Between the Buried and Me
The Great Misdirect

You know its been a great year for metal when the fifth album from Between the Buried and Me arrives with relatively little fanfare, takes two weeks for me to review and wont be an immediate shoo in for my album of the year like 2007s Colors and 2005s Alaska.

Not that The Great Misdirect isn’t amazing, It is. It has all the trappings that makes the band one the must creative and brilliant bands in all of music today (of any genre); scattershot, spastic mathcore, slick, progressive harmonies and solos, and rangy, epic songs littered with languid King Crimson, Pink Floyd injections. But something about the album isn’t bringing me back like either Alaska or Colors, and I’m not sure if its the oodles of other great metal in my Ipod or the actual album itself – either way, its not a great sign of the album’s immediacy. Now, staying power and growing on me- that’s another point of conjecture, because once dust settles on 2009, I’m certain The Great Misdirect will grow on me and be hailed as classic.

Further developing the adventurous, progressive and experimental elements of Colors, especially in the synth/keys dept, The Great Misdirect, to my surprise still retains some metal teeth, but the album is noticeably less snarling, blistering than its predecessors. However, the mix and balance of Paul Waggoner’s frolicking arpeggios, Tommy Rogers silky croons and rasps, blasting stop start hardcore and a wide array of hazy, jazzy and often dreamy tangents is so supine and liquid, listeners won’t notice the slightly lessened metal side. And that’s because its all so well crafted and placed, superb tracks like the classic BTBAM styled, arpeggio filled “Obfuscation” (9 minutes), the jazzy Hammond breakdown and Muppet-ish blast beat of “Disease, Injury, Madness” (11 minutes), the circus like hues of “Fossil Genera – A Feed from Cloud Mountain” (12 minutes) switch so fluidly from raging metal to trance like psychedelics and programming, you wont notice how little balls out metal there actually is.

The knock on Between the Buried and Me has always been the songwriting that simply doest not allow the casual listener to absorb those stellar shifts and shifts for more than a nano-second, and that hasn’t changed. But that is half the bands allure, and patient listener will appreciate the cacophony for the carefully scripted and played brilliance it actually is. Impatient metal heads however may bore of the increased psychedelics and laid back mood of opener “Mirrors”, wandering mid section of “Fossil Genera – A Feed from Cloud Mountain”, pure acoustics of “Desert of Song” and truly epic 18 minute closer “Swim to the Moon” despite its last half being close to as good as anything the band has ever penned.

That all being said, you can’t help feel that in a few years (or even months), much like Gorguts’ Obscura, The Great Misdirect will suddenly click with everyone and be hailed as a true masterpiece, and I would tend to agree; the musicianship is simply awe inspiring and the song wring may simply be too ahead of the curve for the current musical climate. Sometimes  (especially of “Swim to the Moon” which makes “Sun of Nothing” and “White Walls” sound like Six Feet Under) you get the impression the The Great Misdirect was written for ears not of this earth, but some super intelligent otherworldly race with 3 brains an 7 ears that will discover the album on earth 100os of years from now and hail it as a galaxy changing discovery.

In fact, just while sitting here listening to it for the 13th time and writing the review, the album has already climbed up my year end list several spots – its that kind of album as the magnificence just unfurls which each listen.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
November 13th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: Staylow

    I think this album is absolutely brilliant, and probably their best yet. I loved Alaska, but for some reason Colors never fully clicked with me. Though now that this one has blown me away so much, I think I should dig out and spend some time with Colors to see if it sticks. Good review Erik.


  2. Commented by: AARONIUS

    Great review dude, and you’re opinion is very similar to mine. This album is definately a grower, and it hasn’t really clicked with me yet, but I think it will be similar to Colors in that respect, although I think the new one is even more artsy or abstract, whatever you want to call it.

    I have no doubt that these guys are STUNNING musicians, but their songwriting is going to be the key sticking point for most people. They’re one of those bands that will always be too proggy for the metal kids and too metal for the prog nerds.

    Definately in the top 5 for the year for me though.


  3. Commented by: vegard

    a grower for sure, but i have a good feeling that this one will be my number one before the end of the year. i kinda thought a few parts were much more like something from the silent circus or alaska, my two favorite btbam albums.


  4. Commented by: Cynicgods

    I’m a sucker for difficult prog so musically it’s not a grower for me. It’s a grower in the vocal department because I have never liked Tommy Rogers’ harsh vox very much. This is one of the few bands where I let the vocals slide because of the musicianship involved.


  5. Commented by: Shane

    They never have the best cover art. Wtf is that?


  6. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    Don’t really get this band. the urge to be “prog” here outshines the desire to write songs that can be followed. no thanks.


  7. Commented by: faust666

    i’m going to agree with Nick’s post.. i’ll continue to listen to real metal written for my ears and not extra terrestials..

    Very well written review though..


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