Just a few short months after they unleashed Automata I, progressive metal upstarts Between the Buried and Me are back with the sequel, Automata II for Sumerian Records. While many fans and critics alike have been scratching their heads wondering why the band split up this concept album into two 30+ minute EPs instead of releasing it all in one, and waiting five months to do so, the end result is that Automata II is a very strong finale to this tale of broadcasting dreams as media fodder. The fact that BtBaM also did this with their Parallax releases a few years back leads one to believe that they like this sort of thing. Time will tell I guess, but what of this sequel you ask?
First off, despite a bit of overall weirdness to some of the tracks on Automata I, the band decided to kick off this one with plenty of trademark sounds with "The Proverbial Bellow", a tune chock full of all we love about these guys. Sledgehammer, intricate guitar riffs, blazing solos, haunting & catchy melodies, clean and growling vocals, and acrobatic rhythms...it's all here in this epic track. The accordion surprisingly makes a reappearance in a BtBaM song, along with some honky tonk piano on the brief "Glide", before raging guitar riffs, drums, and horns (!) burst onto the scene for the uptempo, cinematic sounding "Voice of Trespass", a tune that wouldn't have sounded out of place on a mid-'80s Queen album or even late '70s era Alice Cooper. Totally different style of music from the band, but it works. As the song continues on it becomes darker & heavier, as 'we are hollow, condemned to the gallows' vocal lines repeat, supported by crushing wah-wah soaked riffs and blazing drum fills. "The Grid" closes out the story, a melodic, at times bombastic slice of progressive metal, death metal growls battling with soaring clean vocals, the keyboards floating over dynamic guitar work, nearly 10-minutes of all that BtBaM does so well.
Would it have made more sense to have Automata as one CD release? Yeah, probably, but what it all comes down to is the fact that with both listened to together, this is another seriously good concept release from Between the Buried and Me, a band that has not slowed down one bit when it comes to delivering intelligent, adventurous progressive metal.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1) The Proverbial Bellow
3) Voice of Trespass
4) The Grid