Between the Buried and Me
The Great Misdirect


4.0
excellent

Review

by Tyler Munro EMERITUS
October 26th, 2009 | 3828 replies | 150,525 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: While The Great Misdirect might not match the raw intensity of The Silent Circus, it might be their most coherent album yet.

A new Between the Buried and Me album means a new locomotive, and this time the hype-train is chugging along faster than ever. For most fans of the band, Colors was a landmark release. Alaska was, in a lot of ways, just another take on The Silent Circus. A shittier one, at that. But Colors brought something new. Not only did it finally make full use of one-time session musicians Blake, Dan and Dustie, but it pushed the band further into their earlier hinted progressive tendencies. Problem is, Colors was actually kind of a mess. Most of the songs were too long, they featured awkward, sloppy (or sometimes nonexistent) transitions. The heavy parts were regurgitated from their past works (sometimes verbatim) and the off-kilter, 'wacky' parts in “Sun of Nothing” and “Ants of the Sky” seemed like they were only there to fill up space and show us that the band has a fun side. Of course I'm nit-picking, Colors was still pretty fucking good, but it was obviously the beginning of a transition, one I think they've completed on The Great Misdirect.

The Great Misdirect is very much a structural refinement of Colors. It's in the same vein, but better in every way. Like its predecessor, The Great Misdirect also starts with a softer number, but unlike “Foam Born”, “Mirrors” feels like a fully developed song instead of a passing thought. The Great Misdirect also ends with a long-running epic, but we'll get to that later. First, I want to revisit those aforementioned 'wacky' parts. You know the ones I'm referring to; the Bungle-esque philandering in “Sun of Nothing” and the “Shevanel” revisiting bluegrass from “Ants of the Sky”. Technically speaking, those parts were well done. But they were totally fucking pointless in the context of the songs, and they tragically cheapened what was otherwise the best one-two punch on the album. It felt like the band was laughing at us, showing off with a mildly retarded charm reminiscent of MadTV's Stewart. “Look what I can do” repeated over and over and over. As an indicator of the refinement that took place between albums, the wackiness actually takes centre stage on “Fossil Genera”, but it's a flip of the script when its swinging circus aesthetic fits more comfortably within their sound than genre-typical instrumental flexing. No, The Great Misdirect's flow isn't chopped by left-of-centre Patton-isms, but what I'd like to call the Prog Nation effect. No song makes this more evident than the 18 minute (and ten minutes too long) “Swim to the Moon”.

Sure, it's never as disorganized as “Black Rose Immortal” or as outrightly terrible as any of Dream Theater's epics, but it's still pretty self-indulgent and way too fucking long, which isn't to say the extraneous parts fall at the end. No, “Swim to the Moon” drags its feet through its midway, pulling the listener through minutes of ego-fellating shred. It's not the solos---keys and guitars primarily-- that flirt with tastelessness; it's their very presence. Barring Tommy's epileptic noodling, “Swim to the Moon”'s masturbatory interlude serves its purpose. Instrumentally speaking, it's impressive. But the fact remains that it's purpose is nonexistent. We already knew they could play their instruments. As a result “Swim to the Moon” is an already long song made even longer by a tasteless jam session. It would work in a live setting, giving the band room to really show their stuff and have some fun (for once). On the album it's superfluous, showy and in the end pretty fucking stupid. Even still, “Swim to the Moon” is still a good song. It does a good job at establishing dynamics toward the end---when you expect it to follow suit with Alaska and Colors in its use of a cacophonous breakdown...well, the breakdown is still there (and it still sounds the exact fucking same as it did on Colors), but the track actually ends on a surprisingly mellow note. Reusing the same riff that introduces the song in different contexts (from the Blue Man Group-like beginning to heavier and ever western sounding flairs) helps keep the song afloat and keys the listener back into the song, but it saves the song falling completely off the map--it doesn't excuse the longwinded self-indulgences. But like I said, “Swim to the Moon” isn't a bad song. In fact there are no bad songs on The Great Misdirect, a fact which may be as much of a testament to each track's variety and extended runtime than anything.

Wedged between the 12 minute “Fossil Genera” and the 18 minute “Swim to the Moon”, “Desert of Song” could pass for the weakest on the album (though I'd personally give that honour to “Swim to the Moon”). But clocking in at a modest five and a half minutes, it's a necessary bridge between two long-winded epics. Its mostly-acoustic crooning may be without any real context, but by making use of Paul Waggoner's rarely heard (and surprisingly capable) vocals as well as a well placed, jaw-dropping bass-work, “Desert of Song” gives the listener a chance to breath. Other than “Mirrors”, it's really the only one they'll get.

That's because “Obfuscation”, “Disease, Injury, Madness” and “Fossil Genera” are unrelenting in their madness. Clocking in at increasing run times (10, 11 and 12 minutes respectively), each song drifts further from the band's roots than the last. “Obfuscation” would fit right in during the post-Alaska, pre-Colors period. Using their “Ad A Dglgmut” model, it toys with a comparatively simple 'soft-hard' dynamic. The album's best song, “Disease, Injury, Madness” does things a little differently. It still ultimately uses the same idea, going from smooth to harsh to smooth, but focuses on the execution, not the dynamic itself. It also ends on an excellent blues-y groove that could have succeeded uniquely as a track of its own. I've already mentioned “Fossil Genera”, but it's worth reiterating that it's as far from their metalcore beginnings as they could have gotten. Of course it begins by bordering on plagiarism, with Tommy doing his finest Patton impersonation and featuring an off-kilter, “Elton John goes to a metal circus” aesthetic, but it's still a lot of fun without coming across as a total joke.

While some of the band's lingering faults poke their heads in throughout the album's hour of power (derp), they're less of an issue than ever. There are fewer awkward, forced transitions than before (the only one that comes immediately to mind is what separates “Disease, Injury, Madness” and “Fossil Genera”) and each song works as well on its own as it does in the overall scheme of things. Tommy's vocals are better than ever; his throat doesn't sound like it's exploding when he goes harsh and his cleans aren't as robotic and post-processed as they've been in the past. There's also less of him than ever, something that should appease the sceptics. Blake finally learned some unique drum patterns for the heavier parts and, most importantly, each song finally feels like it has a distinct beginning, middle and end. Between the Buried and Me have refined their sound and improved their songwriting ten-fold, and while The Great Misdirect may not match The Silent Circus' raw energy and intensity, it might be their most coherent album yet.



Recent reviews by this author
Masked Intruder Masked IntruderAtheist Jupiter
Aeon Path of FireAdam Haworth Stephens We Live on Cliffs
Autopsy The Tomb WithinOrbs Asleep Next to Science
user ratings (2378)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyler
Emeritus
October 26th 2009



7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hey i posted it on the right album this time yay

Jom
Staff Reviewer
October 26th 2009



2670 Comments


flag'd

joshuatree
Emeritus
October 26th 2009



3743 Comments


***ing

Tyler
Emeritus
October 26th 2009



7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i donno how this ended up being so long

EasternLight
October 26th 2009



2700 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yes awesome. great job.
now we only need 1, 1.5, 2.5, 3, 5 reviews right?

Cesar
October 26th 2009



2732 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Alaska is my fav album of them, but at first listen I think this actually surpassed it, I'll be more certain after a few more listens. Great album.

joshuatree
Emeritus
October 26th 2009



3743 Comments


i really need to get this though

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
October 26th 2009



7326 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good review, i've only listened to this once but agree with most of this

Two-Headed Boy
October 26th 2009



4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

well, the breakdown is still there (and it still sounds the exact fucking same as it did on Colors)


Agreed, IMO the worst parts of the album.

This gets better with every spin.

Ghostechoes
October 26th 2009



1353 Comments


So there has to be a purpose, and every single album section must be driven by that purpose? Otherwise, they are just being unfocused show-offs?

Good review nonetheless.

fromtheinside
October 26th 2009



18097 Comments


i'm pretty disappointed to say the least, but on the flip side excellent review in the piles of thousands being put up.

Digging: Transcending Bizarre? - The Serpent's Manifolds

Tyler
Emeritus
October 26th 2009



7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So there has to be a purpose, and every single album section must be driven by that purpose? Otherwise, they are just being unfocused show-offs?

No, but when a section does nothing more than extend the run-time of a song that's already too long just to show off, it doesn't work. It doesn't do anything. It doesn't have to 'have a purpose' but it should at least fit within the song.

syco722
October 26th 2009



492 Comments


Great review, but I actually think swim to the moon is the best song on the album...
I happen to love solos and shredding. That's just me though!
pos'd

syco722
October 26th 2009



492 Comments


Oh apparently there isn't a pos button here...so nevermind

bloc
October 26th 2009



34780 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it's because he's staff; meaning he's automatically a great reviewer.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

DonCheadle
October 26th 2009



20 Comments


For most fans of the band, Colors was a landmark release. Alaska was, in a lot of ways, just another take on The Silent Circus. A shittier one, at that.
I stopped reading after that.

Tyler
Emeritus
October 26th 2009



7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Okay.

BallsToTheWall
October 26th 2009



44197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Stewart refrence FTW. Will get to this tomorrow if not tonight.

Digging: My Chemical Romance - Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge

poweroftheweez
October 26th 2009



1290 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

excellent review coke.

Waior
October 26th 2009



11451 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just out of curiosity, what were the biggest issues you had with Alaska?



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 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy