Guitar Hero threatens to destroy the very model upon which it's based. It's a heavy blow to nerd-dependent genres like progressive rock and heavy metal, whose mandated levels of instrumental proficiency can only be mastered by those with superhuman levels of singular focus.
But where the musically-inclined geeks of yore might've logged thousands of man-hours practicing scales and devouring Tolkien, or tuning their drum heads between chapters of The Fountainhead, today's Pages and Pearts are mashing five buttons on a plastic SG to play "Through the Fire and the Flames" on expert.
Thank God, then, for the North Carolinian reinventors of metalcore, known collectively as Between the Buried and Me, who keep the flame of ostentatious musicianship alive, and who undoubtedly spent their formative years forging an intimate relationship with their instruments — not their TVs. The quintet's latest studio album, Colors, skates through melodic, European-style metal, Queen bombast, jazzy, Pink Floydian texture, and Rush-esque prog rock — usually within the span of one epic song.
Frontman Tommy Rogers claims the point of Colors was to create an album, not a collection of songs, but a singular piece meant to be appreciated as a whole. Largely, he and his band succeeded. The songs move fluidly, but never predictably, weaving airy melody and brutal aggression together seamlessly. Singing swells into screaming and drop-tuned guitar chugging splinters off into whirlwinds of harmonic dual leads that would be impossible to replicate on a video game console.
They can, however be replicated live, as the recently released live CD/DVD iteration of Colors can attest. And on Sunday, they'll be replicated once more on the Music Farm stage. What's more though, is the audience will be reminded what it's like to watch real, preternaturally talented musicians — not just stereotypical rock avatars on a TV screen.
Between the Buried and Me performs at the Music Farm (32 Ann St., 843-853-3276) with support from He is Legend, Advent, and Nightbear on Sun. Dec. 7. General admission is $15 ($13 adv.). Visit www.musicfarm.com and www.betweentheburiedandme.com for more.