32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Yet another magnificent work of art.,
This review is from: The Great Misdirect (Audio CD)
Between the Buried and Me has, yet again, set the bar for progressive metal.
This album is "short," offering only six songs, with the first track being somewhat of an "intro" even though it's the length of a standard song on another album. But the next five tracks give you more than enough to chew on, as the album still boasts an impressive 60 minute length.
BTBAM takes another direction with this album, proving they refuse to ever settle down and release a "Colors: the sequel" or "Alaska part II." If their S/T album was raw, if The Silent Circus was brutal, if Alaska was cold and magnificent and if Colors was whimsical and a bit psychotic, then The Great Misdirect is textured, cohesive and, at risk of sounding cliche, entirely epic.
Track 1 - Mirrors - 3:37
This track is slow, melodic, haunting and all in all a pretty laid back song. no screaming, no shred, just a relaxed, meandering tune that sets the mood nicely for...
Track 2 - Obfuscation - 9:15
This is as close to "classic" BTBAM as this album gets. Ferocious intro, brutal vocals, shredding leads, etc. etc. The song begins heavy and continues the theme until 2:30, when it breaks into a short teaser of a clean melodic breakdown, only to revert back to brutality and bounce back and forth between clean and heavy tonalities until about 5:00, when the noise collapses and the song enters a Joe Satriani-esque guitar-led melodic segment that is about as tonally perfect as music can get. The song finishes up with some already-classic vocal lines and more general awesome heaviness.
Track 3 - Disease, Injury, Madness - 11:03
This beast begins with some classic blastbeats, death metal growls and shredding guitars, and reminds me a little of some of the grim, straight-forward segments on Alaska or even The Silent Circus. Killer syncopated drum/guitar work lead into a very long, melodic and beautiful clean guitar/vocal segment at 1:50 that lasts until a gut-punching re-entry of metal around 4:50. At 6:35 there's a great guitar lick that sounds like something that would be in a Quentin Tarentino movie, leading into a southern/classic rock-style guitar solo and a long musical segment that almost sounds like it could be on a Doors or Pink Floyd album. But right when you thought it was going to end without a bang...
Track 4 - Fossil Genera - A Feed from Cloud Mountain - 12:10
Get ready for some fun that sounds like it was pulled directly from Colors but then elaborated on heavily - a wickedly evil carnival sounding intro, creepy vocals, and some background sound effects that sound like they're from a combination of the movies Saw and Beetlejuice. But right around 2:00 it breaks into a little bit more focused, yet still evil/haunting sounding metal, with some killer dual leads and syncopated drum shred that will make you shiver just a bit. Fast forward to about 8:00, when all of the metal awesomeness melts into a classic BTBAM instrumental break, with some memorable vocal lines that rise into an almost Radiohead buildup of vocals, keyboards and guitars. The song ends with a pretty piano line that is a nice seque into...
Track 5 - Desert of Song - 5:33
The second shortest song on the album, still coming in at five and a half minutes, this song is a true BTBAM first. This song is heavily inspired by 70s/80s/90s progressive rock and for the first time since The Silent Circus, features all clean vocals and zero shred. Certain parts are eerily similar to Pink Floyd, but in the famously unique BTBAM fashion. This is a beautiful song and I anticipate it will rapidly become one of my all-time BTBAM favorites just because of its significant departure from standard BTBAM stylings.
Track 6 - Swim to the Moon - 17:53 (!!)
This song might as well be a full-length album on its own. The astonishing length is matched only by the fact that it is not a gimmick - this is a nearly 18 minute long song that is worth every second of the listen. The musicianship is glorious. The production is flawless and makes the music so incredibly visual you feel more like you're watching a horror movie than you are listening to music. This song is way too long to describe in detail, but as expected, it features every tenet of BTBAM's musicianship, with a first-time-ever full-blown drum solo that will make most drummers (myself included) feel a little queasy about their future behind the kit. All I'll say is that this song has some of the best metal, the best drumming, the best vocals, the best keyboard and the best guitar shreddery you've ever heard from BTBAM.
From here, I honestly don't know where BTBAM will go. I've watched them condense (and yet expand) from a blisteringly heavy metalcore band into a progressive metal machine and beyond, and this album is the culmination of everything I've heard from them in the past seven years. My guess is that they'll take it an entirely different direction - this album is like taking the concept of White Walls and applying it to an entire album, but because of the need to keep each song somewhat cohesive, the album lacks some of the technical juxtaposition I had come to love from Alaska and Colors. Songs like Sun of Nothing, Ants in the Sky, All Bodies and Alaska feel like they are somewhat distant from the songs on The Great Misdirect. While I feel that the composition of The Great Misdirect is an expansion of the theory of BTBAM, the songs themselves are a condensation of what used to be a painfully mathematical and highly technical death metal band. Without the song "Obfuscation" and a few segments from other songs, this album would be almost entirely progressive/classic metal (with the BTBAM twist of course), lacking some of the more typical but still enjoyable metalcore brutality that was 75 percent of The Silent Circus and at least 50 percent of Alaska.
All in all, this is the kind of album that deserves the title "masterpiece" because of its cohesiveness. From cover to cover it feels like a solid, smooth, heavy ball of lead, with no protrusion distracting from the whole. Each song feels like a massive planet and the album as a whole feels like a universe. If you enjoy metal and have an open mind, this album will not fail you.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 26, 2009 6:29:33 PM PDT
Jonathon M. Rose says:
Good review... although a little less than 18 minutes isn't really that long by prog standards...
Posted on Oct 27, 2009 1:13:35 PM PDT
well said...i think this record is top notch all around. i really cant find anything wrong with it. but i mean really, its btbam...to me, they're the most exciting band today. they never disappoint.
Posted on Mar 5, 2010 7:02:37 PM PST
David Lashelle says:
great review...if the bass where any better in this album i dont know what id do...so much top notch fast moving bass lines
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