

Brandishing matching eight string headless guitars Richard Henshall and Charlie Griffiths served up a peerless demonstration of how to meld technique, feel, aggression and passion through music, while returning keyboard player Peter Jones fit right back into the band like he’d never been away. Special mention is also due for the kit battering, percussive powering Raymond Hearne, while bassist and more than capable backing singer Conner Green was happy standing at the back of the stage holding the whole shebang together. Singer Ross Jennings, however, was not to be outdone, he may look like a bit of an 80’s throwback and he does have a nifty line in Dad dancing, but boy can he sing, and hold every inch of the audience’s attention as he does so. With the numerous instrumental workouts coming thick and fast, the vocalist may spend a fair proportion of the set off the stage, but whether cajoling crowd surfers to the surface, or holding the microphone over the audience to encourage ever louder singing, it’s clear that this is a frontman with real skill and no little talent. Both are attributes that simply ooze out of this whole band, Haken making the ridiculous look and sound sublime. They might just have the album of the year on their hands, and if this show was anything to go by, they have the goods in the live arena to back it up.

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