Between The Buried And Me – ‘Colors II’

By Dave Stewart

Every band has a record that makes their blip on the musical radar glow far brighter. An album that sees a band completely lock into their sound, so breathtaking and special that its brilliance is impossible to ignore. For progressive metal masterminds Between The Buried And Me, that album was their 2007 album ‘Colors’, and 2021 sees them revisit the concept and explore where they can take it with ‘Colors II’.

For a little bit of background, the original ‘Colors’ record was centred around – you guessed it – colours. Each song represents a different section of their palette, from orange and red through to aqua and purple, and though there’s no lyrical connection the music speaks for itself. It’s also, if listened to in full, a singular song, stretched out across its magnificent 64 minutes. ‘Colors II’ follows the same formula, splashing new colours on their canvas as they paint masterpiece number two.

Right from the mellow and emotive opening of ‘Monochrome’, it’s clear this is going to be something special. The way they navigate chord and key changes is so seamless, transporting you somewhere completely transcendent in the opening seconds before unapologetically thrusting you right into the fray. Then there’s towers of guitars, growling bass tones, huge drums and electronic textures, all evolving at just the right moments. They’re not messing around.

‘Fix The Error’ is a balls to the wall gem, filled with bonkers organ lines, bass and drum solos, breakdowns, cowbells – you don’t really know whether you’re coming or going, and it’s brilliant. ‘Turbulent’ is like progressive synth wave, transporting you to a neon-filled land full of mysterious figures as the music shifts in and out of leather-clad cool to full-frontal assault. ‘Prehistory’ is an insane trip full of cartoon soundbites and an almost gameshow-like feel, ‘Never Seen / Future Shock’ is an 11-minute prog epic, ‘Revolution In Limbo’ is a genius metal and jazz crossover – individually these songs seem bizarre, but altogether they create something that’s completely mesmerising.

For fans of the first record, this is filled with nods to the original record that will set your brain on fire (in a good way, not a painful one). For example, track two on the album, ‘The Double Helix Of Extinction’, starts as a blurry mirror image of the original’s second track ‘The Decade Of Statues’, bursting with familiar bludgeoning blast beats and gloomy guitars that slowly progress into a grander version of its counterpart.

The show stealer, though, is album closer ‘Human Is Hell (Another One With Love)’ which, to the trained ear, reintroduces the main motif of ‘White Walls’, forcing a rush of pure euphoria to the surface as they boldly reinterpret and expand their original idea. It doesn’t matter whether you heard the original album or not, however – this track, and generally the record as a whole, will take you somewhere blissfully magical. Regardless of your relationship with the band, there’s no one better that could captain the journey.

There’s just something about Between The Buried And Me that sets them apart from every other band. Their creativity, musicianship, storytelling, genre-blurring – every component of this band’s DNA is genetically faultless, every body of work they create as immaculate as its predecessor. ‘Colors II’ is no exception, not only continuing the original’s narrative but referring back to it and reimagining some of its sections like a hazy nostalgia trip that will reinforce the love you have for it.

This isn’t just the next chapter of the story – they’re building on its foundation and turning ‘Colors’ into a legacy, and it’s one that every metal and prog lover should take the time to become acquainted with. Whether this is your first taste of their music or you’re a long-serving fan, this album is a picturesque and utterly essential voyage that you need to be on. Make sure you pick a window seat – you don’t want to miss anything, and there’s so much to see.

DAVE STEWART

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