Sound — 9
If you haven't heard Between The Buried And Me Before, and you're a fan of the metalcore genre, you're missing out. If you're a fan of heavy music at all, and you haven't heard the genius that is BTBAM, you're missing out, actually. Not just tremolo riffs or breakdowns, BTBAM is an amalmagation of progressive music, hardcore, metalcore, jazz, and rock. You will definitely hear bits and pieces of Pink Floyd or Queen sticking out on this record, sense some Mike Patton influence, and recognize the boys going back to their North Carolinian roots on one particular track. Listening to their albums on a chronological time-line, the band's progression is undeniable, and was supremely expected on Colors. That said, this amount was hard to believe, and indefinitely sets the bar for this genre (if it is a single genre). The band's last album, Alaska, was very much chastised for it's production. The guitars, drums, everything, seemed to be done wrong. With Colors, these problems have ultimately been resolved. The mix, once again by North Carolina's Jamie King, is fantastic, and gives all parts of the record their rightful displays among the others. Paul Waggoner's technical guitar work is untouched, once again, and the "wankery" has been toned down a bit to fit the more mature sound of Colors. It seems that rhythm guitarist, if you'd like to belittle him like that, Dusty Waring, has had a larger role in every aspect of playing and writing material. Blake Richardson has solidified his place in the band at the helm of percussion, and any doubts that were had at the release of Alaska are gone. Myself being a bassist, I'd like to go off on a tangent and exclaim to everyone about the talent of the group's bassist, Dan Briggs from Erie. But I'll keep the ass-kissing to a minimum and just say that to ignore the complete package he offers as a metal bass player is to not see the group in it's whole light. And then we have Tommy Rogers, the powerful, full-fledged vocalist and pianist of the band. His keyboarding stands out more on this album than on any other, and complements the music in subtle undertones that go un-noticed even after a large number of listens. His vocals, hard to believe when you see his frame, have evolved with the band's music, and not only his familiar growl, but his singing. Obviously trying to channel his idol, Freddie Mercury, in both aspects of his musicianship, the front-man rounds out this incredibly solid line-up particularly well. Crushing, uplifting, and all-powerful, Between the Buried and Me's sound has changed in all the necessary places, and risen to new heights.
Lyrics — 9
Tommy's piano playing and varied vocals often over-shadow his lyrical ability, which isn't surprising, especially in this type of music when lyrics are hardly audible. His lyrics have never really been written in a traditional narrative sense, rather in first-person, giving details and such, and describing the situations the listener is in. I won't go into too much detail as I'm going by ear on this, but to sit with the lyrics and the CD turned up to 11 doesn't disappoint. What would sound cheesy on paper turns into an uplifting melody, or a melancholy chorus, ala old school hardcore.
Overall Impression — 10
To go through this in a song by song manner is to ruin the experience, in a way, for those who haven't listened yet. The album fleshes itself out through it's eight tracks, and is one large, hour-long song. The length is appropriate for the amount of diversity on the disc, and isn't surprising for this band. The opening is clear and ringing, as is the ending, and what happens between the intro and outro is a chaotic blend of progressive metal that needs to be heard by any fan of heavy music. I was certainly surprised with the first chord, but when the familiar mix chimed in, I was taken to the familiarity I'd been waiting for since 2005. If this album was stolen or lost, I wouldn't beat the one who took it, but simply encourage them to listen to it as I have, and I'd most certainly purchase another copy. This is nothing short of the band's magnum opus, and is what fans wanted and more. As much as I love this album, to give it a straight ten seems un-fair to other albums that are great in their own right, so I leave you with this.