This latest release from Between the Buried and Me is going to surpise a lot of people. Forget the fact that they are on Victory Records-Alaska is no punk, hardcore, or emo album. These guys play a style that is like a mixture of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Andromeda, Morbid Angel, Mastodon, In Flames, Atheist, At the Gates, The Black Dahlia Murder, and Dream Theater. What do these bands have in common? Well, other than the fact that they run the gamut from brutal death metal to melodic prog-metal, each band is extremely technical and complex. Between the Buried and Me play insanely complex music...let me say it again, INSANELY complex music! This is metal, without a doubt, but I can see fusion and proggers getting into this band as well, as the intricate song structures are extremely challenging to listen to, and the sheer virtuosity is amazing.
The dual guitar workout of songs like "All Bodies" and "Selkies: The Endless Obsession" take you on an exciting journey, and singer Tommy Rogers mix of growls and clean vocals add plenty of variety to songs that are already jam packed with enough time changes and tempo changes to make you dizzy. Paul Waggoner and Dusty Waring are the two axe-murderers here, and do a fantastic job, while the rhythm team of bassist an Briggs and drummer Blake Richardson pound a furious yet catchy groove. Rogers, in addition to vocals also handles keyboards, which are sprinkled around many of the songs and add a nice symphonic touch. As if to say, "OK, now you can take a breather", the CD ends with the lovely classical/Latin guitar ditty "Laser Speed", which allows for sufficient cool- down time.
After listening to this album a few times, it's almost hard to decide just which tunes I liked more, the heavier pieces or the more progressive songs. For example, the pummeling "Roboturner" features some killer and pounding guitar riffs, plus an evil vocal turn from Rogers, but the instrumental "Medicine Wheel" is a great, atmospheric slice of spacey prog rock that will certainly please Pink Floyd fans. Of course, the unbelievable "Autodidact" is a song that definitely needs to be heard to fully get the talent that is in this band. Wicked unison guitar lines weave around gymnastic rhythms, with plenty of stop/start arrangements as well as some jazzy interludes, making this one sick piece.
You'll be breathless by the time the CD ends, and ready to hit the replay button. As manic as the songs get at times, there's plenty of melody, and if you dig complex music that doesn't focus on endless solos, but on intricate ensemble interplay, then Alaska should be a mandatory purchase.
1. All Bodies
3. Croakies and Boatshoes
4. Selkies: The Endless Obsession
5. Breathe in, Breathe Out
7. Backwards Marathon
8. Medicine Wheel
11. Laser Speed