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Between The Buried And Me - Colors II review



Reviewer:
9.0

149 users:
8.11
Band: Between The Buried And Me
Album: Colors II
Release date: August 2021


01. Monochrome
02. The Double Helix Of Extinction
03. Revolution In Limbo
04. Fix The Error
05. Never Seen / Future Shock
06. Stare Into The Abyss
07. Prehistory
08. Bad Habits
09. The Future Is Behind Us
10. Turbulent
11. Sfumato
12. Human Is Hell (Another One With Love)


Even for a band with a history of album 'sequels', sticking 'II' on the end of your most celebrated album's title and making that the name of your new record is a bold move.

There's room to debate the 'best' Between The Buried And Me album, but it's fair to say that Colors is the most significant record of the band's career to date; it's the one that they did a 10-year anniversary tour for, it's the one they did a full live performance of on a stream during lockdowns in 2020, it's the one that reliably pops up on 'X of all time' lists. A lot of this is because it indicated the most substantial progression of the band's sound, seeing the appearance of not just their first song breaking the 10-minute barrier (discounting tracks with hidden songs at the end), but 3 of them, as Between The Buried And Me went into full prog overdrive and ramped up the melodic aspect of their chaotic, abrasive tech death/metalcore approach. In calling their new album Colors II, BTBAM knowingly draw daunting parallels, stating that the need to record something emphatic to make a statement in a music industry massively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic echoes the crossroads they found themselves in, and resulting drive to make a do-or-die statement they felt, prior to the release of Colors.

That's why this album is called Colors II; does the end result live up to that mission statement? Well, the first thing that becomes apparent when listening to the album is that, whilst Colors was a big jump forward for the band, Colors II is in some ways a move backwards for the band stylistically; with the extremity ramped up, the songs more madcap and the album ending with a 15-minute leviathan (the album in total is an eye-watering 79 minutes), this is the closest that BTBAM have sounded to Colors since Parallax II: Future Sequence. Now, full disclosure: I am a huge Between The Buried And Me fan, and a bigger fan of Colors, to the extent that my band held a viewing party last summer for the Colors livestream. For those that were looking for the band to go further in the direction they went with Coma Ecliptic, Colors II might not be the shift they were hoping for, but long, frenetic songs that go all over the place and drop epic moments on you out of nowhere is what I love about the band, so I found the first 'surface' playthrough of Colors II very exciting, and further listens have continued to reinforce that first impression.

The album gets off to a great start in the form of "Monochrome", three minutes that progress from delicate piano through increasingly heavy riffs and vocals until the band explode into "The Double Helix Of Extinction", just as they do with "Foam Born: The Backtrack" on the original Colors. Beyond that, there's so much to digest across nearly 80 minutes of music that attempting to summarize it all here would be exhausting, but rest assured that Between The Buried And Me cover the whole dynamic spectrum, with the blistering introduction of "The Double Helix Of Extinction" (again, not far off "Foam Born: The Decade Of Statues") countered by airy proggy exploration later in the song. Particularly notable moments on Colors II include the huge breakdown in "The Future Is Behind Us", the frenetic guitar solos and drumwork on "Fix The Error" (featuring Mike Portnoy, Ken Schalk and Navene Koperweis as guests) and the danceable synth intro to "Turbulence", but there's huge walls of sound, exhilarating instrumental work and intelligent musical detours abound throughout.

There's not really a weak moment on Colors II for me; not every moment works, but most of them are over in the blink of an eye anyway, and I enjoy all the songs. I would say that, on the flip side, there's not been many moments that have blown me away in the way that BTBAM can at their best, but there's more here than on the last couple of records. The two songs that have really stood out are the longest ones. "Never Seen / Future Shock" features ear-catching synth lines, guitar runs, quirky pipes and a whole lot more, but really caught my ear early on with a chorus that makes me think of, as much as anybody else, Soilwork in their softer moments. The obvious album highlight as far as I'm concerned, however, is closer "Human Is Hell (Another One With Love)", a song that follows in the strong legacy of awesome long BTBAM album closers and pays obvious tribute to the greatest of them all, "White Walls" from Colors, with its percussive intro and epic synth-led outro. There's so much in this song to unpack, from the captivating guitar leads to the eerie mellow midsection, and I'm excited for others to have the opportunity to explore it.

This is unashamedly Between The Buried And Me; if you're someone with a vocal dislike of the band, listening to Colors II would be a waste of time. However, anyone who enjoys the Colors-thru-Parallax II period as much as I do should be right on board with Colors II. With such extreme length, it's an exercise in excess, but it's just so much fun, and when BTBAM say in the promo notes that they feel that it's their 'most creative material in a long time', I completely agree. Finally, there's a record that can challenge Dvne's Etemen Ænka for my album of the year.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 8





Written on 19.08.2021 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments

Comments: 12   Visited by: 259 users
19.08.2021 - 11:06
Mehrad

So you like it more than Dvne ?
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Ride a horse that's cleaving through the air and space of dreams.
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19.08.2021 - 11:29
musclassia

Written by Mehrad on 19.08.2021 at 11:06

So you like it more than Dvne ?


I've only been able to give it a half-dozen or so spins in the 3 days since I got the promo (hard to quickly replay an 80-minute album), so it's too early to tell, but I think it's possible over time that it will, if nothing else than because Human Is Hell is so epic
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19.08.2021 - 14:53
Nejde
Green Devil
I'm jealous and it's a bit unfair that you already have been listening to the album for three whole days. I'm super stoked about this album and your review just made waiting for tomorrow a little more frustrating
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"When you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It's only painful for others. The same applies when you are stupid." - Ricky Gervais
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19.08.2021 - 15:28
musclassia

Written by Nejde on 19.08.2021 at 14:53

I'm jealous and it's a bit unfair that you already have been listening to the album for three whole days. I'm super stoked about this album and your review just made waiting for tomorrow a little more frustrating


This whole writing thing comes with some perks (even if no monetary ones)
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19.08.2021 - 20:08
Uxküll

Just re-listened to the 2020 remaster of Color yesterday in preparation for this album, so excited, glad to see the hype is deserved.
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"Nullum unquam exstitit magnum igenium sine aliqua dementia [there was never great genius without some madness]."

Best of Metal A-Z: http://metalstorm.net/users/lists.php?user_id=158339
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19.08.2021 - 20:39
TheBigRossowski
Dudeist Priest
I'm ready for it to drop!
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That rug really tied the room together, did it not?
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20.08.2021 - 15:51
Nejde
Green Devil
Finally got my hands on it. It snatched the top spot for AOTY instantly. Can't see another yet unreleased album of 2021 that's gonna top this. Even though Etemen Ænka is an excellent album there's no competing with this one, sorry Maybe I'm biased but BTBAM has been one of my favourite bands since I came across The Silent Circus and Mordecai in particular 18 years ago.
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"When you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It's only painful for others. The same applies when you are stupid." - Ricky Gervais
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21.08.2021 - 00:30
TheBigRossowski
Dudeist Priest
This album is pretty fuckin' dopethrone. Heavy tunes. Ending on Human is Hell - that was crazy.
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That rug really tied the room together, did it not?
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21.08.2021 - 00:44
musclassia

Written by TheBigRossowski on 21.08.2021 at 00:30

Ending on Human is Hell - that was crazy.


Mate, what a fucking unreal tune this one is, absolutely my favourite song on this new album, every time it comes on I get stoked
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23.08.2021 - 11:36
DeliciousDishes
always right
I remember not being hugely into the Fix The Error single when it came out (I guess I was just in a different mood), so I didn't expect all that much from this one. Blew me away on first listen already though, what a record.
Weird to see a band make such a bold statement like making their record a sequel to their most popular one and actually following up on what that entails?
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You are the hammer, I am the nail
building a house in the fire on the hill
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23.08.2021 - 15:27
musclassia

Written by DeliciousDishes on 23.08.2021 at 11:36

I remember not being hugely into the Fix The Error single when it came out (I guess I was just in a different mood), so I didn't expect all that much from this one. Blew me away on first listen already though, what a record.
Weird to see a band make such a bold statement like making their record a sequel to their most popular one and actually following up on what that entails?


Musical sequels in general feel quite unnecessary, and oftentimes end up being so; the main exception I can think of is the Metropolis 2 album by Dream Theater using the story of the first song to make a great album. However, BTBAM are consummate professionals, so I was optimistic they would do well; I'm just pleasantly surprised they did this well
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23.08.2021 - 15:51
Fallen Ghost
Craft Beer Geek
It's remarkable how similar the song structure is comparing (B) The Decade of Statues and The Double Helix Of Extinction. This IS really Colors II! Cool album that will take some time to grow I think. Parallax III next?
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