Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Between The Buried And Me - Colors CD (album) cover


Between The Buried And Me


Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.11 | 463 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
5 stars Ok, I'll admit this first off the bat; I discovered BTBAM through Guitar Hero thanks to "Prequel To The Sequel", so according to some people that means I'm not a diehard fan.

Since then, though, I decided to actually buy (buy! when we can just torrent!) all their albums since and will also do so for Coma Elliptic when that is released soon.

Now, I am a fan of some pretty heavy metal. Steel and iron, for two, say. But if it ain't got some melody, unusual shape or form, electronics or epic symphonic strings and choir, or doesn't tell a story, count me out. That means you, Cannibal Corpse.

But BTBAM was different. Even in Alaska, you could just tell that wanted to go bigger. They wanted to tell stories, explore melodically and technically. They wanted to do something no one else had ever done before.

And dear god did they get the recipe right with this.

Looking back on this album now, at times it seems a bit one dimensional compared to their later offerings, but their execution was no less than spectacular. "The Backtrack" provides a nice soft opening which leads to a blistering opening in "The Decades Of Statues". Even though The Great Misdirect and the Parallax discs have a bit more of a sophisticated structure (for lack of a better term), "Colors" still is one of their heaviest offerings. Right away, though, I feel a little bit of disappointment in Tommy Rogers' vocal work. It seems very minimalistic, more of a hypnotized drone than real singing or crooning which he flexes in later albums, which is a shame, because their cover album "The Anatomy Of One" proved he does have some golden pipe chops.

Oh yeah, I got off track. Long story short, "Decades Of Statues" is a fucking bludgeoning sledgehammer.

But then "Informal Gluttony" rings in with a gong and some sort of tribal ritual drum and chant kinda stuff. Once the main theme of this song kicks in, then you realize this is no ordinary album. Time signatures are getting mashed, chords are going all freaky like, and Blake Richardson puts on one of the most fantastic chop tracks I've ever heard out of a drummer (and his setup isn't as outlandish as you might think for a metal drummer, he only uses about 4-5 toms.) And after another fine fill, "Sun of Nothing" introduces to us a now familiar staple of their repertoire, a long double-digit track with short introductory heavy section, then a longer softer section, followed by a reprise of the heavier section to close out the track. By "Future Sequence", it becomes predictable, but still nevertheless enjoyable.

This track also gives our first taste of their wacky side roughly 3 and a half minutes, with Richardson rocking out a jazz riff, vocal rhythmic stuff and is that a chorus of laughing babies in the background?

Before long though, the heavy breakout returns and the W&W of metal (Waggoner and Waring) introduces us to the nice happy theme in the middle, before it disappears again under another sheet of BRUTAL. And then BTBAM takes another 360 degree turn to some nice acoustic riffs followed by a very Latin-y drum groove, before Rogers introduces us to the "floating towards the Sun of Nothing" chorus, and then after a big melodic chorus, the screaming returns right behind frankly one of the juiciest melodic licks and phrases I've ever heard, building tension behind another amazing Richardson fill right before "Ants Of The Sky", where the actions literally doesn't take a break, and keeps right on chugging along. Between these two songs, I first heard just how well you could integrate huge heavy phrases between segments of beautifully orchestrated arpeggiated 7th and 9th chords. Then the nice waltzy theme of Ants comes in right before the instrumental breakdown with Rogers rocking the rock organ sound.

Honestly though, "Ants Of The Sky" is one of my favorite BTBAM tracks ever. It just flows so beautifully together like a giant finished puzzle piece, even the section where it flows into the obviously-not-Pink-Floyd-influenced-guitar spot and the rock organ power chords laying down the back beat. Clearly though, before this, technical mastery of multiple genres in a single track was possible, and was done, but just not this smoothly, this elegantly, dare I say. There's even an odd sort of neo-classicism in the high, melodic guitar licks as well. Very structured and ordered. Same as "Sun", in the middle the heavy stuff gives way to a softer buildup with Richardson on the toms, and Rogers crooning possibly the best melody on the disc behind some quite epic power chords. Hands down one of, if not the best track on the album. It really feels like a Shakespearean epic, where the big climax is in the middle of the story.

And of course no epic track can be complete without an homage to an old west bar/saloon with crashing bottles and a nice little acoustic solo, right before the Ants theme returns in epic, happy-mode fashion, which of course segues into the peoples favorite, "Prequel To The Sequel".

Of course, I'm a sucker for that intro melody, was and probably always will be. It's a unique melody, one that can't, and never will be duplicated, which is why it will always be one of the best ever, and what separates good bands from the great bands. Oddly enough, though, this song seems to stray a bit from the norm, as after that main melody plays, it's straight up onslaught from there on out. Although I really like that chugging buildup that ends the track on the Guitar Hero section, I still feel that it's out of place, and kinda feels cut-and-paste when the weird, pirate-y accordion section kicks in.

Also, I still can't figure out who screams at this last section. It's obviously someone else because Rogers is also the typical screamer correct? The sharp contrast behind his typical growling and this high pitched shriek is actually brilliantly done in the closing breakdown, before the song's 2nd theme returns in another cut-and-paste feel again. Perhaps that's why this song never caught onto me like it did everyone else.

Lastly, the obligatory soft (interlude?) "Viridian" resets the table for quite an epic climax in "White Walls", my 2nd favorite off the album. Once again, it's structured in that heavy-soft-heavy format that's become a staple of their repertoire now, as variations on the track's theme recur throughout, before the soft section comes in and Rogers' monotone recital during the buildup is absolutely chilling. Everything about the tempo, the chords, the singing, the melody, the overlapping harmonies, is simply perfectly timed. Something about this section before the growls and the break come in is just mesmerizing, undoubtedly the sound of what a climax to an epic album should sound like. And one last breakdown, a big (roughly) 3 minute finale rings out in true rock star fashion before it all fades to black and Rogers on the keys returns to finish where the album started.

Now, to sum up the album as a whole piece. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. There are parts in the composition that just sound like they would've worked off better in the head then it does through the ears. Frankly though, that's just a small minor detail in the larger cog of this album. What this album represents is something much greater than the sum of its parts. This is the definitive album that shows that melody and technicality can live together in a crazy progressive, death metal smoothie of some kind. Sure, other bands have been doing this for years before, but none have sounded quite as smoothly as when BTBAM recorded "Colors. Sure, listening like Cynic or Electrocution 250 was quite ear-opening, but BTBAM did something amazing, something that no other band has done before or done since, really.

It just... sounded right together.

When dabbling into the world of progressive music, there are undoubtedly moments in time where you hear a phrase and while praising the audacity to perform it, you also think "Gee, that, could've sounded much better". Even though there were some cut-and-paste moments in this album, it was also transparent, so much so that it felt like it was exaggerated so much to the point of sheer idiocy (the laughing babies section in "Sun", for example).

Nevertheless, it established something crucial for BTBAM that they strived for years; an actual identity. BTBAM actually kinda sotra hit the mainstream with "Colors" (which is why I heard it on Guitar Hero, or was it Rock Band? I forget). It almost defies logic; "You can't go mainstream with a concept album that's essentially one hour-long song!"

And yet somehow they did it. And their experience in making Colors has gone on to help refine that strategy to produce The Great Misdirect, Parallax 1 & 2 and Coma Elliptic (which I REALLY hope isn't a more conservative approach to their style, Parallax II is the shit).

So if you really think more techy-prog metal isn't right for you, try cracking into "Ants Of The Sky", "White Walls" or "Obfuscation" off the Great Misdirect. You just might find that a nice blend of melody and brutally might just wear off on you. It did me, and it took nearly 5 listens of "Colors" in its entirety before I was completely sold on the band. Every time you listen to BTBAM you discover something new.

Honestly this album was a game-changer. Someone send to a metal hall of fame or something!

Wicket | 5/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password


Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.