Between the Buried and Me
Colors


3.5
great

Review

by thesystemisdown USER (23 Reviews)
December 28th, 2007 | 110 replies | 14,145 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Anybody sampling bits and pieces of Colors will find it excellent, but taken as a whole it is bogged down, not by excess or bad music, but by the sheer volume of complex material one is pressured to accept as genius by the band's fanbase.

9 of 9 thought this review was well written

Many have spoken, with alternating praise or contempt, of the mind-boggling insanity that is Colors by Between the Buried and Me. The terms chaotic, unbelievable, indescribable, evil, monumental and ferocious have been used in both a complimentary and a critical sense. The vast number of influences and sections, as well as the “eight tracks, one song” theory have also been discussed in both a positive and a negative light. Indeed, all of these concepts do in fact apply to the record, and occasionally they are good and occasionally they are bad in their execution. The question is, which is which? Read on.

I don’t think anybody would argue BTBAM’s technical prowess. From the drumming to the bass to the guitars to the piano to the vocals to anything else they might have thrown in there, everything is not only played with a high degree of proficiency, but is always mindful of what is going on around it. Unlike some other progressive outfits (like The Mars Volta, who just go for complete chaos and hope some sense is eventually sifted out of it by fat teenagers who worship the Gospel of Bixler-Zavala, or Tool, who apart from the drums is unfortunately minimalist in all but the time signature department), BTBAM knows when to rock out and when to rein it to allow other members their say. The bass, as usual, is not easy to hear, but even if all that’s going on is playing in tandem with the guitar (not likely) he still does a fairly impressive job.

When nobody is pulling off a crazy fill or lead, the riffs and simpler parts are always interesting and even catchy. More to the point they are tasteful and are almost never bogged down by melodrama. For those who have come to associate prog rock with the bombastic technical masturbation of Dream Theater or System of a Down’s mad-scientist lunacy, allow me to present Colors. The band is like a slightly more campy version of Opeth, in that they employs dizzying stylistic changes but rarely rely on the shock value of them.

The best part is the fluidity with which the band transitions from section to section. It takes a quick thinker to go from mind-numbing double bass attack to a jazzy beat in a completely different time signature, but the drummer pulls it off time and time again. Obviously this benefits from the studio treatment, but to present such transitions so regularly and have them all make perfect sense and easy on the ear is impressive. Some bands like Mr. Bungle are happy to include jarring transitions and present them as comical or musically effective, but to make something that sounds natural is BTBAM’s strong suit, and they excel at it. There are only several moments in which the transitions don’t work, and that is when the band goes into something so outlandish than it would never sound natural in context (in particular the country hootenanny interlude near the middle of the album).

That brings me to the main problem of this album, which is that it is just so exhausting to listen to in its entirety (as its fans insist it should be). The band tries to alleviate this with soft-heavy dynamics and ridiculous moments such as the polka and country sections, but it simply doesn’t work. Never is anything from before built off of; instead, more and more parts and suites are heaped on top of each other in an alarming way, much like a desk being loaded with paperwork. Any given minute of this album is brilliant when taken out of context from the crushing weight that precedes and is sure to follow it. The band’s maturity and technicality is virtually thrown out the window when it comes to their songwriting approach, because on this record they simply don’t have one. It’s as if the writing process for the album consisted of the band working together to produce several hundred riffs, solos and ideas, but with so little common ground between any of them they applied their seamless transitory touch and decided to call all of these ideas one song. This was a terrible, terrible concept. The album is simply sagging under the weight of all the genius moments it is composed of, and as a result Colors is somehow less than the sum of its parts.

A more song-based approach would have made this album a classic. Some may call for judicious excision of the more absurd moments on Colors, but really all that would be necessary is to make the existing content more digestible. Glimmers of this concept are visible in “Foam Born: The Backtrack” and “Informal Gluttony,” and as a result these tracks stick out simply because they’re divided from the others by more than just a changing number on your CD player. This way, the bizarre parts could be changed into short little filler sections and everything else could be condensed into a more listenable form.

It kills me to say this, but Colors is an album that is literally ruined by its execution. As I said, any given minute (or two or five) of this album is wonderful and impressive. However, despite the band being a technical workhorse, their laziness in not bothering to make their good ideas listenable shows not only hubris, but contempt for their audience. Some may be willing and able to digest brilliance in this form, but it was too frustrating for me to sit still for an hour while section after section rained down on me with neither reference nor consideration to what came next. Oh sure, all the sections were put in an acceptable order, but trying to keep track of everything that came before and will come after is simply not a workable idea for a band that does its damnedest to make every moment different from the one before.

Listening to this album is essentially the same as having your friend burn you a 3-hour playlist of songs you love, only to have them chopped into random sections and construct one massive song out of one section of each song with no pauses. The band tries its best with the limitations they built for themselves, but Colors fails in that regard. This album is truly great, but if you want to get the full blast of it, you’ll have to change your typical approach to listening to an album or risk getting a bad first impression. To progress from a technical and emotional standpoint and yet fail so profoundly on a songwriting level is the dubious honor that Colors holds, and hopefully BTBAM will revert to a more typical method on any subsequent releases that are hopefully in the band’s future.



Recent reviews by this author
Opeth Ghost ReveriesMastodon Leviathan
Mr. Bungle Mr. BungleRise Against The Sufferer and the Witness
Shinedown Leave A WhisperAvenged Sevenfold Avenged Sevenfold
user ratings (3860)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
thesystemisdown
December 28th 2007



410 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah I know immediate negging and all that but seriously give me opinions not negs

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
December 28th 2007



15698 Comments


Was this really necessary?

Negging because of the lack of necessity for the review is dumb, esp if it's well written, which is what the question asks.This Message Edited On 12.28.07

Digging: RATKING - So It Goes

dtti
December 28th 2007



79 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

not so much

XMII
December 28th 2007



176 Comments


Good review.

thesystemisdown
December 28th 2007



410 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Lack of necessity? Sure it's the 7th review but I think it's a fairly underrepresented viewpoint... the only other review that has much negative to say has very different criticisms than mine.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
December 28th 2007



15698 Comments


It's a little bit of overkill.
That said, it was excellently written. I particularly agree with this part:

despite the band being a technical workhorse, their laziness in not bothering to make their good ideas listenable shows not only hubris, but contempt for their audience.

Hate these guys.

ColdDamnation
December 28th 2007



159 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I agree mostly with what you say...its all genius, its just not very coherently good or enjoyable.

My favorite parts of the entire album consist of the bass during the range between 9:22-23 on white walls and the country ho down.

as a band I think they should stop trying to do everything and do a couple things more completely and more satisfyingly.


Pebster49
December 28th 2007



2988 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

This album isn't suppose to be something you can jump in and love it. Most good albums to me are albums that last, and that take 10 or so listens to really hear it all come together. This album did that, the energy is incrediable at times. Good review btw.

dtti
December 28th 2007



79 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Anybody sampling bits and pieces of Colors will find it excellent, but taken as a whole it is bogged down, not by excess or bad music, but by the sheer volume of complex material one is pressured to accept as genius by the band's fanbase.


What you said here, imo, is actually the complete opposite. If you only listen to 1or 2 tracks out of order, then it feels incomplete or even disjointed possibly. Taken as a whole, the album flows marvelously. In fact, there are varying themes (musically) that build off one song after another, climaxing with White Walls.

i am the robots
December 28th 2007



1027 Comments


This album is the epitome of disjointed writing...

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
December 28th 2007



16028 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Band sucks, album sucks. These guys have way to many drooling fanboys who seem to think anything they write is absolutely classic.

Digging: Katatonia - Kocytean

Confessed2005
December 28th 2007



3314 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, I agree with some of your points but I still think this is a great album.

thesystemisdown
December 28th 2007



410 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Well this album flows well at some points but around tracks 4-6 it all starts feeling like way too much. If you think of a song as a building, then a normal album (like Alaska) is like a block of buildings, whereas this is a beautiful building that keeps getting built higher and higher until ultimately it falls over.

ikarus
December 28th 2007



559 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

interesting review, i do agree with some of your points about the unorganized part of it, but i think thier execution still gives something that makes me like it, even if it technically is just random riffing at the core

MoonlightBleeding
December 28th 2007



452 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The review was good.

But I didn't agree with any of it at all. It's pure structured genius.

ColdDamnation
December 28th 2007



159 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

uhhh sure the end and the beginning of the songs merge together...but the actual transition of music lasts for about 20 seconds tops.

brandtweathers
December 28th 2007



2009 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I appreciate this review namely because it is underrepresented.

Thank you for making an honest column that is outside the opinions already represented by dozens of professional music critics.

brandtweathers
December 28th 2007



2009 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Moonlightgenius,

Maybe you think so highly of it because it fits exactly into your tastes.
Compare your preferred music to many others and see how this album may strike any listener from the universe of choices.

Altmer
December 28th 2007



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

I give this review a hearty yeah.

talentless
December 28th 2007



94 Comments



Band sucks, album sucks. These guys have way to many drooling fanboys who seem to think anything they write is absolutely classic.


What's the matter? Not kvlt enough for you?



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy