A band that basically can do no wrong these days once again comes up with a another complete winner in the form of The Great Misdirect, the follow-up to their most recent classic Colors. Whether The Great Misdirect is a better release than Colors will be up for debate, but it certainly, if nothing else, is its equal, but for different reasons which I will soon get into. Between the Buried and Me have quickly risen up the ranks of today's extreme progressive metal bands, and with The Great Misdirect, have cemented their position at or very near the top.
While this latest release is more a collection of songs, as opposed to the lengthy concept piece that was the glorious Colors, don't go thinking that The Great Misdirect isn't epic in its own right. After all, 4 of the CDs 6 tracks exceed 9-minutes in length, and there's plenty of intricate, heavy, and often times brutal music to go along with thought provoking lyrics, making each of these mini-epics almost like little concept pieces on their own. Opening track "Mirrors" seems like a soundtrack to the Great Western films of the 50's and 60's, Tommy Rogers' clean & melodic vocals crooning over tender guitar pickings and some bluesy slide, before the crushing "Obfuscation" comes bursting through your speakers. Leading off with some complex lead lines and crunchy riffing, Rogers' patent screams & growls come into play under some insane rhythms courtesy of drummer Blake Richardson and bassist Dan Briggs. This one's progressive & brutal all at the same time, and those who love Between the Buried and Me at their complex best but showing plenty of death metal ferocity will adore this scorcher. Throw in a jazzy mid-section, and some neo-classical shredding, and you have the first 'must hear' song on the CD. Next up is the slamming "Disease, Injury, Madness", a totally brutal slice of monstrous & technical death metal, but the band, as always, mixes things up in the middle section by including a long, Pink Floyd styled proggy/atmospheric section, followed by some complex Dream Theater inspired shredding. The closing guitar/keyboard riffing from Dustie Waring, Paul Waggoner, and Rogers is simply outstanding, as if the band channelled their inner Deep Purple leanings.
The 12-minute "Fossil Genera - A Feed From Cloud Mountian" is easily the most eclectic piece on the CD, Rogers' circus styled piano melodies & clean vocals leading off the track before the death metal thunder comes crashing into the mix. Around three-quarters of the way through this lengthy piece, acoustic guitars, clean vocals, and keyboards turn this song into a Porcupine Tree styled prog-rock lovers delight, complete with a gorgeous symphonic ending that slowly quiets down and goes out on a majestic whisper. "Desert of Song" is one of the other brief songs on the CD, a haunting, acoustic based number that has a bluesy, almost Alice in Chains feel to it, and features one of Tommy Rogers' best vocals on the album. That leads into the massive, 18-minute closer "Swim to the Moon", a classic BtBaM number that sees them racing all over the map. After an almost Frank Zappa inspired intro, the band bursts through with a mix of punk/hardcore energy and progressive metal complexity. At around the 6-minute mark, a wonderful flamenco guitar solo from Waggoner pops in, followed by an intricate drum solo by Richardson, then plenty of furious riffs and deathly growls. After some catchy clean vocal sections, the band launches into prog-metal territory, featuring some wild unison guitar/keyboard passages that you'd certainly expect from a Dream Theater release, but also sound right at home here. The band closes out the show with an amalgam of acoustic guitar, symphonic bombast, and technical precision over the final moments, and in the end, you'll simply be breathless.
I would say that The Great Misdirect has the slight edge as far as cohesiveness over Colors, though I'm not sure any of the tracks here can top the out and out brilliance of a song like "White Walls" from that release. Regardless, The Great Misdirect is quite brilliant as a whole, from top to bottom some of the most engaging, complex, and brutal music you will hear in the world of progressive metal and extreme metal this year. Highly, highly recommended!
1. Mirrors 3:37
2. Obfuscation 9:15
3. Disease, Injury, Madness 11:03
4. Fossil Genera - A Feed From Cloud Mountian 12:10
5. Desert of Song 5:33
6. Swim To The Moon 17:53