Between the Buried and Me
Automata II


4.0
excellent

Review

by Insurrection CONTRIBUTOR (113 Reviews)
July 15th, 2018 | 158 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Musically adventurous, technically superb.

After a four-month gap, Between the Buried and Me have returned with the second half of their double-album Automata. Much like Part I, it’s a refinement of the style they’ve been pursuing since The Great Misdirect. This time, ‘70s prog influences take center stage, pushing metalcore to the side almost entirely (there’s not a single traditional breakdown on the album), and it’s largely to the band’s benefit. BtBaM’s penchant for experimentation has always been their greatest asset, and on Automata II especially, it feels like that experimentation has solidified itself into part of the progressive mold. There’s no longer a sense of “the polka part” or “the circus part” in songs that are comparatively grounded. Now, every song has direction and purpose, and it just so happens that they’re also musically excellent.

Automata II begins with “The Proverbial Bellow”, a 13-minute long prog extravaganza, pure and simple. It plays like a cross between Dream Theater and Pink Floyd, fit with off-kilter melodic riffs, soothing synth sections, tight instrumentation, and a simple, tender chorus that serves as the foundation for an otherwise structurally chaotic song. It’s not too over-the-top either, so even casual listeners may be inclined to stay on course until the end. “Glide” is the token Mr. Bungle homage, though it functions as little more than a glorified intro to “Voice of Trespass”. It could have worked well as a fleshed out, “Bloom”-esque silly track, but at a mere 2 minutes, it’s simply too short to gain any momentum.

“Voice of Trespass” is the clear standout here. It’s BtBaM doing their best big band impression, horns and all, through a heavy metal filter, and it works wonderfully. It features jazz staples such as a swing beat, a walking bass line, and a brief solo-jam session of every member trading fours with Tommy scatting in between like a drunken stage performer – it’s a blast. Then four minutes into the song, it shifts gears to a darker, brooding atmosphere before building to a grandiose climax. While it’s not their smoothest transition, both halves of the track are terrific in their own right and epitomize everything that makes BtBaM great. Finally, “The Grid” calmly wraps up the 33-minute journey with a neat bow, though it probably won’t go down as one of the band’s best closers.

Overall, Automata accomplishes exactly what it sets out to. BtBaM continues to do their own thing, trekking along the progressive route and learning some lessons on the way. A minor complaint would be that this doesn’t quite hold up as a single album. Unlike Part I, which had some semblance of finality despite “Blot”’s abrupt ending, Automata II relies heavily on the first half to prop it up. Even at face value, this is a technically superb, musically adventurous release from a band known for technically superb, musically adventurous releases. If you’re a prog fan jonesing for a fix, Automata will surely fill that void.



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user ratings (139)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
July 15th 2018


24557 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

tried to avoid a track-by-track but there wasn't much else to say





The Proverbial Bellow - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7W8u1IFK7Y8



Voice of Trespass - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DCptBJ3EZ4

FearThyEvil
July 15th 2018


15667 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I'm pretty hesitant as I've not enjoyed the new direction BTBAM has been going in with each new album for quite awhile.

Digging: Rolo Tomassi - Grievances

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
July 15th 2018


24557 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i’d say give voice of trespass a shot at least. this is their most jazzy album i think

zaruyache
July 15th 2018


19198 Comments


is this the new opeth

Digging: Pale - EP

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
July 15th 2018


14444 Comments


was hoping you were going to review this. nice read man, suffice it to say I probably won't check this out though.

SitarHero
July 15th 2018


6721 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Automata I didn't make much of an impression on me, but I'm loving this one. It manages to be experimental and diverse without being jarring. Definitely my favorite release since parallax 2.

SitarHero
July 15th 2018


6721 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"is this the new opeth"



This is the new opeth from when opeth were good.

TundraL5Z
July 15th 2018


1484 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Btbam are on a solid run of great records for a while, similar to Opeth, Coma Ecliptic is the sore thumb in their discography where a lot say its alright and a lot say its a boring listen, but to me, btbam are still on their "Opeth" run, but there are some hints of losing steam, Automata would ultimately come in pretty low in my ranking, i think its an OK btbam album, nothing more, nothing less

Digging: Covet - effloresce

Casavir
July 15th 2018


1064 Comments


Some of this reminds me of a less impressive Haken, to be honest.

DoofDoof
July 15th 2018


184 Comments


Might give this an automatic 2 out of 5 rating

Or it might just be another automatic 1

SowingSeason
Moderator
July 15th 2018


26969 Comments


Good review. I never really got into these guys but I liked what I heard from this. Still, if I'm going to start I should go back to Colors.

Digging: Collections Of Colonies Of Bees - HAWAII

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
July 15th 2018


13963 Comments


voice of trespass is horrendous so far

Digging: Radiohead - The Bends

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
July 15th 2018


24557 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it’s hard to say where the best place to start with them is. colors is a safe bet for sure. imo TGM and PII are their prog highlights but they’re both variations on the sound established on colors. maybe go as far back as the silent circus if you’re a metalcore fan

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
July 15th 2018


24557 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol voice of trespass was off putting at first but it grew on me quickly

thanks for the feature!

parksungjoon
July 15th 2018


7827 Comments


"is this the new opeth"

u ever hear of the album Colors?

TundraL5Z
July 15th 2018


1484 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

PII was the first album i heard from the band, along with PI, and its said that the album that interests into the band in the first place will be your favorite from the band youre trying to get into, and thats why Parallax is hands down my favorite project from them, i also got into Opeth REALLY late and my first album i listened to by them was Sorceress... and i have soft spot for that album because of that...

Gyromania
July 15th 2018


25358 Comments


This is pretty awful. Convinced these guys just can't make a good album.

Thrust!
July 15th 2018


3524 Comments


Nice review. I will have to check this out today.

Digging: Vektor - Terminal Redux

Asura14
July 15th 2018


43 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I'd listen to this as an instrumental only release

Digging: Night Verses - From the Gallery of Sleep

Voltimand
July 15th 2018


810 Comments


Sounds like Dream Theater meets Haken meets Porcupine tree, but in a good way.

Digging: Tides of Man - Every Nothing



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