Between the Buried and Me – Automata II (2018

Between the Buried and Me

Automata II

Sumerian Records

I skipped the first part of this recording, because although it was rather technical and had some unique progressive areas, it felt really run of the mill as far as this sort of avant-tech proggy core style is concerned. In other words, BTBAM, The Faceless and several other acts in the genre are doing this sort of thing and I feel that it may be wearing its welcome out a bit with older heads like me, even though the kids seem to drool over it. That’s fine though, they have their likes and I’m quite glad that they’re still enjoying metal in any format.

This one however, caught my attention because of the attention to detail insofar as classic prog and even a little bit of Mr.Bungle. Though the Mr.Bungle flavored carny jazz portion of “Voice Of Tresspass” is quite sparse on the album, at least it shows a side to the band that they haven’t yet offered, especially considering how much that they have since Alaska and Colors. I was also noticing this with the latest Dog Fashion Disco release (a band that still manages to put out records consistently and not disappoint, by the way) where the work of Mike Patton and various others certainly could have been conceived as an influence. Not a bad one either, as there’s no one out there that quite made music as weird as Mike Patton during his heyday and we have him to thank for many of the structures utilized on today’s albums.

Unlike the first part of this album, Automata II also features far less of the harsh vocal presence, showcasing what I’ve always felt was a wonderful clean offering. But what’s more, is the notion that if you enjoyed the latest Spock’s Beard recording Noise Floor (and you should, as it’s a glorified love letter to the glory days of prog rock) then you might want to pick this one up too. Why? Because BTBAM decided to modernize the formula with modern elements of extreme and technical metal to create what I might consider the quintessential modern progressive metal album. In other words, if BTBAM are trying to take the crown from Dream Theater, than this is the way to go. Not that Labrie and the boys were never heavy, but they were never quite this heavy. I mean, for a mere thirty-three minutes of playing time and just four tracks altogether, this is quite an offering.

And I know what you’re saying. “I’m an old fan of progressive rock/metal and I just can’t get into this screaming shit.” I understand completely, but you have to look at the record on a compositional level and not so much as an angry man shouting. BTBAM began as a rather extreme band that couldn’t quite be pigeon-holed into core regardless of the fact that they were birthed right in the thick of the core movement and took what feels like forever to come out of their shell. As of right now, this record nearly comes twenty years into the thick of their career and it’s utterly amazing as to how far they’ve gone. Automata II is in fact so memorable, that you don’t even have to listen to its sister to get the full experience. You can if you’d like, but it’s not ultimately necessary to enjoy the performance presented.

I do have one minor complaint here though, and that would be the failure to include an instrumental version of the album, just so that fans can get a greater appreciation of the bells and whistles that intertwine with what I’d state as outstanding compositional work, making for an album that I’d be a fool not to recommend. If opener “The Proverbial Bellow” doesn’t catch your attention, than you might need to see the doctor and have your ears checked. And once again, that’s just the opener. With nearly two decades of music under their belts, I find that these guys haven’t yet disappointed me and that’s gotta be a good sign. I can only wonder as to where they will be heading with the next one. Give it a listen at the link below.

(4 Tracks, 33:00)

8.8/10

Purchase HERE (Amazon)

8.8

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