Sydney’s Metro Theatre had a stellar roster of artists lined up on Saturday night. Headlining the bill were metal heavyweights Between the Buried and Me, with prog-metal dons Animals as Leaders and Sydney’s tech-metal outfit The Helix Nebula on support.
The Helix Nebula gave us a preview of their upcoming EP and delivered an impressive hour-long set that sparked immediate interest among those unfamiliar with the Sydney/Central-Coast band. Their eclectic polyrhythms and tech-infused riffs coupled with immense energy definitely left a long-lasting impression. I have a strong feeling we’ll be hearing a lot more about them in the near future – oh and stay tuned for their upcoming EP, which should be out over the next few months.
Animals as Leaders then stepped up and endowed everyone with an intense, instrumental workout. Dressed entirely in a cool, white suit, guitarist Tosin Abasi proceeded to school each and every one of us as he effortlessly shredded away on his 8-string. He rinsed more arpeggios than I’ve had hot dinners, and drummer Matt Garstka and rhythm guitarist Javier Reyes provided equally jaw-dropping feats of musical prowess. Matt was incredible to watch and listen to as he wildly blasted out each beat like there was no tomorrow. Relatively polite and soft-spoken for such monstrous music, Tosin modestly introduced each tune, with an occasional compliment to let us know how much of a “kickarse crowd” we were.
I personally would have rather heard them play with a dedicated bassist – there was something slightly tacky about playing off a backing track. However, this barely retracted from the amazing musicianship the three of them portrayed: it was a minuscule drawback in the grand scheme of things…
As this was their debut Australian tour, fans received a balanced mixture of tunes from both albums. Memorable ones included many personal favourites: Weightless, Tempting Time, Thoroughly at Home, and of course CAFO, which immediately ignited the mosh-pit into a frenzy of sweat-charged collision. There was talk of them touring again very soon, and I for one will definitely be in line for that.
After a brief intermission, Between the Buried and Me proceeded to open their set with an eerily sinister intro, which transitioned seamlessly into the adrenaline and fist-pumping White Walls. Tommy’s screams were impeccable, and the rest of the band members played as tight as a koala’s arse.
Their ability to transition from the brutal grind to synth-based, melodic sections is second to none. While they only played about 6 or 7 songs (some spanning over 10 minutes) each tune contained passages dynamic enough to capture the interest of even the most ADD of listeners. Crowd sing-alongs were also aplenty throughout their set, which was indeed refreshing to witness after being immersed in an instrumental eargasm that was Animals as Leaders and The Helix Nebula.
Between the Buried and Me played a great selection of tunes, both old and new, to cater for their lengthy discography. Telos, Sun of Nothing (which had the entire crowd singing along – brilliant!), Astral Body, and a hilarious cover of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody were highlights for me. They closed the night with an oldie from The Silent Circus – Mordecai – giving the fans one last chance to get their crowdsurf on, which a few enjoyed momentously. Whether the bouncers appreciated that is another story…