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I was recently introduced to this band and particular album through a friend, and I must say it is a great musical experience on so many levels.
The album is comprised of 8 tracks, most of which are lengthy and it plays through as one continuous song, lasting just over an hour. Initially it can be difficult to truly appreciate, especially as the first half of the album in no way lives up to the quality of the second half, as with many progressive albums. After a while however, the album can be an excelent experience. The first song is a great way to start the album, comparable to the likes of muse and Radiohead in terms of musical style. This chilled out mellow intro is however much lived down by the following two tracks, which my least favourite of the album.
The album is a mix of various genres melded into one, it's an unusual concept but they've done an excellent job from a musicians point of view. The problem with the overall album is that at times, some songs contain parts which really don't fit in too well with the rest of the song, and some areas I feel are dragged out without much happening instrumentally, whereas surrounding those insufficient areas, the riffs, timing and technical drumming at times are simply jaw dropping.
The guitarist knows how to play and the John Petrucci influence really shines through in his playing, but he never over does it. I find the drumming to also be extremely technical, there's much variation in the drummers playing and style, which massively helps bring this album together as one continuous song.
The vocalist is very diverse and shows that he doesn't just scream, as there are several occasions of melodic vocals throughout the album, alongside the fact he plays keyboard and plays a lot of the various sound effects you will hear through the album.
Overall it's a technically brilliant album, which could potentially shed light on the increasingly dire music situation as time progresses, it is however let down at times by parts in songs that simply don't work, but to sum it up briefly: It's still much, much better than any of the mainstream rubbish tossed out by record labels these days in every possible aspect, a highly underrated band.
'Colors' by Between The Buried and Me was released to critical acclaim. Rave reviews from every magazine under the sun, Mike Portnoy's 'album of the year', they released a live CD to follow it up and it generally cemented the band's place in the progressive death metal elite.
It's a sprawling album, running at 8 tracks in just over an hour. 'Colors' has moments of utter brilliance, conversely it has bits where it falls down flat and for an album lauded as much as it is, these moments are far too often.
When 'Colors' is brilliant, it's stunning. The amazing, piano driven first track 'Foam Born a - The Backtrack' running into its more 'deathy' second part. The ending of 'Ant of the Sky' and many other parts are displays of dazling muscianship and virtuosic playing.
However, these feats of technical and creative prowess are all too often overshadowed by too many riff changes to be true, the fact you can't even make out what's been played a lot of the time anyway, as with most other BTBAM records, and sometimes dodgy lyricism.
Their follow up album 'The Great Misdirect' is far better, but tends to suffer from the same problems.
Colors is Between The Buried And Me's 5th album and I've not heard any of their others, so wouldn't like to comment how it compares. What I can say is that Colors is quite an eclectic album and the band are definitely not scared to experiment.
There's quite a bit of jazz thrown in alongside hardcore, death metal and various other genres. The downside of it for me is that it seems far too hit and miss and a bit of a mish mash, the styles change so suddenly that it is nearly impossible for them to entwine the styles within each other. Another thing is that the death metal is really rather technical and the screaming vocals of the lead singer just seem way off - it's not like a deep throated brutal death metal growl, it's like a cat being castrated and it's too repetitive. It's a nice idea and I see that it has won over a lot of people but it doesn't really do it for me. There are some killer riffs still though, so I won't dismiss it completely.
1. "Foam Born (a) The Backtrack" - 2:13
2. "(b) The Decade of Statues" - 5:20
3. "Informal Gluttony" - 6:47
4. "Sun of Nothing" - 10:59
5. "Ants of the Sky" - 13:10
6. "Prequel to the Sequel" - 8:36
7. "Viridian" - 2:51
8. "White Walls" - 14:13
It's satisfying to see a band evolve positively from a clashing melting pot of genres into a unit that manages to combine the best elements of their diverse influences, and 'Colors' is undoubtedly the finest album from Between the Buried and Me thus far. The singing is less whiney, and works alongside the heavier riffs whenever it's called for, rather than requiring its own special, remedial section elsewhere, and the greater influence of post-rock and classic prog rock once again helps to meld the other styles all together in a manner that works surprisingly well. No wonder it took the band so long to develop a successful formula.
The other aspect of this album that makes it stand out from the discography is the sheer length of some of the songs. Overlong tracks running out of steam was a problem that affected the first couple of albums especially, but here 'Ants of the Sky' tends more towards bland, tedious repetition (and includes Hammond organs, which earns immediate negative points), while 'White Walls' uses its fifteen minutes to explore the full spectrum of sound from brutal death metal to emo, in a manner that still doesn't sound right, no matter how skilfully it's executed.
This isn't an album for metalcore fans with short attention spans - which I'm guessing is most of them - but it's an effective album if you're in the right state of mind, and will likely appeal to those who enjoy the similarly drawn-out works of Tool. For me it's just a little too dull, the incorporation of classic prog being nothing I haven't heard before, and better, seeming more like a bandwagon-jumping thing after bands like Porcupine Tree and Opeth highlighted its potential for contemporary music over the last few years.
1. Foam Born: a) The Backtrack
2. Foam Born: (b) The Decade of Statues
3. Informal Gluttony
4. Sun of Nothing
5. Ants of the Sky
6. Prequel to the Sequel
8. White Walls
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Foam Born (The Backtrack)
2 Foam Born (The Decade Of Statues)
3 Informal Gluttony
4 Sun Of Nothing
5 Ants Of The Sky
6 Prequel To The Sequel
8 White Walls