Self-deprecation is worth its weight in smoldering phoenix-ashes and baby unicorn tears.
Published on March 7, 2007 By SanChonino In Music

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By: Between the Buried and Me
Year: 2005

Between the Buried and Me. Sounds like it should be one of those emo bands that wears their pants too tight, their hair too black, and their pouts too . . . pouty. Certainly doesn't sound like the name of a blistering progressive metal band.

Yet . . . that's exactly what Between the Buried and Me is. Blistering, progressive metal. And it's just awesome.

Alaska has everything a good metal album should have. It's got loud, crunchy guitars, thundering grunts, soothing clean vocals, moments of keyboard genius, and all of that. It's a quick-moving, brain-liquefying funfest.

My experience with this album can be summed up in one word: unexpected. I was at the local CD store, Graywhale, and just browsing the metal section. (Sometimes I just like to look.) One of the employees came over and began to talk to me, asking me if I needed some sort of help. I explained that I was just browsing, but he must've been bored, because he began talking to me about what kind of metal I liked to hopefully give me a suggestion. I played along, because I like to be nice like that. We started to talk about different bands, and I told him that I'm into progressive rock and metal – bands like Opeth, Fates Warning, Kamelot, Evergrey, Wolverine, Agalloch, the like. He said, “You should check this band out,” and grabbed Alaska.

We went to the front of the store and he popped it out of the safety case, razored off the plastic and told me to check out the fourth track on the album. I walked over to the listening station and plugged in the CD.

And was blown away.

Surely, track #4, “Selkies: The Endless Obsession” is the best on the whole album. But there are other moments of brilliance that fill this disc as well. Needless to say, I bought it and took it home.

I've been amazed at times by this album. There are moments of beautiful lucidity that shine through the blistering, face-melting metal. They've achieved the perfect balance of hard and soft, making all other new “metalcore” bands seem distant and petty compared to these guys.

Tracks to catch: As I mentioned, “Selkies: The Endless Obsession” is the best track on the album. It mixes hard, hard metal with soothing rock seamlessly. “Autodidact” works great as a hard album closer, in-your-face and thumpy. “Laser Speed”, the final track, sounds like calming acoustic music from Brazil – but does it seem out of place? Not on Alaska, which blends these different music ideas splendidly.

Rating: 8/10. I thoroughly enjoy this album. It's not for everyone, but I'm surely glad that the guy at Graywhale told me about this band. Maybe, just maybe, modern American metal isn't going down the toilet – bands like Agalloch or Between the Buried and Me give me hope.

on Mar 07, 2007
Sounds cool.  I will have to check it out.
on Mar 07, 2007
I'll bring it out tomorrow when I come. You should hear it. I think what I like the most is that they can go from crunchy, mean sounding stuff to soaring triumphant dueling guitar duets in a major key.

Very cool.