This next review is the complete opposite of my last review. A word of warning to my readers before I even start this post: If you are not a fan of technical death metal, then this next review might be a bitter pill to swallow, and might be worthy of a skip. To be honest, technical death metal is not my cup of tea, but for many reasons, I enjoy listening to the band Between the Buried and Me.
Hailing from North Carolina, Between the Buried and Me features Tommy Giles Rogers on vocals/keyboard, Paul Waggoner on lead guitar, Dustie Waring on guitar, Dan Briggs on bass guitar, and Blake Richardson on drums. Although they originally were considered a metalcore band in their early years, their sound has evolved to a much more progressive and technical metal. Lasting just under an hour, “The Great Misdirect” is easily their greatest album, and has quickly become one of my favorite metal albums.
As I’ve said earlier, “The Great Misdirect” contains its fair share of growls, screams, heavy riffs and drumbeats. This album may not be suited for most of my readers, but for those who are interested in finding new music despite the genre, this album will make for an interesting listen. Richardson is an absolute beast on the drums, creating entirely unique and technical drum beats that I haven’t heard on any other album in my iTunes library. Waring plays a great rhythm to Waggoner’s interesting guitar solos that tend to shift from heavy to bluesy many times in each song. Briggs also provides some awesome bass solos that come close to blowing out my car speakers in the songs “Disease, Injury, Madness” and “Fossil Genera.” Rogers has the amazing talent of switching between harsh vocals to clean falsettos without missing a beat, and at the same time contributing a subtle keyboard rhythm. Each member of this band is very talented, and complements each other with ease.
Occurring several times in this album, “The Great Misdirect” contains drastic shifts in tempo and sound, a method that is not often used in heavier albums. The songs “Mirrors” and “Desert of Song” are infinitely softer than the rest of the album (in fact, softer than most of their prior work), and contain beautiful moments of delayed guitar and clean vocals. Inserted in the remaining songs are these breaks from the insanity as well. Usually following a rapid tempo decrease, some of my favorite moments are these soft interludes and bridges. Acting as a chance for the listener to catch their breath, I appreciate and understand their importance in the overall theme and sound of the album.
The clean sound is nice and pleasant, but there can’t be a metal album without some heavy moments. “The Great Misdirect” does not fail here. The brutal introduction to the song “Disease, Injury, Madness” is reminiscent of their previous albums, but provides the platform which evolves into their updated and progressive sound. Easily the best song on the album, “Disease, Injury, Madness” is filled with deep, powerful bass pedal hits and heavy guitar riffs. The last song on the album “Swim to the Moon” clocks in at 18 minutes of experimental and progressive noise. Considered a prequel to their next two albums, this song contains some of the greatest riffs in their discography. From a guest vocalist, to endless guitar doodling, and a beautifully executed reprise of the introduction as the album draws to a close, I always get goosebumps as I follow along with the concept.
Speaking about concept, the story and direction of “The Great Misdirect” is by far the best thing about this album. As a sucker for concept albums, I immediately found and read through the lyrics, searching for the deeper meaning of this album. Written entirely by the creative and ingenious mind of Tommy Giles Rogers, the lyrics are rich with meaning and depth. Each song can be interpreted in multiple ways, and can have a different meaning to each listener. As a fan of conspiracy theory stories, I can easily follow one of the accepted concepts of someone blinded by the truth, or someone being a pawn in a political game. Without turning political, I am truly inspired and in awe of the in-depth nature of the lyrics. The song “Obfuscation” is riddled with thought-provoking lyrics:
“As humans we could never be content with knowing all / Yet we can’t be content with the fact that our brains will never know / A mental surgery / A never ending journey, a technological drawback / Pushing us further from our natural minds.” (source)
Each song contains lyrics that are interesting, intense, and imaginative. I absolutely love to take an active approach to each song, hypothesizing the many interpretations of each song. An absolutely stunning album, “The Great Misdirect” becomes a different album to me with every listen.
I recommend “The Great Misdirect” to those of you who are into the harder stuff. From bands like The Human Abstract, The Contortionist, Periphery, and Animals as Leaders, you can’t go wrong with this album. Between the Buried and Me are currently working on a new album, which you can check out their progress on their website or Twitter page. If you are into this album, I would also suggest their newest albums “The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues” and “The Parallax II: Future Sequence,” a pair of concept albums featuring dimensional space travel.