Back in March, we discussed the first portion of a two-part concept record from BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME, and now, we finally get to discuss the album’s finale. So prog-heads assemble! And if you happened to miss our last episode, let’s do a quick recap: the group decided to release Automata in two halves to make it easier for the music to be digested by listeners. The album explores the concept of a future in which people’s dreams are broadcast as entertainment for the masses. You caught up now? Good. And if you’re still lost, follow the link on this page to my review of the first half of the album. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s get to the important stuff: Automata II comes out July 13 via Sumerian Records.
The EP starts off with “The Proverbial Below”, diving right in with a jumpy lead driven riff-fest. It’s one of those long introductions to a record that no one does better than BTBAM. Clocking in at a little over 13 minutes, you don’t run into vocals until the 2:45 mark. The first thing you hear from the group’s singer is a plea to stay here forever. And after the musical magnificence of the song’s introduction, you would have to be completely soulless to not want to stay in that moment forever. Swirling riffs battle keyboards to the backdrop of bashing drums throughout the rest of the track with the song fading into the sound of an accordion. “Glide” is a rather short number, referencing dances with a lost love, lead by the piano and a simple clean vocal.
Keeping things upbeat, “Voice of Trespass” starts with a dancing guitar riff that almost feels more akin to rockabilly than heavy metal. The riff is also accompanied by horns and synths. It sounds odd for metal, but it totally works. The latter half of the song spends some time with themes from Automata I, offering a refrain that references being condemned to the gallows. The record is ended by “The Grid”, a dark and epic number, that plays out more like a reverie than a piece of music. The song bounces from grinding riffs to melodic passages, much like the rocky instability of a nightmare.
Releasing a record as two EP’s instead of one full LP was an interesting experiment. And I definitely benefited from the group’s strategy of making things easier to digest. However, now being able to hear both sides of the record together, I will always listen to them in unison. So I’m still a bit torn as to whether or not that aspect of the record was genius. As far as the music is concerned, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME are still very much at the top of their game and just continue to age like a fine wine. Indulge your senses and pick up both halves of the record. Thank me once the hangover wears off.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM