Review Summary: Between the Buried and Me reach a new level of skill and musicianship in their staggeringly good album "Colors".
There is most likely no other band that encompasses as many different genres in one album than Between the Buried and Me does in it's most recent release, "Colors". They stay true to their technical progressive metal roots, but branch into others such as jazz, hardcore (yes, similar to metal), emo, alternative, grunge, '80s rock (hair metal and arena rock), classical guitar and some classical piano, electronic, acoustic, some Indian sounding stuff (I don't know the actual name), polka/waltz, and just straight up rock. This album, while it is predominantly metalcore, has something that everyone can enjoy. This makes it even more unique.
BTBAM has been taking leaps and bounds since their first self-titled release in 2002. This EP contained several shining moments and flashes of brilliance throughout, but out of the 8 tracks I would only consider 3 or so very strong. The others are good as well but sometimes hard to sit through, as the shortest song clocks in at 4:52 and the longest at 9:27. However, only two members remain from that original BTBAM. Their next two releases, "The Silent Circus" and "Alaska", in 2003 and 2005 respectively, were significantly better than each's predecessor. Although the production quality of "Alaska" has been highly criticized, this album was a breakthrough for the band. Standout tracks from these two albums: Mordecai, All Bodies, Alaska, Backwards Marathon, and Selkies: The Endless Obsession. Selkies features arguably the greatest solo of all time. Well, it's my favorite at least, and if BTBAM was more mainstream and widely known this solo would give any Randy Rhoads or Steve Vai solo a run for it's money.
Now we reach "Colors". You get the sense that with this album, Between the Buried and Me has finally moved from a band striving for greatness and recognition into the upper echelon of all metal. Each individual member of BTBAM uses his skill to his full potential on this album. Tommy has an incredible scream and uses his falsetto and full voice more on this album with a very strong result. He often uses it for a melodic background on top of quiet guitarwork, and the effect is fantastic. Paul and Dustie... what can be said about them, they are technically as good as any guitarist you can name and can play any genre they want and make it sound amazing. Paul even does some solid backup vocals behind Tommy at times. Dan, the bassist, moves his fingers up and down the neck so quickly you'd think it was a guitar and shows off his speed and overall prowess on the song "Viridian". This song might make you cry, a blend of jazz chords and stunning beauty and calm, as Dan's runs up and down the neck fit perfectly, making this song incredible. And Blake, the drummer, well he keeps tempo better than a metronome does lol and pulls off complex time signatures, super fast blast beats, and mind numbing fills with apparent ease. Overall, the band weaves an extremely tight sound into a seamless wave of intricate structures and beautiful melody into the album now known as "Colors". This is literally true: although the album is divided into 8 songs, each song loops into the next without a break in any sound. The album is pretty much one 65-minute long song. If you're not watching your ipod/cd player/itunes/whatever other thing you use to play music, you will probably miss the switch into a new song.
The lyrics to this album seem to be written about the general sh*ttiness of the human race. On the final epic song of the album, Tommy writes: "The monsters are made, and we have proven that we will be one of them/The whores take the stage, flash our skills, gotta draw 'em in/gotta keep 'em on their toes/don't show them how you truly are, who would want honesty." This pretty much sums up the overall theme of the words to most songs. Although there are hints of hope, as in The Decades of Statues: "Live life/you have all helped me break from this/ the few times relaxation steps in bringing me a peaceful place", Tommy focuses mainly on how mankind seems to be spiraling downward into selfishness, corruption, superficiality, and a negative programmed routine that seems unbreakable. However, the lyrics are written very poetically and the flow is great. He does not write from the traditional narrative point of view. Rather, he describes situations, events, and stories from the first person perspective. If Tommy's lyrics were not so pessimistic, and optimistic instead he would be a world famous motivational speaker. The message is very sad, but they are definitely powerful and inspiring, which is the mark of a talented lyricist.
This is Between The Buried And Me's best album yet, hands down. Tops tracks: Ants of the Sky, Viridian, White Walls, Sun of Nothing, and Foam Born (a). Well that's 5 of the 8 tracks lol. The total time for Sun Of Nothing, Ants Of The Sky, and White Walls is a hefty 38:12. When you read this you may shudder, because your previous experiences with songs that are over 10 minutes may be that they are repetitive and get extremely boring after about the 5th minute, but not so with these songs. Every minute of each song is jam-packed with vivid riffery, energized vocals, intense buildups, and enchanting waves of sonic goodness. If I lost the album I would buy a new one, maybe two just for good measure. I recommend this album to everyone, as it can be enjoyed by people of all shapes and sizes. Especially to any guitar players: this album will give you a whole new perspective of how a guitar can be used in music. It did for me.