Between the Buried and Me
Colors II


2.5
average

Review

by Robert Garland STAFF
August 23rd, 2021 | 1034 replies


Release Date: 08/20/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I can't see, I can't see, I'm going blind

Despite the almost fourteen years and five releases since this North Carolina main-stay released the original work of the same title, Between The Buried and Me have never been too far from public light, but Colours helped define the very sounds that would launch this little group to relevancy. One quick look at their discography showcases an expansive list and without reading too far into their titles (that’s not what we’re here for today), an otherworldly contextual landscape that may or may not be explored to its fullest capacity, yet Colours II does its dardenest to fit in with the rest. Colours II simply exists—a peripheral dot in a landscape of prominent guitar melodies and vocal hooks. Moments flash by in their own fashion detached from the wider critical responses (whether positive or negative) they’re likely to garner...but more likely dismiss—Colours II is meant to be much more than another auditory experience. The second chapter of Between The Buried and Me’s Colours II is decidedly reminiscent of the first. That was to be expected, but Colours II is a spectral [heh] analysis of the band itself, and a summary of the group’s detachment from their early days, even if it brings some measure of innovation to their sound. I use that term loosely, for we’ve all heard these features before—albeit in a more traditional, less gimmicked setting.

From here it’s a pretty digestible fact that Between The Buried and Me have always been ambitious. Looking back at their Automata series, it’s clear that there was a refinement of sound going on. Breakdowns were at an all time low and progressive jaunts were clearly front and centre. For these Carolinians, it was a chance to flex, especially considering both of those records were released in such close proximity. Here, much like the albums before it, BTBAM showed a tendency to move forwards, reinvent and expand on their roots. As we turn our attention back to the present we can expect a similar rate of compositional dexterity. Their take on metalcore’s more progressive climes has tip-toed a balancing act between compositional wonder stroke and unabridged whimsical left turns that pinch at the ribs, lacking the substance to be anything more. How seriously are we as listeners expected to take new BTBAM music? Are all the twaddle-pops and quirks seriously intended for dramatic effect, or rather an ill-suited attempt to knee-jerk the listener into brand investment? Regardless, there is value here; fleeting, sporadic, dug out of the recesses of a larger picture—extant like a star on the endless skies of night.

As we explore the beginning focal points of this hour-and-twenty-minute record, Between The Buried and Me’s more ear catching nuances provide instant gratification. “Monochrome’s” lighter keys provide a perfect light and dark dichotomy, a contrast of melody and groove meets the crash and bombast of thick metal riffs. While this sort of contrast is a staple in most music everywhere, there’s no denying that BTBAM have nailed its use over the course of the last two decades. Longtime front man Tommy Rogers’ vocals provide a dystopian air before the track itself kicks into a combination of gnarly riffs, growls and blast beats providing twists and turns such as the roller-coaster of a track, “The Double Helix of Extinction”. Rogers is on record for saying that Colours II is a “seamless and chaotic journey”—and like “The Double Helix of Extinction”, much of the record follows this train of thought. Circling back to the main point of this paragraph however; this album is long, requiring more focus than a casual listener would normally distribute, but that doesn’t detract from what Colours II would offer a more enthused, immersed listener. That aside, I do feel as if a more modest run time would increase the overall replay value of BTBAM’s latest musical escapade. At times, the music here is so forward on the mix and ultimately without restraint that it will take multiple listens to absorb.

In discussing the album’s larger ideology, Rogers tackles similar moods to those of the original a whole fourteen years ago (an impressive feat no matter which way you spin it); dancing between the cyber, retro and space themes that somehow relate to how we’re individually feeling in these often isolating and confusing times, vague references often added from the band’s roster. At face value, separating analysis away from the music itself, Colours II is a statement piece, larger than itself. Is it a big record? Even the run time says so. The lack of musical restraint confirms it.

Pre-release single “Fix The Error” would set the pace for what was to come. Not only did it feature three drum solos from some of metal’s more prestigious names (including ex-Dream Theater founder Mike Portnoy), the track itself ripped through a circus-led, retro video game, polka setting with zero regard for continuity or aesthetic—but it’s this summation (all within a five minute frame) that fully identifies the wacky/wonderful world in which Colours II is set. BTBAM’s music would be dense if not varied. Quirks escalate circa “Prehistory” and over the top antics run amuck on what would otherwise be a short and snappy track—and easily trimmed off the entire run-time for a more comprehensive listen. Longer mainstays like “Never Seen / Future Shock” are a metalhead’s dream. Chances are there are albums within this generation doing what the likes of Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer did throughout the nineties and as much as I can applaud the picking up of instruments everywhere, I can’t help but feel that Colours II is too much a “wall spaghetti” example, too full on and less expressive than it is gimmick and not at all influential on the point in this sentence.

Rather than go into detail, vivid, agonising detail on just how parts of this record detract from its better moments there is a sweeping, all-encompassing descriptor that sums up how this record makes me feel. It’s too much. As much as I enjoy the solid starts a la “Monochrome” and “The Double Helix of Extinction” there’s a lot of filler and needless over indulgence in the form of gimmick. “Fix The Error” might be an initial blast, but it’s a jovial setting that just inserts ‘weirdness’ for the sake of it. “Prehistory” has already been cleared for culling, moving Colours II to a more digestible length. “Bad Habits” may have been the good egg in the dozen, but even as the track launches itself at stardom, the eight minute run towards the album’s climax is marred by the stumble and trip of “Turbulent” and “Sfumato” and as such, the massive “Human Is Hell (Another One With Love)” is somewhat exhaustive, having its energy squandered by the tracks before it.

Readers will disagree. Fans will call out “blasphemy”, but Between The Buried and Me’s latest is so far up the wall (balls n’ all), it’s hard to make out exactly what part of the record you’re listening to. Everything and nothing sticks. Does Colours II bang? Does it appeal? The answer is yes, but I’m so numb as every note, riff and vocal stanza floats in one ear and out the other. Trust me, I want to believe. I want to be wrong. I’d love to be caught up in the hype but Colours II just ain’t it.



Recent reviews by this author
Trivium In the Court of the DragonCognizance Upheaval
Rivers of Nihil The WorkSpiritbox Eternal Blue
Eunuchs The Castration of GodsAntediluvian The Divine Punishment
user ratings (483)
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Brendan Schroer CONTRIBUTOR (3.5)
All the amazing chops and excellent riffs of the original, just without the same emotional weight an...

Scheumke (4.5)
Reliving the heydays...

theblacklodge (3)
Pretty fancy....



Comments:Add a Comment 
Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
August 23rd 2021


15237 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Will bump my rating .1 depending on how much salt Gyro gives me.



Let the fist-fights begin.

Tundra
August 23rd 2021


6489 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I expected a 4.5 and 5 review before a 3 and 2.5 review lmao

Digging: Owane & Jack Gardiner - Chapter One: Shredemption

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
August 23rd 2021


15237 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I don't know what to tell you about your expectations.

DivergentThinking
Contributing Reviewer
August 23rd 2021


11633 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Nice review!



Just one thing I noticed in the first paragraph:



"Colours II simply [/i]exists[/i]—a peripheral dot in a landscape of prominent guitar melodies and vocal hooks."



Might wanna edit those italics :]

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
August 23rd 2021


15237 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

*Bork Bork

Tundra
August 23rd 2021


6489 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I like this take! and I agree with a lot of it. The album has grown on me a bit since my first listen, I love most of the first half but the second half absolutely stumbles. Prehistory gets a pass for me cause of the bass solo near the end, Turbulent and Sfumato absolutely squander the energy building up to Human Is Hell. Unfortunately creating a redacted version of this album is nigh impossible thanks to the songs bleeding into each other, so that really really sucks honestly.

Parallels
August 23rd 2021


9621 Comments


Incoming tidal wave of defensive fans in 3 ..2...

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
August 23rd 2021


15237 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

*cricket noises*





Nope, didn't work.

Tundra
August 23rd 2021


6489 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Nevermind this redacted version actually works, transition from Bad Habits to Human Is Hell is actually pretty cool

1. Monochrome

2. Double Helix

3. Limbo

4. Error

5. Never Seen

6. Abyss

7. Prehistory

8. Bad Habits

9. Human Is Hell

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5J9t6EUKEyIVY4YPasrPiO?si=cnIQYn-vQtS9o7dnPd9KEg&utm_source=copy-link&dl_branch=1

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
August 23rd 2021


3449 Comments


bless you for sticking to coloUrs throughout the review

Digging: A Ritual Sea - A Ritual Sea

Tundra
August 23rd 2021


6489 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Colours fuck yeah. Europeans rise up! m///

Shemson
August 23rd 2021


2044 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I too can’t bear writing anything but Colours

Listening to this for the first time but I think this review resonates with me. Super talented musicians doing very impressive things but I’m not feeling it - whatever that means.

Tommy used to have emotion in his voice, think the end of Mordecai, but now it’s just there and even though he’s better at hitting the correct notes I don’t feel anything when he does

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
August 23rd 2021


15237 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

bless you for sticking to coloUrs throughout the review





Yeah, I didn't want to be weird or anything.

KrillBoi
August 23rd 2021


49 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

The average vs. the two live reviews is certainly an interesting contrast haha. This album won't convert anyone but it is everything I hoped it would be and then some.

Digging: Vildhjarta - Msstaden Under Vatten

Toondude10
August 23rd 2021


14669 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

How can I neg a staff review?

Digging: Trivium - In the Court of the Dragon

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
August 23rd 2021


15237 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Easy. Just follow this link:



https://www.sputnikmusic.com/logout.php

Tundra
August 23rd 2021


6489 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

the soft section in Human Is Hell reminds me of the soft section in Nightmare to Remember by Dream Theater

Shemson
August 23rd 2021


2044 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

God what is the point of Prehistory, awful.



Interesting you mention DT Tundra, I thought Tommy sounded weirdly like La Brie on one of the first track’s choruses, I think it was the end of Revolution In Limbo

Titan
August 23rd 2021


23000 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I mean lets be real here Robert, you wanted to get a review out on an immensely trending album right now, and that's exactly how this review reads. Extremely well written for sure, but doesn't go anywhere.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
August 23rd 2021


15237 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Kind of like this album....





Ha. Jokes aside, this wasn't my dib but I did put my hand up from the staff camp to get the this album [at the very least] covered. There's two guys that have priority over this. If they show up for it...well that's in the hands of the BTBAM gods.



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 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy