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

BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME

Between The Buried And Me

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

2.96 | 81 ratings

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Kempokid
4 stars The debut album by progressive metal powerhouse Between The Buried and Me is a textbook example of a debut putting a band's potential on full display while simulaneously showing a lot of room to grow. Rather than prog metal, this definitely feels more in line with metalcore in its general sound, but it manages to avoid being generic both through the impressive instrumental talents of the band, and the labyrinthine nature of their songs, shifting wildly with reckless abandon, at times only sticking with a set riff for mere seconds before transforming. This proves to be both a positive and negative, as while it sometimes works, there are other times where it feels very much clear that the band still don't quite know how to write effectively at points, leading to certain songs feeling quite aimless.

More Of Myself To Kill immediatley displays the wild nature of the compositions, with immediate screaming and switching between 2 separate riffs a couple of times before changing tempo immediately, becoming progressively slower until it resembles slow, chugging djent. Throughout, the drumming is what stands out most to me, going between fast bursts, but never sounding like more of the same, constantly changing time signature and being able to sound amazingly precise and loose at the same time. The song then becomes slower and introduces some clean vocals, which while nothing special, still work really well here, and provide some beauty to the relentless nature of what came before, all before building back up into amazing intensity, but now with some actual riffs to back it up, giving something to latch on to. One issue with this song and future ones is that I do find the harsh vocals to often sound quite poor, and while that works in the context of the very raw sound going on here, I still think that this would sound much better with better vocals and production. Arsonist starts off even stronger, with the first section of the song containing an absolutely incredible riff, with the harsh vocals serving more as mad screams of anger rather than anything coherent, which actually works quite well here. I also find the breakdown halfway through to be amazing, as it somehow intensifies the song further. Aspirations is a definite improvement, showcasing both some parts even more intense and brutal than before, particular in the vocal department, as Tommy Rogers sounds like he's tearing his throat out here, and that moment of softness near the end ties everything together amazingly. What We Have Become is definitely one of the weakest songs here, as it does nothing particularly interesting and becomes very dull very quickly.

Fire For A Dry Mouth is by far one of the angriest songs the band has ever put out, each moment simply radiating pure fury, bordering on becoming scary. The mix on this song actually works quite effectively as well, with the final minute accentuating the bass and providing a different sound to everything else. The 2 minute intro to Naked By The Computer is excellent, both being incredibly beautiful and making for a perfect transition into the madness of the remaining 3 minutes. The song carries more emotional weight than the others as well, with both the lyrics and the music contributing to this, especially the breathtaking final minute. Use Of A Weapon is another lower point on the album, simply because at this point, something new has to be done in order to stand out from the insanity of everything else, and this song simply doesn't do anything special. Shevanel Cut A Flip on the other hand is definitely one of the highlights of the album starting off just as intensely, but with a certain unhinged nature to it, especially noticeable in the random restaurant conversation thrown in before jumping right back in. I find this to be the first proper example of the quirkier side of the band that would be explored in much greater depth on future albums. The best moment for sure however is the gradual removal of all heavy elements until the song becomes absolutely beautiful, keeping nothing more than a minimalistic drum beat and lovely, interweaving acoustic guitar work, as the clean vocals come in and help create my personal favourite moment on the album, along with an incredible way to close it off.

Overall, while I initially had little praise to give this album, after giving it a few listens, it's grown on me immensely. While it's definitely rough around the edges, both the skill of each band member, and the complex, high quality compositions really stand out after a few listens, where everything no longer just sounds like meaningless noise. The album has an excellent duality between looseness and precision, having a very messy, yet calculated sound to everything. While this is the last place I'd recommend someone start listening to BTBAM, I cannot deny the fact that this album is very good, despite the lack of polish it has.

Best songs: More Of Myself To Kill, Naked By The Computer, Shevanel Cut A Flip

Weakest songs: What We Have Become, Use Of A Weapon

Verdict: While a very unpolished album in many respects, everything still somehow falls into place to make a largely great album. I'd recommend this to fans of chaotic, brutal, raw music, as this album contains all the stuff that would be enjoyable for such a crowd.

Kempokid | 4/5 |

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