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4.5 out of 5 stars
102
Format: Audio CD|Change
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Showing 1-10 of 17 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 102 reviews
on February 17, 2015
This album is by far the heaviest album put out by BTBAM. This is the first album of their's that i heard so i love it. This is by far so much more complex tban any ofther ocfering & it is a glimpse of what is to come. The super fast songs that are blistering are All Bodies,Alaska,Croakies & Boatshoes,The Primer and Autodidact. Not saying the other songs are less heavy in awesomeness but they are more experiemntal. There are 3 interludes Breathe In Breathe Out,Medecine Wheel & Laser Speed that are just little spacy trips. This album also had the most memorable,probably the most memorablr and uniquely beautiful song ever written & that is Selkies:The Endless Obsession. Nice melloe intros to heavy assaults on the senses,double chainsaw guitars and some of the coolest bass use i have ever heard. The keys and drums just blend all together so well with Tommy's voice. Some of the best songs ever recorded by this band are on this album. If your new to the band then you will love this album,start here like i did and check out the ways they experimemt with their sound. Their tempo shifts are so unique and incredible i love it. As you hear them from the first album on to this you will notice progression from 1 album to the next. My favorites are Selkies,Croakies & Boatshoes,Backwards Marathon,Autodidact,The Primer,All Bodies,Alaska & Medecine Wheel. Hell there all 5* songs the album is killer from start to finish. The cd takes you on an up & down crazy ride that is a musical experience not just a listening. Get this their self titled,Great Misdirect,Silent Circus,Colors,Parallax part 1+2 and Anatomy of... go listen to em all.
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on March 16, 2012
I actually would prefer to give this Cd 4.5 stars. It's better than just a 4. (But not QUITE a 5.)

While it seems like most reviewers of btbam consider "Colors" to be their masterpiece, in my eyes "Alaska" is superior. The sound is a bit more raw and punchy, which fits the music better in my opinion. There are more super heavy, crunchy, satisfying riffs. While "Colors" definitely shows more experimentation, and a really amazing musical range, Alaska is better at being a cohesive, powerful album. The songs are a bit less chaotic. There is more of an identity for each song, and there are parts that just KILL with power. I just feel like the heavy/tasty breakdowns are so much more awesome and infectious than a lot of what "Colors" has to offer. "All Bodies" opens the album with a kick in the teeth groove, with a great contrast in brutal and fast to chunkier and heavier riffs, which continues through the title track and "Croakies and Boatshoes". The next song, "Selkies:The Endless Obsession", is, in my opinion, BTBAM's greatest song. It starts out with an almost 'exorcist' type riff which sounds like it has voivodish/iron maidenish influences also. Then the song navigates through ambient melody and gets to the crazy heavy fast insanity that the band is known for. Soon after that, the middle part goes into a spacy section that reminds me of Voivod again (Dimension Hatross-ish, which is my favorite album from that band), and then breaks down into an absolutely beautiful mournful section that shows touches of Opeth. By mentioning these bands, I am not implying that BTBAM is derivative in any way. Great music has a way of recalling emotions you got from listening to other great music. I believe that this band has a wealth of influences which helped to mold them into something completely different and original.

The mood of the end of the great "Selkies" is continued by a short interlude called "Breathe In, Breathe Out", before the madness continues with "Roboturner". I also feel like "Alaska" is better for this reason, it spends more time on each "mood", developing it before changing. You get a nice little trip through beauty and melody through "Selkies" and "Breathe", so that by the time "Roboturner" comes around you are ready for some crushing speed and power again. Near the middle/end of this song, there is a super intense breakdown that starts with a bass/ambient guitar chatter section that reminds me of something off of Godflesh's "Streetcleaner"... and then opens up with the guitar, into an amazing power riff that just gives me chills. It is damn near orgasmic.

Next up is "Backwards Marathon" with all kinds of crazy tempos and headspinning riffage. The middle of the song continues the roller coaster ride that "Alaska" is, as you are transported to another other-worldy hypnotic section. It's brilliant, really, how the band manages to weave these different sounds and moods into a true work of art. Again, the mood is continued into another song, "Medicine Wheel" which almost has echoes of Tool, or maybe Perfect Circle. I'll be honest, the next two songs, "The Primer" and "Autodidact" don't stand out quite as much as the rest of the album, which is probably why they are near the end, to add a little bit more length to the Cd without interrupting the better songs. The last song is a little jazzy instrumental called "Laser Speed", which I happen to love... more rigid metalheads might think "what the hell man" but people like that probably aren't going to be big fans of this band anyway. I think it's an awesome ending to a great album!

After all of the compliments I have given the band in this review, I do want to mention that I am not a huge fan of the full on screaming that the singer does a little bit more than I would like, but that is just my opinion. I like the heavier and lower growling he does a bit more. When he actually SINGS, he is amazing. Personally, I wish he would do a lot more of that. Honestly though, there isn't as much of the nails-on-chalkboard screeching on this cd compared to "Colors", which is just another reason why I like "Alaska" better. I find the vocals to be more tolerable on this Cd, because there are also more deeper growls and maybe a little more actual singing. Regardless, the music is so incredible that I would be able to overlook the more grating screaming anyway... thankfully it just isn't as bad as it is on "Colors".

Overall I really do love this Cd. If you are a fan of BTBAM and you have not heard this one yet, do yourself a favor and pick it up! As is the case with all of the music from this band, it takes a few listens before it's greatness takes root, but once it does it keeps growing on you. It's worth it in the end, it gets better and better with every listen, and it is a rewarding experience to behold.
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on February 8, 2007
For a lot of bands, being memorable means writing inoffensive, cookie-cutter hit singles with a few irresistible hooks and huge choruses that listeners can hum along with when they hear it playing from a local rock radio station. But North Carolina's quintet, Between The Buried And Me, spit on that rule book, shred it, and throw its remains out the window, opting instead to be memorable the old-fashioned way -- with brilliant songwriting, top-notch musicianship, and a sound all their own.

BTBAM's junior release, 2005's "Alaska" (a second for Victory Records), is the ultimate style/genre blender, mixing together hardcore and metalcore, technical death metal, and grindcore with a heavy mathcore influence, and even a fair amount of progressive metal and free jazz elements. (In other words, imagine Dillinger Escape Plan, Necrophagist, Cephalic Carnage, Meshuggah, Dream Theater, and Neurosis all playing at once, and you'll get the general idea.) Thus, this record isn't a snug fit for any one genre, but every influence can be heard equally. It perfectly balances just the right amounts of harmony, dissonance, restrained tempos, off-the-wall lunacy, head-spinning technicality, crazy time signatures, turn-on-a-dime tempo changes, crushing heaviness, and infectious melody, making it one of the most colorful, complex, intricate, engrossing, well-balanced, and textured heavy music releases of recent memory.

The album begins with one of its most meticulous and symphonic numbers, "All Bodies." It starts with a forceful, deeply grooving rhythm made up of muscular, churning riffs, a gluey bass line, and pounding drums. The song gets noticeably more melodic as it progresses, first with a handful of nicely wailing guitar solos (sprinkled into the back of the mix), then with an extremely surprising (and brief) spot of soulful, operatic vocals and spiraling arpeggio guitars. Then, the title track opens with a winding, keyboard-sounding guitar solo before segueing into driving, jackhammer blast beats, and a fiery, crunching lead that plows over everything in sight. The grindcore influence is especially apparent on the brutal third track, "Croakies and Boatshoes," which is highlighted by blasting drums and harsh, grindcore-worthy pig-squeal vocals.

The mostly instrumental "Selkies: The Endless Obsession," is the record's crown jewel, and is worth the price of admission alone (heck, I'd even say it's almost worth dying for!) It's a VERY docile, ethereal, and mindblowing piece which utilizes fantastic harmonies and melodies throughout. The mazy synthesizers, light-as-a-feather acoustic strums, humming bass line, slow drum beat, and angelic singing at the beginning of the song eventually fade out, and two ultra-melodic and pristine solos become the song's main highlight. The first solo is entrancing, dreamy, jazzy, and all-around amazing, and the second is a spectacular, jaw-dropping, five-string sweep solo that lasts for about a minute and evokes the glory days of Megadeth or Yngwie Malmsteen. These two guitar solos have got to be among the best ever recorded by any band, bar none!

Following "Selkies," "Breathe In, Breathe Out" is a pretty acoustic interlude that continues in the same heavenly melodic vein as that wonderful epic, but the next two bludgeoning tracks clearly show Between The Buried And Me's grindcore influence coming into play. The immensely b-b-b-brutal "Roboturner," scares the listener half to death (its manic guitar shredding, bouncy, walloping drums, and jarring, skin-crawling screams really pin your ears back); and the wild, off-the-map "Backwards Marathon," is bursting with careening leads and positively maniacal vocals.

Then, things briefly slow back down again for some more b-e-a-utiful ambience ("Medicine Wheel"), but tracks nine and ten, "The Primer" and "Autodidact," furiously erupt into scorching, Swedish death metal-tinged onslaughts. Finally, the set closes with another acoustic ditty, "Laser Speed," but this time a rhythmic, Brazilian-sounding drum beat also comes into the mix.

Although several of these songs have a nice, propulsive groove, "Alaska" features too many weird tempos and breakneck rhythm shifts for the album (as a whole) to lock onto a catchy, cohesive groove. Thus, be warned that "Alaska" isn't a typical extreme music album, so it will take several attentive listens to get used to, absorb, and appreciate fully. But don't worry, your patience will surely pay off -- "Alaska" is an exhilarating, captivating, and all-around excellent album with a wealth of contagious material that will stick with you for days. Also, this album proves Between The Buried And Me are definitely one of the best, smartest, and most innovative, realized, accomplished, interesting, and unique metal bands of this decade.
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on September 15, 2010
It's an excellent album, and I do love this band.

However... as this review is about an Amazon purchase, I do feel a need to comment.

The title implies that it is a cd album which also includes a 'bonus DVD.' There was NO DVD included in this case. In fact, there is no place within for one, and there was no mention of a DVD on any of the outside shrinkwrap. So, this leads me to believe that for some reason Amazon has it mislabelled.

At first I thought they sent me the wrong item, as in perhaps they sent just the cd and not the cd/DVD combo. But no, even the packing slip mentions 'bonus DVD' after the title, and a search on Amazon for a different version of Alaska brings up only the mp3 download version of this album.

So, if you're buying this because you're excited you may get to see BTBM recorded live, or videos or something, don't bother. If you're okay with the fact that this is just a single cd, then buy it (it does say 2 cds included in the description).
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on February 14, 2006
You definatly need an open mind to enjoy this music and the same can be said about many modern metal bands. I personally find it refreshing to have such creativity and versatility coming from American bands now after hearing all the teen pop crap that is so bankable in this country today. ALASKA is mainly what you'd call grindcore. Lots of polyrythyms and quick meter changes that may be a little disconcerting for fans of more predictable verse, chorus style music. Fortunately the album has really good production quality to it so its not muddy or unintelligable at any point. There is also a compliment of melodic sections to give you a bit of a break from the intensity every now and then. These range from classic progressive sounding parts to neo-classical sounding duel guitar harmonies that really keep you with the music. The vocals are death metal growls along with some erie but cool clean singing; all of which is nicely blended with the music . Not way to loud like Shai Hulud. Bottom line is that if you like bands like Dillenger Escape Plan and Locust you'll probably like this just as much if not more.
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on August 25, 2017
My all time favorite song is alaska
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on September 13, 2014
Wish i bought it 4 years ago when i got back into them. Great album, great price and I was told it may take up to 3 weeks and yet 6 days later I had it. Stop wasting time and buy it ASAP. I only knew of 2 tracks i loved before i listened to the whole album twice in a row to realize the ENTIRE ALBUM IS A MASTERPIECE! All Bodies, Alaska, SELKIES, Roboturner, Backwards Marthon, THE PRIMER, AUTODIDACT! ALL EARGASMS!!!
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on July 11, 2013
BTBAM is one of the greatest band to ever exist with all the different melodies, keys and tones they can play. I think Colors is a slightly better album than this one but this one is great none the less.
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on June 23, 2015
One of my favorite albums. The instrumentals are so good.
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on April 1, 2015
So great from start to finish. A must have for any fan of BTBAM
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