Pay attention. This is very important. In 2007 Between The Buried And Me more or less cast aside their early hardcore leanings and fully embraced their progressive sensibilities that was always present in their music. They did so in the form of the record entitled Colors.
Colors is a monolithic piece of music fusing too many styles to name. But it shifted from punishing metal, to jazz, then to some country. While Dream Theater and Tool often take the mantle of the most revered prog metal acts of this age, Between The Buried And Me rightfully earned the right to call those great bands their peers. Musically, the album is utterly engrossing and is the sound of 5 ridiculously talented musicians perfecting their craft to unheard of heights.
So, it comes as little surprise that a follow up is an unruly assignment. Let’s just get straight to the point. The Great Misdirect is astonishing. It is without flaw as it pushes their boundaries beyond comprehension. The only way to do this record remote justice is to break things track by track.
The Great Misdirect begins in mellowed territory with “Mirrors”. Vocalist/Keyboardist Tommy Rogers enters with his butterfly soft voice and soft summer breeze like guitar lead commences. “Mirrors” then dissipates into…
Now an instantly attention grabbing lead pierces the air for “Obfuscation”. Between The Buried And Me then shift to their relentless and punishing beginnings on this track, void entirely of clean vocals, surprisingly. This is like a battering ram, completely unyielding. The mid section then returns to some uneasily peacefulness but then builds to an astonishing lead which sounds like it could soundtrack the apocalypse. Rogers then screams his way to its close as guitarists Dustie Waring and Paul Waggoner gloriously widdle away.
Disease, Injury, Madness
No time is wasted here when a deafening crash is emitted. Seizing your concentration then is the first lead riff which comes in at lightning fast speed. An ambient break passes onto some harrowing solemnity in vocal harmonies. Another harmony enters between bass and keys and re-entering are those oh so satisfying riffs. But a further change is just around the corner. Hugely jazzy influences pervade the din along with huge grooves which gorgeously sway, then give way to psychotic chants running over strenuous blast beats and then you’re returned to that first lead riff. Merciless is an understatement.
Fossil Genera – A Feed From Cloud Mountain
An upbeat keys line introduces “Fossil Genera…” which gives way to a seismic, crushing riff. The mood is akin to a demented carnival through the returning keys and Rogers’ vocal tone. Drummer Blake Richardson shines in many parts here too with unrelenting and pummelling beats. This track has a “seeing red” like attitude with the riffs and visceral screams never letting up once. Until it all abruptly lightens to an acoustic passage soon led by a lithe solo, but Rogers once again takes centre stage. Over hypnotic keyboard effects he scales and scales to a dizzying and trance inducing crescendo. Utterly amazing.
Desert Of Song
The air reverts to a more chilled out one here. Guitarist Paul Waggoner first takes on vocals in a surprising development. We start with a country-esque passage before Rogers returns with his gentle croon. “Desert Of Song” effortlessly swoons and then scales to an elegant peak.
Swim To The Moon
The distant sound of waves splashing appropriately begins the oddly titled “Swim To The Moon”. A frenzied exchange between all instruments commences. The chorus sees Rogers ascend to his highest clean vocals, the delivery is ambitiously beautiful. Waring and Waggoner’s fret skills are tested to the max here too while the rhythm section of Richardson and Dan Briggs (bass) is just ridiculously tight. The middle sees a flurry of musically jaw dropping instrumentation. On The Great Misdirect, Between The Buried And Me have further asserted their unparalleled talent. Things break down slightly and a disquieting and almost unnerving vocal hits. The mood gorgeously shifts to an acoustic lead until the chorus returns for a foreboding and wholly heart stopping climax.
There is not one superfluous moment on The Great Misdirect nor is there any imitation. Between The Buried And Me are one of the most strikingly original bands right now and a somewhat bizarre one. The Great Misdirect is yet another calling from them for everyone to take notice of their uncanny abilities. It’s impossible to pick out one of the five men on this record that are a highlight as each musician is offering something completely different. But one thing that can be gauged is that you need this album.