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Between The Buried And Me - The Silent Circus CD (album) cover


Between The Buried And Me


Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.57 | 101 ratings

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4 stars Between the Buried and Me's second album, The Silent Circus finds them maturing into a more experimental/artistic version of an extreme metal band. This album builds on the technical intensity and diversity of mood found on their first album. The lineup on this album contains only chief songwriters Tommy (now adding synthesizer to the mix) and Paul from the previous version of the band. In typical BtB&M fashion, the intensity of the music is offset by quieter, more beautiful and emotional passages. This strange mix is what impresses me most about the band, and convinces me that they are on the forefront of a new movement marrying extreme, experimental, and emotional forms of music.

The music on this album is even more intense than their 1st, and is comparable to their 3rd album Alaska. This album is filled with technically intense and aggressive riffing-- sometimes non-descript for the first few listens, but is offset nicely by more catchy riffs. As soon as you feel lost in the chaos, the band locks into something you can move to. Also present in the music is their trademark contrast between dark intensity and spatial beauty (probably 60%/30% if I had to ball park it).

The synthesizer has a prominent role in more spatial, ambient sections of songs, which adds a new aspect to their music. The synth sounds are absent from most of the intense sections, which I think shows good discretion (sometimes synth is a cheesy addition to intense portions of music).

The lyrics are frequently written in a stream-of-consciousness style or dream narrative. There is a darkness to the lyrics, more so than on Alaska. The first 2 tracks (parts a & b of the same song-cycle, Lost Perfection) apparently describe a crazy dream, including all the mixed up details that don't make sense to the concious mind. One of the most testosterone-boosting moments of the album is during the 2nd part when the music pauses and Tommy screams "Death is in the air," at which point the band launches into a heavily palm-muted maniacal, menacing riff. The song "Mordacai" seems to be their most popular from this album, and I think most succinctly embodies their talent and creativity. It starts off intensely, gets quiet with a cool, jazzy guitar solo, and then a powerful, emotional ending.

To jump forward and compare this album with their 3rd, Alaska, I think they're of equal quality (this one really is as good as Alaska) in all aspects: songwriting, performance and production. However, I would still recommend Alaska first to the inquirer, because this album has a higher concentration of extreme metal intensity and has somewhat darker/more critical lyrical content. If you liked Alaska, or if you're already comfortable with extreme metal, this would be a great purchase. The later versions of the CD also contain a bonus DVD with live footage of at least 5 or 6 songs, some of which are from Alaska-which makes the package well worth the purchase.

jmcdaniel_ee | 4/5 |


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