Review Summary: Varied, grandiose, epic, with some"been there done that" thrown in the mix.
"The Great Misdirect" is is the fifth album from prog/metalcore band Between the Buried and Me. A lot of hype had surrounded this album because it is the follow up to what is considered their magnum opus, "Colors." "Colors"was the accumulation of everything BTBAM had been progressing towards. Epic compositions, incredible musicianship, and world class wankery. Songs like "Ants of the Sky" and "White Walls" were indulgent as hell, but were well written none the less. Imaginative and endlessly listenable, "Colors" showcased a band with limitless ideas, performing at the height of their career.
Two years later, "The Great Misdirect" is released. How does it stack up to the preceding and immortalized album. Well, aside from a slight progression, this album is pretty much Colors v2.0. The band out right stated that they had planned to out do their last album, which makes this seem slightly forced. About an hour of music separated by six tracks, an obvious progression from the long compositions of the previous record, but contrived none the less.
There really is not a "bad" song on the album. It's full of all the highs and lows, the louds and softs one comes to expect from the band. Although much of the material seems to be borrowed from "Colors," the band does a commendable job at writing songs that hold the listener's interest. "Fossil Genera" offers the albums strangest song. A catchy, funk oriented intro leading into a harsher midsection. "Mirrors" and "Desert of Song" are the slower, more subdued tracks. Compared to the other songs, these seem less grand in scope, as they are much shorter and more focused. "Obfuscation" is your standard fare, closely related with "Fossil Genera" and "Ants of the Sky." Instrumental intro, harsh moment, soft moment, closer.
"Swim to the Moon" is the highlight of the album, and quite possibly one of the bands better songs. Clocking in at 18 min. in length, the track is sprawling. Although this representative of BTBAM better than any song on the album, it's a testament to their lack of freshness and ideas. It seems like they set out to make an epic song, wider in scope than anything else before. Add an outstanding chorus, a few amazing guitar solos, and some of the best drumming of the bands career. But what do they do with the eight minutes or so left. Improvise. And that is really what it comes down to, appeasing their fans with a truckload of inconsistent wankery. Its fantastic, but some may be turned off by its breadth.
"The Great Misdirect" is truly a great album. It's beautiful, heavy, and more technical than damn near any album this year. The band works well together, and it shows. The music is obviously written by a collective unit, rather than separate entities. Yet I can't help but think this effort seems a little forced. In trying to top one album, they've created one a little too close to it. Some might call this "playing it safe." I find it hard to believe they've run out of ideas. Instead it sounds like they have opted to stick to close to a proven formula. In short, if you are a fan, you will love this. If BTBAM has eluded your interest in the past, this does little to capture it now.