September 26, 2007 | , | 4.5

Between the Buried and Me, Colors

Colors, the latest release from Between the Buried and Me (BTBAM), is an album that transcends genres — blending elements from nearly every musical style into a cohesive and smooth flowing listening experience. I thought that I was floored when I first heard their self-title debut. I thought I was floored when I first listened to Alaska. I should have just stayed on the ground as Colors completely blows both of those huge albums away with ease.

Their fifth studio album is without pause their most mature and accomplished work to date. They have toned down the chaotic technicality and focused more on complex, yet smooth flowing, song structures. There are still plenty of tempo and style changes — often several in one song — to keep their most technical minded fan entertained. BTBAM transition from intricate, jazzy soundscapes to beat-down quality, crushing riffs with such ease and fluidity. The transitions are from one extreme to another, but work beautifully, keeping melodies and beats moving along.

Colors is an epic piece of music with several of tracks eclipsing 8 minutes in length. The band does well, though, in not letting those tracks meander, instead keeping the listeners attention with incredible song writing, vocal delivery and well timed tempo changes.

Foam Born: The Backtrack
The opening track starts slowly and calmly with softly sung vocals and complimenting, technical guitar work. The band shifts gears quickly at the 1:50 mark, exploding into blasts from the drums and vocal growls.

Foam Born: The Decade of Statues
BTBAM transition from song to song with such subtle changes that it’s almost impossible to catch the start of the next track without looking at the read out on your CD player. It has the illusion of the album just consisting of a single song. “The Decade of Statues” is much darker and heavier than part A of the song. Thick riffs and guttural delivery shift to a more prog-metal presentation.

Informal Gluttony
Oh, a gong. I love the opening drum work on “Informal Gluttony” — it’s a bit tribal, yet quite powerful. The bass that fills in behind the drums is nice and funky, as well. This song builds slowly, increasing the tempo as each element is brought in one by one. What’s interesting about this album, and I’m not sure if it was intentional or not, is that each song gets progressively longer in length until “Ants of the Sky” at which point they get progressively shorter in length — with the exception of the final track. It’s just that extra something that makes BTBAM a unique entity in the metal world.

Sun of Nothing
After “Informal Gluttony” fades out slowly, “Sun of Nothing” kicks in strong and violently. Huge riffs, technical guitar work and pounding drums tear through the speakers with surprising force. All the smooth tempo changes set this effect up nicely. Weighing in at just under 11 minutes, this song encompasses everything good that is BTBAM — grinding blasts, Dillinger Escape Plan like technical timing and jazzy piano pieces.

Ants of the Sky
The quick shift from the previous track keeps the driving momentum galloping along nicely. Guttural vocals combine with progressive guitar work like they were one and the same. The solos at the 1:24 and 3:45 marks are simply awe inspiring. Throw in a few bone crushing riffs and you have just too much to love in this track.

Prequel to the Sequel
Great anthem-like guitar work and drumming really get the blood flowing for the start of “Prequel to the Sequel.” It’s about a minute and 30 seconds before the vocals kick in gruffly. I love the flow to this song. There’s an interesting bit of music at about the 5:20 mark, incorporating what sounds like an accordion. The vocalist, Tommy Rogers, really showcases his abilities on this track — goddam, he’s a talented S.O.B.

Yet again, there’s another smooth transition from one song to the next. The flow to this album is simply incredible. “Viridian” is a nice instrumental interlude with some light guitar and bass work.

White Walls
“Viridian” was definitely the calm before the storm — “White Walls” being the storm. Weighing it at over 14 minutes in length, the song starts out strongly with a beefy, rocking riff and powerful drumming before Rogers lets loose with a guttural growl. The band picks up the pace swiftly with pummeling drums and soaring guitar work. There’s a hefty breakdown just afte the 2:00 minute mark that’ll have heads banging on a global scale.

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What more can you say about a band that may have just accomplished the impossible — successfully combining more than a few musical genres into a beautiful piece of progressive metal. I’ve listened to this album many, many times in the relatively short time that I’ve had it in my possession and each time I am left astonished. Get this album now.

Favorite Tracks:
All of them

Additional Notes: