Review Summary: BTBAM take "Alaska" to the next level and experiment even more with the concept of genre mashing.
Between the Buried and Me- Colors
Lately it seems the metal genre has been going stale in appeal: not many bands these days are pushing to impress. Metalcore is becoming all the rage in my town, and deathcore is a commonly used term, and quite frankly, I’m sick of it. Most bands seem to just be doing things that have been accomplished in the past, such as crushing breakdowns, blistering guitar solos, and insanely fast blast beats. But one band seems to push their limits more and more with every album, and that band is Between the Buried and Me. I’m sure you all have heard of them, their becoming juggernauts of their labeled category. They began with their self-titled debut and it earned them some respect, without doing anything that interesting. The band then released “The Silent Circus,” which introduced their concept of extreme genre-mashing and odd time signatures. They then took it one step further with their third LP “Alaska,” which blew fans away with its improved vocals and superb instrumental show casings. As if “Alaska” wasn’t enough, BTBAM (name abbreviation) then expanded their style even more with “Colors,” one of the most revolutionary albums ever created.
This album has so many different genres pounded into it; you’ll even find an odd polka interlude in the sixth track, “Prequel to the Sequel.” That song is basically the ultimate example of extreme genre mashing. One would think it’s impossible to pull off such a feat, but as said before, Between the Buried and Me pushes their style even further with every release. In fact I am so impressed with this album I can honestly say it’s a classic. You will come back to every track at least ten times, because it’s just that challenging to take it all in at once. The energy and musical diversity poured into every track is just simply immaculate. Creativity is probably the main thing that attracts me to this album, as it has some of the most well written lyrics in modern times. Just listen to the clean vocal section in the second half of “Sun of Nothing.”
The stand-out instrument of this album is definitely the guitars, with beautiful technical fills and solos positioned in every track; it’s hard not to notice. The most technically proficient song is probably “Ants of the Sky” or “White Walls,” both going past an epic ten minutes of pure genius. The intro riff of “Ants of the Sky” is one of the best melodic guitar fills I have ever heard, it’s harmonized with the drums and keyboards in an almost perfect manner. Then there’s the all too famous solo near the end of “White Walls,” which is fitting for the closing of the album. But the length of these songs can also be a flaw as well as a highlight. After the first listen you’ll be anticipating the part you loved so much, you’ll probably end up fast-forwarding to that specific chapter of the song. Although if you can overcome this urge and listen carefully and intently, you’ll have one of the most unpredictable experiences of your life.
One element that gets more time to shine this time around is the bass guitar; BTBAM actually dedicated a whole song to give Dan Briggs some solo time. Listen to the song “Viridian,” which has an excellent bass solo featured within, which strong highlight of the entire album. This then smoothly transitions into the epic “White Walls” intro riff. There’s also something to be said about “Colors’” excellent use of transition, as each song plays into the next. This was obviously done to make each song feel like a chapter in one giant project, “Colors” could be considered one giant song, and a masterpiece at that. This album has everything: heavy breakdowns, crushing riffs, blast beats, solos, harsh and clean vocals, calm interludes, and even more experimental sections than “Alaska.”
The overall feel of the album is, in my opinion, claustrophobia, as it overwhelms you with its constant tempo and genre changes. “Informal Gluttony” demonstrates this perfectly, as it changes tempo and genre at least three times in the first two minutes. This will make you feel almost unintelligent sometimes, as it is so hard to keep up with the pace and diversity of the songs. It’s not recommended to listen to this if you’re looking for easy listening, because concentration is key with BTBAM.
Overall this album is almost perfect, and in my mind is an instant classic. This album will revolutionize the metal genre as a whole and be a huge inspiration to bands in the future. I recommend any fan of Between the Buried and Me or metal as a whole pick this up and give it a solid listen (as if you haven’t already).
+Stands out among the modern bands
+The guest vocalist blew me away
-None except for the claustrophobia you will get
Top Five Tracks:
1. “Prequel to the Sequel”
2. “Ants of the Sky”
3. “White Walls”
5. “Informal Gluttony”