Sound — 9
Between the Buried and Me's self-titled debut is an underrated classic. It's constantly overshadowed by The Silent Circus and Alaska, which are masterpieces in their own right. This album has a different sound, but in a good way. This album was recorded live. Not with an audience, but with the whole band playing together, sans some edits and overdubs. Keeping that in mind, the sound is great. This album has more of a hardcore feel to it, and Tommy uses a different vocal style in this one. It's a little hard to understand, but read the lyrics a few ties over and you're set. Speaking of vocals, the transition between screaming and clean are used flawlessly, never overused. Paul Waggoner on guitar, always a treat. However, don't expect an epic sweep solo ala Selkies. His work on this album is a lot more raw. A different drummer is used in this one, but he still keeps the rhythm and rocks the double bass when needed. The bass is more prominent in this album that the other two. Especially the breakdown in "Aspirations". Overall, taking into consideration how this album was recorded, the sound is fantastic.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are another strong point. The opening track, "More of Myself To Kill", is from the perspective of someone who is already deceased, and for once, feels innocent. The clean vocals a minute and a half in ("My memory is the only thing keeping the old tears in my eyes") are a very good addition. The second track, Arsonist, is about a church in Kansas that protests against homosexuals. The lyrics reveal the hypocrisy of the church. "Aspirations" is about improving your life through dedication and hard work. Possibly the albums best. "What Have We Become" is pretty self-explanatory just by looking at the title. It's about the human species as a whole, and how destructive we can be. "Fire For a Dry Mouth" is a personal song about a backstabbing friend. "Naked By the Computer" is probably my favorite, lyrics wise. It's about losing the love of your life and spending the rest of your life regretting it. "The Use of a Weapon" is am motivating song about changing the world, making a better life for yourself. "Shevanel Cut A Flip" is a classic. It's about dreams and how they are always better than the real world. The lyrics are great and really complement the style of music. Not to mention the clean vocals peppered throughout the album.
Overall Impression — 10
01. More Of Myself To Kill - great opening track, beats you up from the very beginning. Clean guitar part at 1:25 and clean vocals shortly thereafter. Song stays strong throughout. 02. Arsonist - fantastic song. You can feel the anger in this one. Song is just badass. "Now you will receive us, receive the arsonist." 03. Aspirations - epic and moving song. Awesome breakdown at 1:17. Clean guitar and vocals at 3:51. Highlight of the album. 04. What Have We Become - creepy opening, great guitar work throughout the song. Clean guitar ends the song. 05. Fire For A Dry Mouth - kicks your ass from the beginning. The hardest song on the album. 06. Naked By The Computer - clean guitar intro. Distortion hits at:57. Great opening. Haunting clean vocals at 4:53. 07. The Use Of A Weapon - starts off with a bang. Keeps it going until the last minute or so. Great riffs at the end. 08. Shevanel Cut A Flip - what a way to end it. If you heard The Silent Circus wbefore this, the end of this song will sound familiar. Fantastic song, fantastic ending. This is an album that should not be forgotten about. The band showed such promise with this one, and they blew everyone away with what followed. The only con I can think of is that there is only 8 tracks. The album as a whole clocks in at 42 minutes, so it's by no means short. If it were stolen, I'd buy it again without hesitation. Just buy it.