The Great Misdirect review by Between the Buried and Me

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  • Released: Oct 27, 2009
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.4 (215 votes)
Between the Buried and Me: The Great Misdirect
10

Sound — 9
Let's not make it an elephant in this room this album will be compared to Colors', the album that catapulted Between The Buried And Me into a whole new stratosphere of experimentation and exposure. Saliva-drenched CD players are being turned on as we speak, with each listener confident that the band will take the exact direction which suits their tastes best. The Backtrack'-meets-Viridian' crowd-pleaser Mirrors' only builds this anticipation, but getting into the meat of the disc requires a couple of precursory listens so that pants can be soiled and saliva can dry.

So rather than starting with first impressions, it's best to start with something more analytical. Fundamentally similar to Colors', The Great Misdirect' runs on the fuel of riffs; fast, slow, long, short, dissonant, diatonic...riffs of all shapes and sizes. Complete mismatches, you'd think but these constantly morphing counts and keys do somehow make sense. On Colors', most of the music seemed to be a continuous, natural progression of whatever happened to flow out of the sessions but on this one, the madness seems very calculated. Alarming, considering the amount of wacky' fun to be found on Fossil Genera' or Swim To The Moon', but this certainly is an accomplished effort. Blake Richardson's drumming seems more secure within this framework; rather than drumming to keep up with the creative flurry of ideas, he drums to signal them.

At its most extreme (the beginning of Disease, Injury, Madness', for example) it becomes more difficult to discern who the focus is supposed to be on, but the soft moments which follow those climaxes thrive on that balance. The exception is Desert Of Song', where Richardson and bassist Dan Briggs take a back seat, and let the vocal melody work with the bluesy guitars to create a tune that is simple on a basal level yet very much in line with BTBAM's style of harmony and their knack for dynamic coherency.

Lyrics — 8
You'd think a song like Swim To The Moon' would have its fair share of Syd Barrett-esque psychedelia, but The Great Misdirect' is actually far more down-to-earth than its predecessor. No all you can eat trumpets, no funny-tasting teeth and no swollen ankles; due to the erratic nature of the music and Tommy Rogers' delivery over it, the words are completely without structure but they are an awful lot easier to follow this time. Various theories for the betterment of mankind are presented; be it Obfuscation's philosophical wonderings, Disease, Injury, Madness's vicarious diatribe or Swim To The Moon's more personal reflection, The Great Misdirect' is a gripping collection of texts.

Tommy Rogers' vocals are often an underrated factor in the power behind his band's music. Without them, parts of this album would be like a slightly beefed version of Dream Theater, rather than a slightly Dream Theater'd version of beef. His job involves feeding grooves and often giving them a pattern which the listener can trace and he makes it happen without fail. His clean vocals, however are not as vital as they have been in the past, only really coming into their own on Desert Of Song'. That can probably be attributed to where they are used on the album; only the chorus of Swim To The Moon', which acts as an anchor for the song, really gives Rogers a big platform from which to display his singing skill. That said, his screams are as good as they have ever been and moments like the end of Obfuscation' give him more than enough of a soapbox in that department.

Overall Impression — 8
Well written, well arranged, well played, well produced...what else is there to say? Well, what this album is missing that made Colors' so phenomenal is a pour-your-heart-out sense of passion. The band are very much into it' but there's no heart strings being pulled, no emotional rollercoaster to give the whole thing a sense of purpose. Unfortunately, it could be argued that the more coherent' layout may be to blame for this. A couple of cheeky Colors' references are hidden in the woodwork their congruency might suggest deeper connections but at the end of the day the overwhelming scale of that album has made it very difficult for this one to be much more than a victory lap. Still, The Great Misdirect' is a quality album from one of metal's most inventive contemporary bands.

67 comments sorted by best / new / date

    ordinary_story
    What an album! Absolute Beast from Start to finish! Just one dissapointment for me though....i miss the sudden jazzy breaks that appeared a whole lot in Colors...It seems that on The Great Misdirect they went for constructing long pieces of music that were either chill or brutal, and thats cool. So while TGM is a great album it lacks the kindof parts that made me jump and go "Holy freaking awesome!"
    El Boyo
    Im only 2 songs into this amazing album and already its put a more than positive impression on me! BTBAM are by far one of the most creative bands in metal, if not of all time for me. They never lack that 'little extra something'. They really do never cease to amaze. I only hope that they get their name heard in more places and more people start to enjoy them as much as i do! Every one of their albums are sick as **** and The Great Misdirect is only adding to their collection of 'sickas****-ness'
    illuminatiano
    we should not compare colors to the great misdirect... as they are both really different from each other, as colors is with alaska, and alaska with the silent circus, and the silent circus from the ST ( thought not as much ). Fantastic album in my opinion, i'd give it a 9/10, I was not disappointed with this album at all.
    deafening
    stop comparing it to colors people, they obviously went in a different direction, but it'll grow on you, trust me. it doesn't have to be "better" than colors, its still amazing! im lovin' it right now
    hairy-southpaw
    OK album, but nothing stands out in the album except for Fossil Genera. Fans, of course, will be in denial that the beloved band that made the epic album known as Colors (which I frikkin love) could not top it and released a less than outstanding album. more like The Great Disappointment. Are we listening to the same album? I thought it was catchier. A lot more going on in this album in my opinion.
    ibanez_6784
    ratm_fan_06 wrote: Outstanding album...but one big thing that bothered me The ending (for Swim to the Moon) WAS HORRIBLE I was thinking, "Did the album honestly just end?" Colors/White Walls had an epic ending, and you knew the album was going to close. 2-3 minutes of great guitar work and then piano to let you catch your breath. I know Colors had more of that 1-song feel to it than this one, but TGM's ending still was a let down But other than that, kick ass album
    well put, out of all of BtBaMs album closers, if id have to list them in order by album, it would be a little bit like 1. Colors (the climatic guitar solos into a subtle piano part at the end of White Walls) 2. Alaska (Laser Speed's lounge stylish music) 3. The Silent Circus (The Need for Repetition going out with a subtle jazzy part, going into random noises (while the drums maintain the jazzy feel), 5 mins of silence, and voila- a bonus track (The Man Land) worth a few chuckles over) 4. S/T (Shevanel Cut a Flip with its near 6 minute long clean parts with some vocals and harmonies) 5. The Great Misdirect (Swim to the Moon could have had a much better album closer if it deserved to be in the Top 3, instead they did a simple closing chord)
    albertg91
    One chord at the end of song ruined an entire album for you? Suck it up pussies. This album absolutely topped colors.
    TylerAOH&A7X
    Colors is possibly tattooed in my heart to be my favorite album of ALL time, but the way i think of The Great Misdirect is that its not just a follow-up to Colors, not at all, its almost like a whole different band playing a whole new album, the sound is so different, and the style is so different, yet still alot the same...alot of the guitars just sound so RAW!! like they were playing their solos in just a few takes, yet its so well produced that the sound quality sounds like someone painted the sound over with 3 coats idunno this is just how i listen to it and NOT get disappointed with it not being just AS good as they did on Colors...theres just so much more to think about with it, and you cant really even give a shit that they didnt top Colors, cuz the bottom line is they CREATED Colors, so why in the hell should they try to please the opinionated "half-breed fans" as i call them that expect something better than the one album in the world that possibly no metal band can ever even IMAGINE again?????
    huevos
    TylerAOH&A7X wrote: Colors is possibly tattooed in my heart to be my favorite album of ALL time, but the way i think of The Great Misdirect is that its not just a follow-up to Colors, not at all, its almost like a whole different band playing a whole new album, the sound is so different, and the style is so different, yet still alot the same...alot of the guitars just sound so RAW!! like they were playing their solos in just a few takes, yet its so well produced that the sound quality sounds like someone painted the sound over with 3 coats idunno this is just how i listen to it and NOT get disappointed with it not being just AS good as they did on Colors...theres just so much more to think about with it, and you cant really even give a shit that they didnt top Colors, cuz the bottom line is they CREATED Colors, so why in the hell should they try to please the opinionated "half-breed fans" as i call them that expect something better than the one album in the world that possibly no metal band can ever even IMAGINE again?????
    You need to listen to maudlin of The well then, my friend. I've stayed away from this release. No real people, but I don't feel like listening to it yet.
    ArchisT
    my theory for the sudden and anti-climactic ending is that btbam will add onto this album with their next one
    kennmi
    love btbam, def. in my top 5 bands of all time. im not a huge fan of bands that just scream all the time with no break in it, so when i first heard selkies, i was hooked on the intro, but then i almost gave up on them when all i heard was growling. good thing i didnt, cause as soon as it hit the clean half and then ended with the epic outro solo, i fell in love. All their albums are amazing, and i cant wait to get this one (being deployed is a bitch). if its even half the album that colors and alaska was, it will still be amazing.
    TylerAOH&A7X
    huevos wrote: TylerAOH&A7X wrote: Colors is possibly tattooed in my heart to be my favorite album of ALL time, but the way i think of The Great Misdirect is that its not just a follow-up to Colors, not at all, its almost like a whole different band playing a whole new album, the sound is so different, and the style is so different, yet still alot the same...alot of the guitars just sound so RAW!! like they were playing their solos in just a few takes, yet its so well produced that the sound quality sounds like someone painted the sound over with 3 coats idunno this is just how i listen to it and NOT get disappointed with it not being just AS good as they did on Colors...theres just so much more to think about with it, and you cant really even give a shit that they didnt top Colors, cuz the bottom line is they CREATED Colors, so why in the hell should they try to please the opinionated "half-breed fans" as i call them that expect something better than the one album in the world that possibly no metal band can ever even IMAGINE again????? You need to listen to maudlin of The well then, my friend. I've stayed away from this release. No real people, but I don't feel like listening to it yet.
    ive heard about 2 songs awhile back when i was more closed minded, ill check em out again, thanks man
    na10tbolt
    First, I'd like to say that I'm not disappointed in this album at all. Colors was excellent but I didn't want a repeat of the exact same thing. TGM kept what was great about Colors (minus the breakneck diversity), and did it a little differently to produce something that was new and familiar at the same time. I love it.
    Dregen
    My god, this album is amazing. And even though it's really stretched out, Swim To The Moon is the best song on the album by FAR. Not only is the guest vocalist ****ing badass, but you gotta admit that the breakdown after the first chorus is brutal. I seriously hated it when I first listened to it, but then I listened to it a second time and I'm like "Wow... This is a masterpiece" Compared to Colors, yes, TGM doesn't have quite as many great amazing sweeps or memorable melodies, but this album is sooo much more consistent. On Colors, the most of the material in between the epic parts were just filler, on TGM it doesn't seem like that at all. I have to say, I like the drums alot more than the guitars on this album. The guitars don't get too much highlight IMO.
    Jon777
    I hate to say it, but I enjoyed Colors MUCH MUCH more. I mean, yeah, TGM is still a great album. And BTBAM (God willing) will always be an amazing band. But it just wasn't as memorable of an album. I agree with Dregen, the guitars don't get much highlight. Same with the bass. I mean... you guys remember Viridian? EPIC bass solo. It even got it's own track. And so many memorable riffs on Colors... like the awesome ending to Ants of the Sky and the very beginning of Prequel to the Sequel. I dunno, I guess I just expected something more... amazing (like Colors).
    xcrunner1
    Am I the only one that saw the compositional improvement in TGM?? If you want the next Viridian, listen to the end of Mirrors.
    come.now.sleep
    great album, loved every song(even ALL of swim to the moon)Loved the diversity and technical work, they definitely put a lot into this album. One thing got me though...out of all comments and reviews, everyone mentioned tommy's clean singing and vocals, especially the chorus of swim to the moon, but no one hit on the best part of the album(vocal-wise), and that would be the end of fossil genera for me, where he hits that crazy falsetto note at the end of the clean section at 8-9 minute mark, somewhere around there. Saw him hit that note live and it blew me away! great album though, good reviews, and nice to see comments where everyone isn't bashing each other, great that we can at least respect opinions around here.
    uninsane_guitar
    ratm_fan_06 wrote: Outstanding album...but one big thing that bothered me The ending (for Swim to the Moon) WAS HORRIBLE I was thinking, "Did the album honestly just end?"
    I couldn't agree more that's the only thing that had me in the least bit disappointed! I was expecting the punch-you-in-the-stomach breakdown of White Wall and then 4 hour long epic guitar solo that culminates into a Dragonforce (sucky ass fakes) humiliating, face melting guitar solo!!! Other than that, Desert of Song beat Viridian for my favorite melodic song by them, I loooove it cuz I'm a fan of some blues and country too so that kinda satisfied me in that area : just proves BTBAM do what they WANT!!!!!
    xGFHx Bass
    uninsane_guitar wrote: ratm_fan_06 wrote: Outstanding album...but one big thing that bothered me The ending (for Swim to the Moon) WAS HORRIBLE I was thinking, "Did the album honestly just end?" I couldn't agree more that's the only thing that had me in the least bit disappointed! I was expecting the punch-you-in-the-stomach breakdown of White Wall and then 4 hour long epic guitar solo that culminates into a Dragonforce (sucky ass fakes) humiliating, face melting guitar solo!!! Other than that, Desert of Song beat Viridian for my favorite melodic song by them, I loooove it cuz I'm a fan of some blues and country too so that kinda satisfied me in that area : just proves BTBAM do what they WANT!!!!!
    Yeah I agree too kinda. BUT still, personally, this was the best album of the year. BTBAM shall always be my fav. : D
    RiouX
    i think peaples should stop to compare both album, those are complety different ,btu i most admit colors got me more than that one, but TGM grow on you each times you listen to it. i think some peaples are disapointed because they waited a colors number 2.
    kennmi
    finally got the album shipped to me at my deployed base, and man is it amazing! i agree that it seems to end abruptly, but if the worst thing i can say about the album is that it ended with me wanting more, then im okay with that! colors was a great album, but i think this one is easier to grab onto each song as an individual, even though they still flow well together. i had trouble getting into colors because you dont get a good feel for it unless you listen to the entire album instead of just one song. btbam is amazing though, and i cant wait till they release another album!
    Religulous
    I bought this album 2 days ago... It was worth it. EVEN BETTER THAN COLORS!!! My favorite song off this album as of now is Fossil Genera - A Feed From Cloud Mountain. Such a weird ragtime beginning with the "Prequel to the Sequel mid-part type vocals" and the pizzicato strings part around the end just fits so well! Buy it. In a lot of ways it's better and more exciting than Colors. (I do like that album a lot too )
    therapture
    Sounds like a mix of Alaska and Colors. Brutalness of Alaska with the unusual but interesting riffs of Colors
    endless_fight1
    I can't really get into their new stuff. I kinda liked colors but it didn't really do it for me. It seems like his aggressive vocal are pretty much monotone now. Yeah they write some nice little melodies but their new riffs just sound like noise to me. I dunno.
    Spoony_Bard
    Without them, parts of this album would be like a slightly beefed version of Dream Theater, rather than a slightly Dream Theaterd version of beef.
    Best line in a review ever. Haha!
    Progis8strings
    I'd just like to mention that many of the reviewers contradicted each other on discussing the vocal hook in "Swim to the Moon." Amazing album, amazing band (after the first two albums of coure)
    plakkert
    Fantastic album, especially Swim to the Moon is just marvelous. I cannot wait to see what BTBAM conjure up in the future
    'Leviathan'
    I submitted a review for this... surprise, surprise it didn't get accepted... like all of my other reviews I've submitted. Anyway, album was excellent, I'm still listening to it non-stop.
    The Tak
    Good album for sure but I hope their future releases will be more along the lines of Alaska, because the length of the songs on TGM can get a bit overwhelming at times.
    Magero
    ...and let the avalanche of "ZOMG BEST ALBUM IN THE UNIVERSE" that followed Colors, begin :p: Having said that. ZOMG BEST ALBUM IN THE UNIVERSE
    theoldwizard
    Good album, but it hasn't topped Colors in my opinion. But this album is growing on me each listen, so I may like it better in the end. Swim to the Moon is an amazing song, I must add.
    Astyan
    Without them, parts of this album would be like a slightly beefed version of Dream Theater, rather than a slightly Dream Theaterd version of beef
    Made me laugh out loud. Other than that, fantastic album. I'm not really into endlessly comparing new albums with previous ones though, even if Color's success and quality implied that people would check for a confirmation with the next release. But personally, I'd say that both albums are different, and it's great that TGM is somewhat more structured than its predecessor. BTBAM proves that Colors wasn't just a spark of genius with another display of solid work and amazing creativity, and I feel that it's great they didn't try to make a Colors 2, if you get what I mean. Anyway, this one is definitely a beast, and a serious contender for 2009's best Metal album. And it's so complex that I have yet to be fully familiar with every song, despite quite a lot of full listens already. Obfuscation stands out for now, but it might be the easiest track to apprehend, bar the two "short" ones.
    ratm_fan_06
    Outstanding album...but one big thing that bothered me The ending (for Swim to the Moon) WAS HORRIBLE I was thinking, "Did the album honestly just end?" Colors/White Walls had an epic ending, and you knew the album was going to close. 2-3 minutes of great guitar work and then piano to let you catch your breath. I know Colors had more of that 1-song feel to it than this one, but TGM's ending still was a let down But other than that, kick ass album
    multipleofone
    Amazing album but the one problem is that, while the vocals were good, there weren't any emotionally engaging vocals like in Colors.
    death4077
    I absolutely love this album and i don't think i will ever get the chorus of swim to the moon out of my head... slide into the water....
    firebird103
    ratm_fan_06 wrote: ...but TGM's ending still was a let down
    yeah i felt the same way too. I was expecting this face melting moment since swim to the moon was such an epic song, and then the album just ended. I was sad... great album overall though