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BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • United States


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Between The Buried And Me picture
Between The Buried And Me biography
Originally formed in 2000 by members of Prayer For Cleansing, Between the Buried and Me play an unpredictable combination of countless styles, generally centering around an extremely complex variety of metalcore with death metal influences. Their constantly shifting song structures and tight musicianship have combined with intense agression and remarkable variety to gain them a noteworthy following. Their style of extreme metal was introduced on their debut album in 2002 and began to gain increased attention with 2003's The Silent Circus. The aftermath of this release saw drastic lineup shifts in the band, with only vocalist/keyboardist Tommy Rogers and guitarist Paul Waggoner remaining from their previous lineup. The group's new cast of musicians included Glass Casket guitarist Dusty Warring and drummer Blake Richardson, as well as bassist Dan Briggs, recording and releasing Alaska in 2005 to critical acclaim.

In 2006, the band released an album comprising of bands that influenced Between the Buried and Me.

Their 2007 release, Colors, was also released to much critical acclaim and saw most of the metalcore/hardcore influence in their sound done away with.

The band also released their first ever DVD in 2008, Colors_Live, a live DVD featuring the whole of the album Colors played from beginning to end.



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Discography:
Between the Buried and Me, studio album (2002)
The Silent Circus, studio album (2003)
Alaska, studio album (2005)
The Anatomy Of... (2006)
Colors, studio album (2007)
The Great Misdirect, studio album (2009)

Between The Buried And Me official website

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BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.89 | 61 ratings
Between the Buried and Me
2002
3.64 | 83 ratings
The Silent Circus
2003
3.60 | 119 ratings
Alaska
2005
2.86 | 58 ratings
The Anatomy Of...
2006
4.02 | 333 ratings
Colors
2007
4.03 | 249 ratings
The Great Misdirect
2009
4.18 | 226 ratings
The Parallax II: Future Sequence
2012
3.95 | 229 ratings
Coma Ecliptic
2015

BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.36 | 39 ratings
Colors LIVE
2008
3.67 | 9 ratings
Future Sequence: Live at the Fidelitorium
2014

BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 5 ratings
Best Of
2011

BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Demo
2001
3.82 | 81 ratings
The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues
2011

BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Alaska by BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.60 | 119 ratings

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Alaska
Between The Buried And Me Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars After "The Silent Circus" there was a mass exodus of band members leaving only Tommy Rogers (vocals and keys) and Paul Waggoner (guitars) as original members. On ALASKA the third release of BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME, Dan Briggs replaced Jason King on bass, Dustie Waring replaced Nick Fletcher on rhythm guitar and Blake Richardson replaced Mark Castillo on drums which would remain the permanent lineup up to the present. While three of the five members are new to the club, i can't say that there is a substantial change between this album and the last. ALASKA is very much in the style of the two preceding albums with only the ratio of ingredients being shifted around randomly.

The first thing that's noticeable is that BTBAM are back to putting emphasis on the metalcore elements with their signature progressive magical touches changing things up on a regular basis. While this album pretty much has the same ingredients as the last, there is substantial less sidetracking into totally non-metal genres and the progressive rock, space rock and alternative metal parts play more minor roles. It seems that the band wanted to make the statement that despite 3/5 of the band being newbies that they were intent prove they were keeping the hardcore principles that were laid down in the beginning intact and that the new members had to prove themselves as metalcore behemoths with relentless intensity.

While not much included on ALASKA manages to distinguish it from the previous two albums, there are a few elements that stand out. There are moments of electronica, post-rock (on the short but sweet instrumental track "Breathe In, Breathe Out") and the finale "Laser Speed" is an instrumental Brazilian bossa nova / samba track that sounds absolutely like nothing else on the album. Overall there isn't anything new on this one to reel in any fans who weren't captivated by the first two albums but if you dug those two then this one is a decent followup and somewhat of a bridge between "The Silent Circus" and "Colors" in that it does manage to refine the disparate elements in a somewhat more organized fashion but more often than not this is an extreme metal earache inducing monster fusing metalcore with tech death, alt and prog metal.

 The Silent Circus by BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.64 | 83 ratings

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The Silent Circus
Between The Buried And Me Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Although their debut album was already a very progressive form of metalcore, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME really upped their game on their second release THE SILENT CIRCUS. Part of this was in the drumming duty exchange of percussionists as Will Goodyear parted ways and Mark Castillo joined the noisefest, but the biggest change is in the inclusion of various other metal and non-metal styles to the mix. On this one there are unexpected outbursts of all types of bizarre contrasting genres that can last for a few seconds (like marching band drumming) or go off into a whole lengthy sequence (such as atmospheric indie rock). If that wasn't enough the music just seems more extreme and the songwriting is better as well although i personally find the debut eponymous release to be of fairly high quality in the songwriting as well, it's just that the band managed to find new ways to spice up the music and make the tracks stand on their own unlike the debut where the formula became a tad repetitive by the time the end neared.

This is the typically progressive metalcore that BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME delivers on all their earlier albums but with more weirdness than the debut. There are moments of extreme metal riffs that have the most messed up time sigs possible, moments of the bass slinking up and down the scales like a possessed caterpillar from hell and Tommy Rogers screams like an alien is bursting out of his stomach. This is really as extreme as this type of metal can get and that's exactly why i like it so much! While upon first listen this may sound like the typical metalcore with a few tricks and gimmicky trinkets thrown in for good measure, the band manages to create a huge variety of riff attacks, bass lines, drum rolls and screaming frenzies with various genre hopping escapes into clean vocal alternative metal, atmospheric space prog reminding me a bit of Porcupine Tree with bluesy melodic guitar solos and then can hop, skip and jump into extreme mathcore such as by headache masters Psyopus.

A giant leap in their technique proved BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME weren't just your run of the mill extreme metal band. They display all the fury and energetic prowess of the most hardcore bands in the biz but they equally show off their love of progressive rock and pull it off with ease, both in playing the prog and metal simultaneously and apart. All these meanderings keep the album from getting stale and one dimensional throughout the entire ten tracks. While the tracks can seem jittery and ever changing, the final track "The Need For Repetition" offers a nice groove metal type of riff that repeats and casts a hypnotic spell. One of the things i dislike about this album is that it has one of those annoying pointless hidden tracks after track ten and several minutes of silence which is basically just a rant with some thrash metal and a guitar solo backing up the riffs. Not as good as later albums like "Colors" but still an excellent album for those who like their metalcore decorated with nice proggy frosting.

 Between the Buried and Me by BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME album cover Studio Album, 2002
2.89 | 61 ratings

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Between the Buried and Me
Between The Buried And Me Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars BETWEEN THE BURIED ME formed in the year 2000 from the ashes of the metalcore band Prayer For Cleansing which focused on combining punk and melodic death metal. Three of the members: lead guitarist Paul Waggoner, drummer Will Goodyear and vocalist / keyboardist Tommy Rogers decided to carry on that band's hardcore sound and introduce progressive elements to the mix. In case you're wondering where they got their new strange name, it actually comes from the lyrics of the Counting Crows track "Ghost Train," a folk band from whom they would borrow some influence in the slower subdued parts between their hardcore bombast. After real easing a 3-track demo in 2001 (which were all re-recorded and released here), BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME was showing promise early and scored the interest of Lifeforce Records and released their debut eponymous album in 2002.

This band meant business from the very start and delivers a more than competent album of progressive extreme metal that emphasizes metalcore as it root base but adds healthy doses of deathcore, folky subdued interludes all decorated with layers of progressive metal in the mix. The technical wizardry comes not only in the form of numerous innovative time signature plays between the musicians but also in the long drawn out sometimes overlong song structures. True to extreme metal Rogers' vocals range from death metal growls to punk shouting and extreme core vocal abuses. While the moshpit inducing music mainly remains on full flame, the band has the uncanny ability to suddenly transport the listener into serene space rock with a thick atmospheric fog, arpeggiated hypnotic effects and soothing soft clean vocals with a tinge of contemporary folk.

The result of this hybridism yields an impressive debut that displays some sophisticated technical wizardry and a nice parade of ideas that come and go creating a bona fide progressive metal experience that doesn't sound even a tiny bit like Dream Theater! While the core aspects dominate with the mosh inducing breakdowns and gut wrenching guitar distortion played as loud and ugly as humanly possible, the progressive metal aspects develop the music by constantly changing gears by letting riffs unfold naturally and then moving on to another musical development. Between the ever changing riffs that offer various amounts of melodic and dissonant ingredients trading off or blending at any given moment, the music has an overall catchy yet complex feel to it. These guys knew how to play right away but they were also very political in nature with better lyrical content than their contemporaries.

While this debut is exquisitely performed, it is rightfully overshadowed by the releases that follow because the sheer amount of innovative features and genre blending that occurs later hasn't quite reached its fruition. While every track on album number one is quite impressive in its own right, i find the tracks begin to repeat the same formula a bit too much and by the end of the album it feels a little samey although there is more than enough variation in the tracks themselves to keep them interesting. Personally i find this to be a decent slice of progressive metalcore which hardly will ever dethrone its successors as their cream of the crop but while the future releases are much like a bento box of musical genre tidbits blended with their version of progressive metalcore, this one is more like a tasty single entrée if that is what's on the menu tonight. BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME were one of the true innovators of making one of metal's most extreme and uncompromising sub genres grow up a little without losing any of that teenage angst and their debut displays all their potential and then some. 3.5 but rounded up because this is really progressive

 Coma Ecliptic by BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.95 | 229 ratings

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Coma Ecliptic
Between The Buried And Me Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Apocalypse in 9/8

4 stars I must say I really feel great about the new band's direction. The older sound was most of the times too harsh for me, and actually I had to make an effort while listening to it. With this album, I don't need to, because I really enjoy it. Despite being still a heavy record, with this outcome they have found the balance between power and melody. Amongst other things, I appretiate a lot the inclusion of keyboards as well as a few more clean vocals. The storyline is also very interesting. I'm very glad to hear the band is happy with how this album turned out and that they plan to continue like this.
 Colors LIVE by BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME album cover DVD/Video, 2008
4.36 | 39 ratings

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Colors LIVE
Between The Buried And Me Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by javajeff

5 stars I usually do not buy too many live releases unless I really like a band. That is the case for me with Between The Buried And Me. I really love the masterpiece that is Colors, but I enjoy everything they have done. If you like Colors, this is a must get CD/DVD combo. The performance will blow you away, and the sound quality is stellar. With this release you get the entire Colors album performed live and an excellent set of tunes from other albums, but the audio CD is only 8 tracks of Colors Live. The amazing musicianship is apparent, but what you see in the video is a group that really loves what they do. This was performed with passion and conviction. If you love Progressive Metal, this should be a must buy. I realize BTBAM is an acquired taste, but the sheer talent should draw you in. Colors Live gets my highest recommendation.
 Colors by BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.02 | 333 ratings

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Colors
Between The Buried And Me Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by javajeff

5 stars Between The Buried And Me have more than one album that can be considered a masterpiece. However, if I had to choose their absolute best, it would be Colors. It is such an excellent album, and an perfect place to start if you are interested in Between The Buried And Me. I think anyone that enjoys all the sub-genres of Progressive Rock will find something to love in Colors. It contains excellent musicianship, dueling clean and growl vocals, and pure chaos wound up in a nice bow. Sure tracks like Ants Of The Sky or Prequel To The Sequel have their brutal moments, but the organized craziness is just so infectious. If you do not like their sound at all, that can be understood as it is an acquired taste. However, the talent level is so evident, and the compositions are so varied that you will always be guessing. I do not think you can find anything more original than Colors, and that innovation is needed in today's musical landscape. This gets my highest recommendation, and anyone that loves Progressive Metal and Progressive rock should give it a go.
 Coma Ecliptic by BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.95 | 229 ratings

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Coma Ecliptic
Between The Buried And Me Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by javajeff

5 stars I am in the process of collecting their catalog, and I love everything I have heard so far. If you enjoy your music complex and varied, then Between The Buried and Me is the perfect band for you. The musicianship is top notch as usual, with lots of variety to keep you guessing. I think the way they mix in many genres from Jazz to Metalcore to Progressive Rock is just brilliant. Coma Ecliptic is more of the same, which is not a bad thing when the bar is set so high. I don't want to say it is better than their other masterpieces Colors or The Parallax II: Future Sequence, because that would be difficult to do. However, if you are looking for a continuation of quality set by those previous albums, you will not be disappointed. Any fan of Progressive Metal or Progressive Rock should pick up their latest and move backwards through their catalog. While the music can be brutal at times, there are those soft progressive elements that just balance it out and reward the listener.
 Coma Ecliptic by BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.95 | 229 ratings

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Coma Ecliptic
Between The Buried And Me Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Insin

5 stars No Need For Our Sanity

Between the Buried and Me knows what they're doing. They've experimented plenty while still delivering quality albums, and they've actually improved over the years, unlike so many other bands. With Coma Ecliptic, they chose to release a concept album, and began to tweak their sound even further.

I haven't had good experiences with rock operas about comas. I hated Ayreon's The Human Equation, though I could appreciate how well Arjen whatshisname was able to tell the story. Like The Human Equation, CE also revolves around a man in a coma, who relives his past lives before he gets the chance to decide whether or not he should return to the waking world. Fortunately, Coma Ecliptic is musically better than Ayreon, but its storyline is unclear, the lyrics ambiguous. There is also a lot more clean singing than usual on here, and I'm unsure if its purpose is to make the lyrics easier to understand, or if it resulted from the band's mild movement away from metal.

Yeah, it's not as heavy. Heard on previous albums are skullcrushing assaults with the occasional switch-up into softer territory. Memory Palace is just about the only track from Coma Ecliptic that demonstrates this idea, the nearly ten-minute single that attacks with a barrage of metal, entering several spacey, psychedelic breaks reminiscent of Pink Floyd, which make the song work because they catch the listener completely off-guard.

On most of CE's longer songs, BTBAM opts for more variation by changing the pace and level of heaviness more often, instead of defaulting back to facemelting harshness. This new technique produces a weirder, more diverse and interesting composition, though it can make the transitions somewhat jarring. Coma Ecliptic is teeming with variety: the ominous intro to Turn on Darkness, keyboard breaks inserted seemingly at random into songs, and perhaps most notably the piano-based beginning of Ectopic Stroll. It is difficult to pin down a genre description for the latter, but it's kind of dancey (not in a sell-out way) and unlike anything the band has ever done. And then there are the album's softest parts, like the first half of King Redeem/Queen Serene and all of opener Node, save the guitar solo (though having a soft first song/album intro is kind of a BTBAM tradition by now).

Node's guitar solo sets up the album as being dramatic, a feeling that carries through to the chorus of The Coma Machine. This is easily one of the album's most memorable moments, catchy and with a piano line that captures the theatrical, regal essence of a band like Queen or Muse. The last two songs, Option Oblivion and Life and Velvet pick up the dramatic, epic sensation to properly close Coma Ecliptic. It's a good effect, one they've used before, and it's fitting, especially to wrap up a concept release.

CE, while less metallic than earlier albums, is easily on par with everything from Colors and beyond. Engaging with highly varied, unpredictable, and progressive songwriting, it will make it onto lists of top albums from 2015. The story is difficult to follow, but the music is great.

9/10, rounded up to five stars.

 Coma Ecliptic by BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.95 | 229 ratings

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Coma Ecliptic
Between The Buried And Me Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by crashandridemusic

4 stars The moment I've been waiting for has finally arrived. After several months of anticipation, I have finally wrapped my hands around Between The Buried and Me's latest release. Well, figuratively, because I downloaded it off iTunes. I couldn't begin to tell you how impatient I've been for this release in particular. Hearing so many rumors about its change in sound, 'Coma Ecliptic' will surely stand out in their discography simply because of how different it is. Sure, they might shed some fans away, but I believe they will gain sevenfold in return. With a more direct, friendly, and quite frankly calmer approach to the progressive metal scene, I believe 'Coma Ecliptic' is the album that can put BTBAM in the spotlight.

The group of five from North Carolina all return in this album, but return in a much lighter way. My first reaction to listening to 'Coma Ecliptic' was in awe of how soft the album actually is. (Keep in mind, 'soft' is subjective. There are still plenty of ear-splitting screams and guttural growls). In comparison to any of their prior albums, this album contains less chuggy guitar rhythm, fewer drum solos, and a lot more keyboards. When I say a lot, I mean a lot. I couldn't help thinking 'is this another Tommy Giles Rogers solo album, or is this BTBAM?' From the start, 'Node' begins with a simple keyboard arrangement next to Rogers' clean vocals. The rest of the band chimes in after a while, and the album launches into a wild ride by the song's end. For the duration of the album, Rogers' clean vocals dominates 'Coma Ecliptic.' I'd almost say it's a 75/25 split between clean and dirty vocals, which not only makes it easier to listen to in a public setting, but also is probably easier on Rogers' throat. I could tell that the clean vocals are performed with more confidence, with more strength and precision than any prior album. The song 'King Redeem ' Queen Serene' is the perfect example of the magnificence in his voice, approaching the likes of Freddie Mercury and Mikael Akerfeldt. I applaud the increase in quality of his vocals, which boosts this album up a notch.

What's unmistakable about 'Coma Ecliptic' is not only how much keyboard is injected into this album, but also why the band uses so much keyboard. Rogers has described this album as a 'rock opera' from the beginning, with falsettos and baritones the likes of 'Phantom of the Opera' coming to mind. A concept following a man in a self-induced coma, it is only necessary that the keys tie in each song, helping move the story along the way as the protagonist visits his past lives. The added keyboard effects and manipulation are a bonus to the cause, since it is more present on this album than any other BTBAM record, and also helps to add to the mood of the story. In fact, the whole of 'Dim Ignition' and large portions of 'Famine Wolf' heavily rely more on the manipulation than any other instrument. I can easily imagine the beeps and boops of a coma-inducing machine corresponding with the sound manipulation on this album. Along with the use of contemporary equipment, 'Memory Palace' brings a sense of nostalgia, using keyboard progressions and effects heavily influenced by older rock bands like Yes and Emerson Lake & Palmer. I personally enjoyed this change to a lighter, more airy style of progressive metal. I can't think of too many bands that take this approach, and fully endorse the heavy use of keyboards in future BTBAM albums.

At this point, I imagine my readers asking 'so, are there any other instruments on 'Coma Ecliptic' besides the keys?' Of course there are! The songs 'The Coma Machine' and 'Memory Palace' (being two singles released off the album) contains some of the most complex, heaviest, and downright best material written for both rhythm and lead guitar. Aside the heavy chords and solos is the song 'Turn On The Darkness,' which is my personal favorite off the record. The song utilizes clean guitar riffs and low piano arrangements, almost reminding me of songs off 'Octavarium' by Dream Theater. After a while, the rest of the band comes in, performing what they know best: dirty vocals and dual guitar riffs. Bassist Dan Briggs also incorporates plenty of bass grooves and solos throughout the album, easily taking the attention of the listener when he shines. There are moments in 'The Ectopic Stroll' that are so close to breaking my car speakers, it compels me to buy a subwoofer just for the song alone.

Despite how amazing and different 'Coma Ecliptic' is, I do have one complaint. Drummer Blake Richardson is one of my favorite percussionists out there. I've praised his name on this blog in the past. Many times I have listened to 'Colors,' 'The Great Misdirect,' and 'The Parallax' albums, sitting in wonderment at the drum beats that rattle my head. Unfortunately, I don't feel that same excitement for this album when it comes to Richardson's drumming. I'm not sure if a) he purposely played down the drum sections because of the softer nature of this album, or b) what he played just didn't grab my attention as much, but it was a little upsetting through my first couple listens. My complaint doesn't mean that Richardson played badly by any means; I just wish there were better drum moments on 'Coma Ecliptic,' ones like the ending solo of 'White Walls' or the beginning of 'Specular Reflection.' Those moments always grab ahold of me and invigorate me; I can't help but replicate the drum beats on my steering wheel in those moments. That one change in the writing process would've launched this album above 'The Great Misdirect' as my favorite released by them.

With all that said, I am not disappointed with Between the Buried and Me's 'Coma Ecliptic,' and neither will you. It may be different than anything they've ever released, but I could easily argue that it's one of their best album they've released. Any fan of the band could see their change in direction coming since 'Alaska,' which ultimately led to the penning of one amazing progressive metal/rock opera album.

Taken from Crash and Ride Music

 The Parallax II: Future Sequence by BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.18 | 226 ratings

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The Parallax II: Future Sequence
Between The Buried And Me Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Wicket
Prog Reviewer

5 stars The best metal album ever made.

Yeah, I said it.

The best metal album ever made (although Metallica's S&M is a close second, but that's a live disc so I'm not sure that counts).

Now, I'm not an idiot. I understand attaching words like "best" or "greatest" to anything is going to piss people off, because, frankly, these words are subjective at best, opinionated. So before I continue, these are the descriptors I use to determine the "best" out of an album:

It has to have an original sound. It has to display a wide variety of emotions. It needs to be able to tell some kind of story or tale. If the songs are connected or intertwined, they need to transition smoothly. The sound quality needs to be otherworldly, superb and top-notch. There needs to be a delicate but mastered balance of each facet of the band's signature sound, regardless of style or genre. It has to provide something new on each listen (or manage to be a timeless sound). And most importantly, there needs to be sections that instantly catch ones ear so that the novelty never wears off, something you'd put on repeat over and over again.

This album encompasses all these criteria in stunning and excellent fashion. Granted, it's not perfect (nothing is), but in terms of the zenith of just how far one can take a flexible genre like metal and still keep it within the bounds of accessibility, nothing beats "Future Sequence". I look at reviews of this band here, and 95% of them state in the beginning how most of them don't care much for progressive metalcore or the like, and yet BTBAM is a rare exception they can listen to.

That's probably the most impressive feat of all. Explore the very edge of the boundaries that are physically possible, and yet still appeal to non-metal enthusiasts? Even 10 years ago that would've seemed too good to be true.

The intro, "Goodbye To Everything", is your typical BTBAM soft, pretty intro. Before singer Tommy Giles Rogers went sing crazy on "Coma Elliptic", this is was his most adventurous in terms of his singing exploits, and even here it's a remarkable improvement over his frankly lifeless singing on "Colors". It doesn't take long for that to come and go and the catchy tune, "Astral Body", to burst into life and develop around a catchy 8-note guitar lick that signals a build in tension, a sign that "Baby, you're in for a real treat if you hang in there for the next hour or so."

Right away, I can tell there's a more melodic focus, despite a good abundance of screaming, which doesn't bother me much. Rogers' screaming is entirely unique, but it doesn't destroy my ears, which is good. The focus on staying heavy is there, but exploring more elaborate melodies seems to be the key, with drummer Blake Richardson throwing in some elaborate polyrhythms without having to go too mental. At least, before the blastbeats come in the second half of the song. Still, the choruses sound thoroughly composed, spectacles and fantastic arriving points in themselves, as if each one is designed to be the finale of a great epic saga or story, and "Astral Body" only presents the first of many to come.

"Lay Your Ghosts To Rest" is a bit longer than "Astral Body", almost twice as long (and honestly, I'm sure the lyrics are gripping, I care more about the music itself). Apart from that, it's a typical BTBAM double-minute gobstopper. The heavy theme only lasts for about a minute and a half before we're introduced to a sort waltzy circus kind of groove, before we're kicked out and get front row seats to another Rogers chorus of wonder and mystique. The clean and heavy sections still kick in abruptly back and forth, like you're a soccer ball and you're just getting kicked from one side of the pitch to another, but the transitions still don't feel as jarring as on "Colors", and nor does it feel as chaotic either. Controlled is more like it this time around.

"Ghosts" definitely feels like the most hectic and angry of the lot, apart from the almost pseudo-surf rock ditties and circus rock breakdown. I guess it's a good think the circus breakdown is immediately followed by a relaxing verse from Rogers' gentle croon and a nice guitar lick over a nice, soft waltz groove. And then we're back out into the light into a few extra heavy fills before the chorus returns once again and fades out into the atmospheric "Autumn", concluding the section of the album. In short, it's another typically constructed BTBAM song. Explores the diverse range of emotions, transitions are wonderfully executed, but it doesn't feel abrupt or jarring, but it does feel like a story being aurally told. Whatever the story actually is, I don't know, and honestly, I don't quite care. It's just brilliant.

"Extremophile Elite" is perhaps one of my favorite BTBAM tracks of all time, mostly from the fact the song's theme is Middle-Eastern based, and I'm a sucker for exotic scales and chords of the Middle-Eastern variety. The chorus is quite catchy too, the b-theme roughly 3 minutes is tasty, and about 2 minutes from the end, you'll notice a sort of c-theme underneath a sitar sample as Rogers' is stuttering through his "Walking into a certain state of walking..." verse, which, for fans of BTBAM is the same verse and rhythmic progression from "Specular Reflection", off their "Hyperspace Dialogues" 3-track ep. Same verse, key and progression, but on this album it has a more exotic flair to it, obviously. It's gripping and engaging throughout, and it just pumps me up everytime I listen to it. Maybe it's just because I'm weird, but something about this particular song is just so special, it's one of my most listened to tracks ever on my computer.

I also love the transition into "Parallax", the fade into almost distant nothing, and the subtle intro of the piano in "The Black Box", right before the band kicks back into high gear and foreshadows a future of beatdowns in "Telos". Even though Telos isn't my favorite, there are some juicy phases, such as that almost psuedo-Samba groove break2 minutes in signaled by the whistle. The heavy stuff doesn't last long til at 3:15, the soft groove begins, and the sexy time starts making its magic. This section lasts for most of the remainder of the song, and the buildup to the big chorus is phenomenal, and when Rogers sings "Rebirth, reborn", it's quite possible one of the most surreal aural moments ever to grace my ears. It's triumphant, it's terrifying, and it doesn't last long before the quick heavy them from the beginning retakes the lead and throws me for a loop, and onslaught that lasts the remaining 2:30 of the song.

"Bloom" is quite unusual though. Apart from "The Ecoptic Stroll" off Coma Elliptic, it's one of Roger's most unusual singing performances. Not that that's a bad thing, and I kinda like the surf rock theme the band churns out as well. The transition into "Melting City" is kinda weird, as I personally think the two tracks should have been merged to one, but that's not the worst thing in the world. I still have problems counting along with the chorus as the band throws in an extra beat constantly. It's just such an awkward rhythmic pattern. The addition of the flute in the middle though is hot, and the second, slower chorus is another triumpahnt, bombastic moment that's just indescribable and unique. The whole track just sends shivers down my spine half the time. Try doing that with a Yes album.

"Silent Flight Parliament" heralds the beginning of the end, much like "White Walls" had the same effect on "Colors". It's a great track, not one of my absolute favorites, but it's a track worthy of a finale, a finale that doesn't really come until an abrupt cut off leads into a reprise of "Goodbye To Everything". In a perfect world, I would've made the reprise as bombastic as possible rather fading away into nothing. Nevertheless, it's still a fantastic cap to a great album, an album that not only maintains a consistency through transitions and fluidity, but each big epic sounds the part of a stand-alone track as well, a feat rarely accomplished by even the most seasoned prog veterans.

VERDICT: It's glorious. It's ridiculous, sublime and then ridiculous again. It's loud, it's bombastic, it's epic and it's sobering. It makes me very happy. And yet it makes me very sad. Because this album, to me, feels like the culmination of a great career for this band, and even though I do like "Coma Elliptic", it's an entirely different beast from this, and I worry that the band put so much effort into this album that, frankly, I don't think we'll ever come across an album this complete, this thorough, this detailed. It's a unicorn, this album. Never again will something like this grace our ears. Cherish it. Embrace it. Leave it something nice in your will.

I might even go so far as to compare it to Beethoven's 9th. Once ol' Ludwig incorporated Turkish Janissary percussion and dropped a choir (A CHOIR) in the 4th movement singing "Joy To The World", I could just imagine all the other Romantic composers at the time going "NOPENOPENOPENOPE". It was the virtual equivalent to Beethoven dropping the mic and walking off stage (or going deaf and dropping dead, whichever works), and it would take roughly 60 years before Brahms came around to make the symphonic genre even remotely relevant again.

And this album seems to do the same. BTBAM have always created a sound unique and true to them, but as far as progressive tech metal goes, not even Dream Theater (my most beloved band) could top this. This is the pinnacle, and because of that, I fear that BTBAM won't ever be the same again. (please no, even if you can't recreate this album, please try. plz)

And on top of all that, it's accessible. It's catchy. It's heavy. It's quirky. It has so many elements that anyone can get into, and it's all blended into an accessible cocktail that's so well balanced and put together, they make it look SO EASY. It's staggering.

Honestly, whatever you listen to, give this album a shot. All BTBAM albums take multiple full listens to really grasp, but this particular album shouldn't take you long at all before you get it. And even if you don't like it at all, which I completely understand (BTBAM isn't for everyone, even though that's just simply blasphemous), you have to at least respect it for what it is, a colossus of epic proportions. If you don't, then I'm sorry, you have no soul.

The best album ever made. Period.

*dons flame retardant suit*

Thanks to Bryan for the artist addition.

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