Review Summary: While not straying too far from the sound that BTBAM formed on "Colors", they still manage to make an extremely well done Metal album that continues to lead the band forward and establish them as one of the leaders of modern Metal.
In our modern day world of music many bands often strive to fit in with the generic cesspool of trends and "flavor of the week" bands. Many musical scenes have risen from the ashes of mediocrity and formed countless bands that have done nothing but conform to a certain sound and image. It's often a very sad sight to see how absolutely cluttered and generic the music industry has become, especially the Metal scene, which has been taken over by countless sub-genre's and copycat bands that make no effort at separating themselves from the pack. However, there are still many bands that incite hope for the overly cluttered Metal gene. Between The Buried and Me are one of the many modern day bands that actually strive to be different. Since their beginning, Between The Buried and Me have made a noticeable impact in the Metal scene. Often cited for their extremely eclectic mix of Death Metal, Hardcore, Jazz, Southern Rock, Groove, and just about anything else they can incorporate into their sound, they have caught the attention of many Metelheads, including the Metal elite who often scoff at bands who mix Hardcore into their sound. They are certainly a band who have caught quite a bit of attention over the last couple of years.
Over the course of their career, Between The Buried and Me have become increasingly more Progressive over the years. Their last release "Colors" was a prime example of their growth as a Progressive Metal band. With some songs that lasted over 14 minutes in length, it was apparent the bands biggest Progressive influences such as Dream Theater were starting to greatly impact their music. With "Colors", the bands sound morphed into a full on barrage of several different influences in their songs. "Colors" can often be considered the album that set the band apart and being the instrumental factor in establishing the bands signature sound.
With "Th Great Misdirect", things haven't really changed too much. As a matter of fact, the biggest letdown of "The Great Misdirect" is the fact that the sound hasn't changed too much from "Colors." Still, readers, don't take this the wrong way, "The Great Misdirect" is a fantastic album in every since of the word; however, it just doesn't make the impact that "Colors" made. Now that the band has established their signature sound, it just takes some tweaking, which is what "The Great Misdirect" is here to do: to refine the bands sound without making drastic changes. For this, the album succeeds greatly.
First off, the album starts out much like the intro to "Colors" with a very calm and serene song that sets the pace and starts the listener on the journey through the album. One thing that has always impressed me about BTBAM is their great transitions from very calm stuff to all out chaotic Death Metal, and the beginning of this album is just another reason why I really enjoy this bands writing style. It's extremely different in many ways, yet they still manage to draw the listener in. Many of the songs on "The Great Misdirect" have much more of a Progressive influence than the one's off of "Colors". I think, with this album, BTBAM have successfully injected more Prog influences into their sound. Often, their are breaks in the music that sound much like something I would here from Rush or Dream Theater, something that is quite impressive to hear from a modern day band.
Many of the songs on this album flow quite well and, of course, go through many different sections before coming to their inevitable conclusion. Like most of BTBAM's past music, there are many parts in the songs simply used to get the listener's attention and to incite the reaction of "What the f***?!" It's often easy to come across a Southern Ho Down section in BTBAM's music, something that was also used on the "Colors" album. One thing that the band has managed to do with this album is continue to toy with clean singing, which has been getting increasingly better with every album since "The Silent Circus." Tracks like "Disease, Injury, Madness" really show off the bands Progressive side and the clean singing of lead vocalist Tommy Rodgers, who continues to get better with every album.
Now, of course, the stand out of this album and the band itself is it's extremely talented musicians. Honestly, in years to come, this band will be looked back on as being extremely virtuosic in just about ever way possible. These guys are still really young and still have a long career ahead of them if they continue to play with the band. On "The Great Misdirect", much like "Colors", the instruments truly stand out. From Paul and Dusty's complicated riffs and fantastic solo's, to Blake's ridiculous drumming and Dan's technical bass playing, this band is absolutely astonishing on many levels. Over the years, the band has increasingly become more technical and found more room to allow their talent to shine, and this album is no different.
Overall, "The Great Misdirect" is a great album. It's truly a BTBAM album in every since of the word. Many people are disappointed that the album continues to sound much like a refined version of "Colors", but, honestly, that's exactly what it is. Really, can you say that's a bad thing? The band continues to grow, but slowly. I see this album simply as a very well done transition into the next chapter of BTBAM's evolution. If you are a Between The Buried and Me fan, I would definitely suggest this album if you haven't already checked this out. Still, I would suggest this album to just about any Metelhead willing to step out of their comfort zone and experience something extremely different.