Review Summary: A solid release from BTBAM, and a very interesting one too. It may not be a "real" album, but it's definately worth picking up.
Between the Buried and Me- Alaska [Instrumental] Review
There have been bands in the past that have revolutionized music in their successful attempts to progress they’re respected genres. Examples of these smart and talented bands are Pink Floyd, Tool and, of course, Opeth. All of these acts pushed to advance rock and metal into the next level, using new song composition ideas and great instrumentation. In effect to their efforts future bands look at them for inspiration and conceptual creativity. Probably the most recent of these record-breaking and risk-taking bands is Between the Buried and Me.
They constantly use odd time signatures and strange genre crossovers to make their music stand out among the large pack of metal bands today. They originally began with their self-titled release “Between the Buried and Me.” While this wasn’t an amazing album that revolutionizes music, it definitely shows this band’s roots and beginnings. BTBAM (common abbreviation) then followed up with their sophomore effort, “The Silent Circus,” which is hailed by quite a few people as their best effort. Songs like “Mordecai,” “Ad a Dglgmut” and “Aesthetic” are considered by many to be their best songs ever (“Aesthetic” being my personal favorite).
“Alaska,” their third LP, once again blew all of BTBAM’s fans away: this band is consistent in the way that they can experiment and yet still make masterful albums. As if “Alaska” wasn’t enough, the band then re-mastered all of its tracks and released an instrumental version in 2007 (right before “Colors” was released). It’s incredibly interesting to listen to this band’s music without vocals, because then you can keep a deeper focus on the instrumentation, which BTBAM has quite a bit of. I personally don’t enjoy this band’s vocals at all (minus the clean vocals), so I naturally became excited when I heard this was going to be released.
Now this album has a completely different feel to it than the original “Alaska”: as the screaming vocals give the original “Alaska” a heavier appeal. While the level of heaviness has definitely decreased a little, it’s still an album that will sometimes punch you in the face with its pounding riffs and blast beats. Probably the perfect song to demonstrate this is the all too famous “All Bodies.” The song begins with a quick molestation of guitar strings, which is then followed by fast, heavy riffs and thudding drums. But as most of you most likely know, BTBAM isn’t known for just pure heavy metal: they switch from genre to genre multiple times in every song.
This is especially evident in “Selkies: The Endless Obsession,” as it starts with an almost punk-influenced intro. But about forty seconds into the song we hear the double bass pedals start to kick quickly, and a heavier version of the intro riff slams your ears drums into your brain. This riff continues for a few seconds, and then a dark, atmospheric riff breaks in. This riff almost reminds me of black metal’s ability to create atmosphere using riffs. This is only two minutes of the six and a half minute song; only one word can describe this song perfectly: epic.
Probably the only disappointment of this near-classic album is the concluding song “Laser Speed.” While it’s a great song, I think it’s just a horrible way to end the album: they should have gone out with a huge bang. They could have ended it with a heavy-hitting ten minute song, which is what they typical do (see “Colors” and “The Silent Circus”). While I can see why they chose to do this, it just wasn’t the best thing they could have done with the conclusion of the album.
This album is a must have for any Between the Buried and Me fan; it just is such a treat listening to just they’re instruments. It makes you respect much more, so I would even recommend this to anyone looking to get into BTBAM, as a lot of people are pushed away by Thomas’ vocals. So his non-existent vocals are almost a refreshing element of this album that greatly sets this apart from they’re other albums. If you do plan picking this album up, I suggest downloading it (itunes if you prefer to not steal from BTBAM), as it is very hard to find in stores.
-Excellent track selection
-Insane song composition
-No annoying vocals
-Some people might miss the vocals
-“Laser Speed” is a definite downside
-Doesn’t include all of the tracks off of the original album
Top Five Tracks:
1. “Selkies: The Endless Obsession”
2. “All Bodies”
4. “The Primer”
5. “Medicine Wheel”