Chrysalis Ordalias

Full disclosure- I’ve completely lost interest in Between the Buried and Me. Starting with The Great Misdirect, I just haven’t got into the material and I’m less thrilled with each release. I own the Parallax duo and  Coma Ecliptic , but frankly I have net even given them a full listen and I don’t even own either of 2018s Automata releases. Luckily Journal is here to replace them.

I loved 2011 Unlorja, and the 7 year wait has been worth while as the band continues the style of Dillenger Escape Plan spazziness, Brazen Bull  early The End tech overload and BTBAM’s proggy shred-tastic arpeggio  avalanche.

To say this is an ambitious release would be like saying Word War I was ‘a little bit of a kerfuffle’. This is next level ambitious, at times, exasperatingly so, as there are very few steady constant riffs or moments to recall or tap your feet to as its essentially a 50 minute solo and jam session, but holy fuck is it skilled. Jaw droppingly so in fact. Guitarists Joe Van Houten and Tony Juvinall, are simply stunning, taking center stage from drummer Justin Tvetan and the session vocalists TJ Joubert (With Wolves) Drew Winter  (Shadow of the Colussus) and Akoni Berman. Van Houten also provides vocals and wrote all the lyrics. How ambitious are the lyrics? There is a fucking novel that you can order as a companion to the CD!!! Not a few pages, a 143 page book!

Describing such a release is hard, it’s not about moments or riffs, but a …Journey of sorts.. the story being told by stammering drums, stop-start squealing riffs, shredding leads and complete and total controlled chaos. I can’t point to a song that jumps out at me, as the whole affair truly jumps out. That said, a few moments of sheer brilliant lucidity spring out a little further within the tracks, such as surprisingly brutal  “Calamity Smile”, BTBAM shimmer and shatter of”Tyrannical Enrapture”, dulcet kaleidoscopic chaos of “Duplicitous Moonlight”, breathtaking duality of “Polyentrophy” or the crystalline personal favorite “Forsake in Umbra”, the album’s shortest but most melodic track with a mind-melting bridge and lead that will cramp air guitarist’s fingers in a minute.

But when taken as a whole experience, the album is just simply a mind-boggling, brilliant, if a very niche release. But true musician and aficionados should appreciate what is going on here. Those wanting a quick song for a road trip should look elsewhere.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
November 21st, 2018


  1. Commented by: Loïc Charlier

    Love this band. I was so thrilled to find out they had a new record coming out and pretty much listened to it daily for the past two seasons.

    You describe it pretty accurately, I must say. Guess it’s quite a niche release indeed. Haven’t read much about it online. They are a self-producing DIY type of band after all. Fairly low key in general. Still it strikes me as odd because this instantly became one of my all-time favourite records. Excellent musicians, great songwriting, immensely ambitious stuff, and yet they remain largely under everyone’s radar.

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