REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/18/2007
How did you learn to swim? Did your father take you to the deep end and throw you in? Did you slowly immerse yourself into the shallow end until, days or possibly years later, the day arrived on which you scaled the nine steps up the high dive ladder and found yourself at the edge of a diving board looking down into water that seemed very far away? As time goes on, the distance between diving board and water seems to decrease, even though the actual height doesn’t change.
That’s the feeling that overwhelms you on Colors, the exciting new release from Between The Buried And Me. As you listen to this album a second, then a third, then a fifth time, the hour it takes to navigate it seems to get shorter as you become familiar with the songs and, more importantly, the complexity of this band.
Verse / chorus / verse song structure doesn't exist in Between The Buried And Me's world. As soon as you suspend your preconceived idea that bands must make their material easy to memorize, you've completed the first step. By all rights, I should hate this group. I don't like the vocals, I don't like the blast beat drum beat that shows up sporadically, and I don't have a clue what the guy is singing about. Yet I've spent over five hours with this band and can tell you that when they slip in different textures like the melodic acoustic guitar in the midst of the chaotic epic "Sun Of Nothing," I'm mesmerized.
You should explore this band's landscape. Colors is a wave of textures and musical design that’s both overwhelming and inspiring. The musical landscape this band covers includes the dreamy Pink Floyd-inspired opening of "Foam Born: The Backtrack" that melts into death metal. As if that wasn't enough musical diversity, this band dips into country, straight-ahead thrash, and hints of jazz. They are the total package, the Lex Luger of the musical world.
Second track "The Decade Of Statues" starts out as an aggressive death metal track, complete with the dreaded Cookie Monster vocals that no one likes. There's not much notable in this part of the song, but then it changes into a jazz guitar tone. The interplay between drums and guitar is tightly syncopated and contrasts so much with the earlier part of the song that you wonder why they needed the death metal growlings in the first place. Talent exists in this band, but they want you to dig for it.
After "Decade," you're on your own. I can't hold your hand and take you minute by minute through this release and the band sure doesn't. Between The Buried And Me have chosen to explore their musical landscape in long, complex modes, ensuring that if you're going to like this band, you're going to have to fully digest their material. "Informal Gluttony" dips a toe in the deep end, clocking in at a brief 6:47. Then it's head-first with run times of 10:59, 13:10, and 8:36, the short "Viridian" at 2:51, before ending with the epic "White Walls" which clocks in at 14:13.
Long songs are nothing new, but this band finds interesting ways to keep their songs fresh. The material is presented in a way I’d compare to a blog where the stream-of-consciousness flow is captivating.