BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME have built their reputation as one of hard rocks most inventive and ambitious bands. Sharing a lineage with such luminaries as PINK FLOYD, KING CRIMSON and TOOL, they continue to explore new territory with a genuine passion … see full wiki
I am very thankful for the day a kind fellow named Dr. Chandler who recommended this band to me several years back. From the beginning, with their remarkable self-titled album, Between the Buried and Me was basically the perfect band. Progressive in thought and deed, stunning instrumental proficiency, riveting emotional excitement, challenging on the long-term yet instantly compelling, amazing vocals, guitars and drumming. Such a masterful blending of features that it is immediately and timelessly absorbing. They play a unique, ultra-complex, blast-laden tech-metal with elements borrowed from many genres, for instance pop and jazz and biker-rock and radiohead-ish stuff, ethnic tunes, and some weirdness. They execute fast, clean changes with such precision and lack of pretension that a Naked City fan would have to respect them.
Classifying them is something of a disservice, they are the sort of "prog-metal" that is a sub-genre unto themselves, like recent tourmates Dream Theater and Opeth, or more obscure groups like maudlin of the Well, or even something like Meshuggah. They are good because their unique sound hit very powerful emotional and physical responses while other bands are singing a generic song. So to me Between the Buried and Me is already top-tier in their field, however one classifies it. But now _Colors_ comes along, an album so perfect and awesome that it makes their previous work seem so, I dunno, puny. this cranks the BtBaM power meter to above a million percent doing everything they've done before way better and then some. over the coming years this should go on all those "best metal albums" lists and such.
_Colors_ is all one epic song broken into tracks, and because it is so huge and the band rarely repeat themselves (and then always reorchestrated), it seems chaotic but it is not really. The themes and emotions are connected with something more epic and emotional than most prog-metal formalisms allow for. Definitely not chaotic. The way the band moves through build-and-release patterns of tension is fairly natural and conventional to the best of Western music. Is that their amazing power -- their music is so good that it has a physical force, like your body's cells are quaking ecstatically with the vibrations while you listen and pulling you along? It is so structurally riveting, the full 64 minutes so intense and awesome, you will feel guilty if you don't listen to it all in one sitting each time you put it on. I have no idea what the lyrics are about.
The album opens and closes with a pretty bit for solo piano. When the full band comes in though, you going to hear some of the best all out prog-metal intensity ever. Waggoner, Waring, Briggs and Richardson are gods together - the drumming is like extreme tech-death, mindblowing riffs and guitar heroics, solos and instrumental interludes of sheer emotional perfection and melodic genius. Their prog-metal is more metalcore based, but their songs change constantly, hitting everything in the metal spectrum and a lot more. They are unpredictable and their eclectic reach is heard in all kinds of ways, like the irish pub jig at the end of "Ants of the Sky", the moment of "Informal Gluttony" which sound like Mr. Bungle complete with weird Pattonite noises, a Tom Waits-esque interlude in "Prequel to the Sequel", or there's the intro to that song which make me think of space commandos, the shoegaze-pop moment midway through "Sum of Nothing", or the middle-eastern arrangement of the start of 3.
And while these moments are abundant and very well done, it is a mistake to think Between the Buried and Me's ingenuity comes only from their willingness to draw from unexpected sources. Anyone into prog-metal knows how these bands like to show off eclecticism at various opportunities. BtBaM is more about the underlying principle that guides these eclectic moments with a coherent universal quality present at all moments, no matter how superficially different. this music is extremely distinctive, and the overall sound is definitely like no other.
All these inflated descriptions and praises get tossed around a lot, especially by myself!, but this band is the real deal, I promise. It might be mean to say this, but if you consider yourself a fan of heavy, intelligent, and dazzlingly technical music and you don't like this, there is something very wrong with you.I can write a gushy review once in awhile. Although I guess they are all gushy.