Saturday, March 7, 2009

Metal Albums I Am Addicted To...

"Colors" - Between The Buried And Me

I think I can safely say that if you have ever heard Between The Buried And Me, whether you liked them or you didn't, you have to agree that there is no band out there quite like them. This is not music for the "American Idol" audience. This is dense, challenging, exhausting but yet exhilarating stuff from a group of guys who have firmly planted a flag somewhere near genius and insanity.

"Colors" is like a Charlie Kaufman screenplay: you think you have it pegged as one thing and then it turns on a dime and goes to a place even more tripped out than where it just was. The songs aren't necessarily songs in the conventional sense as they are some kind of heavy metal concerto. The songs are long (one song is 11 minutes, two others are close to 15 minutes) and the band consumes entire genres like fire consumed the Cayahoga River. The crazy part is though, the album is never boring, it never drags and it's never pretentious. Every song, hell every song movement, seamlessly blends right into another.

The album starts off with the two-parted "Foam Born A&B." "Foam Born A: The Backtrack," begins as a gentle piano ballad, seemingly about a girl. Then at about the 1-minute mark, the band comes in with the obvious cathartic chorus followed by a fancy keyboard solo. Sounds like something out of Coldplay's oevure right? Then just before the two-minute mark, well, all fucking hell breaks loose. "Foam Born B: The Decade of Statues" turns into an absolute freakout as drummer Blake Richardson goes apeshit behind the kit while singer/keyboardist Tommy Rogers unleashes a menacing death metal growl. Next up is "Informal Gluttony," a doom metal jam and probably as conventional a song as you will hear on this record.

These three songs are merely the appetizer for what follows next, the extrodinary back-to-back-to-back songs "Sun Of Nothing," "Ants Of The Sky" and "Prequel To The Sequel." "Sun Of Nothing" is the key song on the album, an 11-minute opus about man's contact with aliens (I think). The song starts out as a noisy death metal opus, gradually slows down to a brief excursion into cocktail jazz (really), back to metal and then ends with a psychodelic suite that Pink Floyd would be envious of.

"Ants Of The Sky" picks right up where "Sun" left off, expanding the psychodelic/stoner metal vs. death metal mix to such an extreme that the only logical place to end up is, yes, a country/western hoedown. (don't ask. It makes more sense if you just listen to the record) "Prequel To The Sequel" starts off with a Faith No More-ish keyboard intro, morphs into a thrash metal jam, detours into a waltz (yes, a waltz) before the band goes right back to where they started.

After the instrumental interlude "Viridian," the album closes with the epic "White Walls," a near 15-minute song that takes almost every genre the band has dabbled in so far and mixes it into one potent cocktail, chased at the end by the refrain from "Sun Of Nothing." It finishes the album in the mind-blowing style of everything before it.

I once again must reiterate that this band isn't for everybody. If you only listen to 30 second to 2 minute snippets you really won't get the point. It takes a couple of listens before the album really starts to sink in. But unlike so much of today's music, which is meant to be consumed and forgotten about within 5 minutes, "Colors" rewards a patient listener. Believe me, you'll hear more musical styles and better playing on just "Sun Of Nothing" than you will on half the albums released this year. That goes for metal, pop, country, you name it. And besides that, it fucking rocks its ass off as well. By all means, check out this band.

-For a sample of what is on "Colors" here's a homemade video combining "Foam Born A&B"

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