Showing posts with label between the buried and me. Show all posts
Showing posts with label between the buried and me. Show all posts

Monday, July 16, 2018

video review: 'automata i & ii' by between the buried and me

I keep thinking that this review is going to wind up more controversial than it probably will be... eh, still interesting enough to talk about, I guess.

Next up, hopefully a quiet week of Billboard BREAKDOWN and whatever else will show up this summer - enjoy!

album review: 'automata i & ii' by between the buried and me

So I've made it no secret that I don't tend to be a huge fan of death metal, especially once we get to the more technical, punishing territory, but I've always had one big asterisk in that category and that was Between The Buried And Me. As I've said before, I got into the band in university, and while the wild tonal shifts and overall presentation took a while to grow on me, I still stand up for Colors and Alaska to this day.

And yet a bizarre parallel to Opeth, as Between The Buried And Me shelves more of their heavier side for progressive tendencies, I've tended to like them a lot less, as those shifts seem to have come at the cost of smart mix balance, intensity, and with the addition of synthesizer tones I don't think anybody wanted. And I can't tell you how aggressive irritating that is, because it's clear that Between The Buried And Me is trying to get more experimental and incorporating a richer cross-section of sounds and progressions, but more often than not those sounds wind up not complimenting the compositions nearly as well as they should. And I'll say it: I was probably too nice to their 2015 record Coma Ecliptic when I reviewed it formally, because while it was not a bad record, it was absolutely a measurable step from the band at their best and really has not been anything I've wanted to revisit

And I'll be blunt and say I had big concerns about this project too: a double album, the first half released in early March of this year with the second coming out now, and while I've never liked it when bands pull this release strategy for double albums, it did give me some forewarning that Automata might be a bit of a mess, especially with some of the wilder rumors I had heard about the second half. But hey, maybe Coma Ecliptic was transitional and they'd stick the landing here, right?

Monday, July 13, 2015

video review: 'coma ecliptic' by between the buried and me

So that happened. Honestly hoped it'd be a little better, but eh, it happens.

Next up, well, I was originally going to cover Years & Years, but expect schedules to change...

album review: 'coma ecliptic' by between the buried and me

Oh, I bet there's a whole slew of you that are surprised I'm covering this. 

See, I'll admit that I don't cover a ton of metal outside of a few specific genres, most notably towards the progressive or symphonic side. So my choice to talk about a group that has crossed plenty of genres but probably falls closest to technical death metal probably raises a few eyebrows.

Well, funny story: I got into Between The Buried And Me in university, basically on a couple suggestions that I should check out Alaska and Colors because they were genre-bending masterpieces. But unlike an act like Cynic or Devin Townsend where I immediately found a lot to like, Between The Buried And Me took a fair bit longer to really gel with me - mostly because they're a complicated band known for dramatic switch-ups midsong in tone, tempo, or even genre that could be jarring as hell. I could appreciate the killer musicianship and some underrated and clever songwriting, but finding cohesive songs was a little trickier, especially on their first two releases. But once they had a stable line-up, solidified their sound, and worked out a more cohesive flow, they had the one-two punch of Alaska and Colors. And while I liked Alaska, I goddamn loved Colors - a phenomenally cohesive, strikingly memorable, and powerfully evocative record that grows on me with every listen.

But after those two... well, I did like The Great Misdirect, but I was also getting the impression that the genre-crossing was starting to come at the steep price of cohesion, especially when the writing couldn't always bridge the gap. The album had only six songs, but several went over ten minutes and had enough ideas for a good four tracks apiece. There was a little more focus on the The Parallax records, an EP and full-length released in 2011 and 2012, but the more I listened through them, the more I saw the cohesion just not there as much as it was at their best, and the integration of more keyboards and more electronic segments in their production oddly didn't help. But hey, they were on a new label at this point, maybe their newest album, another concept record, might be able to recapture that old magic. So I checked out Coma Ecliptic: did it pay off?