Review of Between the Buried and Me - "Colors II"

As any self-respecting BTBAM nut will attest to, when it comes to the legendary Raleigh, North Carolina progressive-melodic quintet, it is always best to expect the unexpected. Even if the current lineup was solidified sixteen years ago before laying down their seminal LP Alaska and has since gone on to record seven full-lengths and a bevy of EP’s and the like whilst also establishing “their sound”? Expect the unexpected. Even if the act has incorporated live horns, strings, banjos, flautists, and a myriad of other guest instrumentalists into their recordings over the years? Expect the unexpected. And even if you think there’s really nothing new that BTBAM can come up with to blow your minds and put smiles on your faces? You guessed it! Expect the unexpected!

Never ones to rest on their laurels or to get too comfortable with the process of writing and recording their groundbreaking music, the lads of Between the Buried and Me have spent nearly twenty years now beguiling listeners with their never-before-seen-or-heard conglomeration of metal, melodicism, and progressiveness; and although the band has certainly found their own sound in that time (with a lot of help from their unofficial sixth member, producer Jamie King), one of the keys that keeps us long-tenured fans continuously coming back for more is the knowledge that even though the album will undoubtedly sound like BTBAM, it will also undoubtedly contain little surprises and never-before-used instruments and thematic effects that will give us oodles of fresh goosebumps.

Whether it be a new sample brilliantly placed by Tommy here or a cleverly reimagined lick laid down perfectly by Paul or Dustie there, BTBAM never fails to deliver melo-prog metal perfection… and such is the case again upon today’s release of Colors II.

Featuring another twelve songs and nearly an hour and twenty minutes of compelling, irresistible music, Colors II is yet another in a long line of masterpieces to be issued by these, the 21st century kings of progressive metal.

Following in the footsteps laid down by Automata I and II, Colors II is one of the heaviest releases to come from Between the Buried and Me since Alaska, and yet it still retains all the refulgent elements of melodicism and topical excellence that BTBAM have come to be known for since releasing the original Colors, The Great Misdirect, Future Sequence, and the triumphant Coma Ecliptic.

Comparable in feel to Coma Ecliptic with its dystopic, futuristic leanings and song arrangements, Colors II marks out its own territory in the canon of BTBAM releases with its new (yes, new) elements of anachronistic takes on what we all thought the 21st century was going to look like back when we were children in the 80’s and 90’s. Containing a wealth of snippets from 80’s video games and popular movies, Colors II almost feels like a “Back to the Future”-like journey into the museum of the mind and all the unrealized futures mankind imagined for itself… and it is fucking ingenious.

Although designed to be consumed in its entirety like so many of its predecessors, Colors II still has its standout tracks aside from the already released singles such as “The Double Helix of Extinction”, “Never Seen / Future Shock”, “Bad Habits”, and “The Future is Behind Us”, and also like so many of the best releases to come before it, Colors II places its finest track, “Human is Hell (Another One with Love)”, as the closer (“White Walls”, “Swim to the Moon”, or “Silent Flight Parliament” ringing any bells?)… and though, while so much of Colors II seems familiar and comfortable, so much of it also seems new. New, and unexpected, and perfect. Perfectly BTBAM.

To get an excellent example of the new feel of BTBAM’s Colors II, simply press play below to peep the brand-new official video for “The Future is Behind Us” and be sure to purchase your own copy if you’re as amazed as Hated One! \m/ Ω

Rating: 100 / 100 (A++)

Release Date: August 20th, 2021

Genre: Progressive/Melodic Metal

FFO: Faith No More, Gojira, Exist, Without Waves, Ignea, White Arms of Athena, Rivers of Nihil, Burial in the Sky

BTBAM Links: Homepage, Facebook, Instagram, Sumerian Records Webstore


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