Between The Buried And Me(2004)
Released thru Victory Records
At the time of recording, BTBAM are:
Total Running Time - 48:29
Seldom do bands garner much respect not only from the hardcore/metalcore crowd, but also from metal fans as well, and in such a short period of time at that. Between The Buried And Me manage to pull this feat off by standing tall in the midst of a lot of cookie-cutter bands emerging in the scene nowadays by brandishing their signature sound that impressively amalgamates the progressiveness of metal and hardcore sub-genres. They toured restlessly in the whole of North America and played with numerous bands, had a lot of lineup changes for the past couple of years, and all this success acheived even without mainstream approval. And this album, recorded in a basement, is the fruit of their hard labor.
As mentioned, they infuse a lot of scattered genres throughout the record. Heavy doses of hardcore, metalcore(although a bit too heavy to be classified as such) and metal here and there, with sprinkles of death metal occasionally, and even hints of grind, jazz and emo are prevalent. They do it with such grace and technicality, that the transitions are executed almost flawlessly.
Another thing to note is the framework of the songs, which have little, or no predictable structure at all. There must be so many time signature, vocal, and melody changes in the tracks that it's very rare that you'll hear one part last for more than 30 seconds, and they have an average length of 5-7 minutes each. It's fascinating to listen to the brutality, then shifts to being docile and suppressed just a few seconds later. This is a plus side on the longevity of the album, as it takes some considerable time to fully digest all of the songs, adding more fun factor to the listening pleasure. Chaos is one thing, and this album thrives on it, and dishing it out in generous doses.
The band is comprised of comprised of very talented musicians, every instrument(and the vocals) blend perfectly in each of the compositions. Both the guitars are exceptional, with all that shredding, they leave no section sound "hollow" or lacking. A lot of people love Tommy's voice too, and no wonder, as he screams, growls and yells emphatically, not to mention his, along with the backup's, beautiful singing voice. It allows a lot more texture and emotional impact to delve through the songs, and the result is very nice indeed. The drummer, I feel, is a bit overlooked. His grind/death metal style is just awesome, as he is the dictator of the tempo of the song, with countless double-pedal blasts.
"Only 8 measly tracks"!" you might say, but every song is consistent in bringing the good stuff, and will almost surely satisfy you with every listen. More of Myself to Kill
starts the frenzy, and bashes to your skull a concrete idea of what BTBAM sounds like if you haven't listened to them already. As with the others, 'tis a fast and wild roller coaster ride that welcomes you to their S/T, it first showcases the ability of the band to throw its listeners off balance with the many flow changes it has. Tommy's voice is highlighted 2 minutes in this 7 minute monster, when his emotional wails fill in with the quiet guitars. Arsonist
comes up next, this mainly angry song is significant to the band I guess, as it stabs on the discrimination of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas on homosexuals. "Fu
ck your god, your god of shi
t, he exclaims. Cool riffs on it too. If you haven't heard Mordecai yet, you'll most probably lean to Aspirations
as a good introduction to BTBAM, as it's very catchy in many ways and has the most melodic parts; it's easy to get into. It has a soaring solo at 1:33 that gets me every time; pure ear candy I say. The backup vocalist even does a short King Diamond segment. Sweet. Fire for a Dry Mouth
starts mosh-friendly, then uncannily sounds like ( :eek: ) Opeth, and this isn't the only song that has resemblances, and it ends nicely, transforming into.. Naked by the Computer
; it begins very softly, very classical-esque, and it sounds like some kind of an intermission to the record's ear-pummelling. It eventually turns into a ballad, then shifts into frantic mode soon after. My favorite song right now is Use of a Weapon
. It's a very well-rounded song, just the right amount of technicality, catchy hooks, chug-chugs, and melodic parts. Nice lines too: "We will know there is something to live and die for, and we will know every breath to be free." The last track, Shevanel Cut a Flip
is a bit different from the band's approach on the others, though it starts heavy enough. The turning point is somewhere in the first few minutes, when it abrupts into a jazzy atmosphere and the band members mimic a situation in a cafe' by talking casually. Quite clever, I should say. It's a 9 minute "epic", it gets pretty melodic and resonant by the 4 minute mark, and I vaguely imagine cowboys slowly riding in the sunset. A good way to end a fantastic debut.
I can find very few faults in BTBAM
, but I guess some would be that it's a bit hard to tell some songs apart, especially in the intense moments, if not for the short, pleasant breaks that makes them unique. Not being a patient listener can be a drawback too, as you'll be left hanging if you skip the longer tracks often. Some riffs also sound like " I think I've heard this one in another song", and will be a bit repetitive if you don't pay attention to the small subtleties.
..Otherwise, this is one outstanding debut from a tight, tight band. Between The Buried And Me, we salute you.