[Sumerian Records, 2018]
Intro: Dimitris Kaltsas
29 / 11 / 2018
A band’s eighth album usually comes within a period of stagnation or decline in creativity that the band is unaware of. Not always, of course. In their own way, Between the Buried and Me have managed to evolve their sound and still sound fresh. After seven albums they’re exploring new ways of expression with equal passion, always keeping their technical level very high. This year, two albums by them, the two parts of the ambitious Automata, were released.
The first part of a transitional situation
New album for Between the Buried and Me, the eighth in a row, and it seems the band is making a turn in their sound. Of course, the foundation for this change had come from the previous album, but now it is much more obvious. The band here tries more progressive paths and this gives a dimension to their sound that at first glance does not seem to fit, i.e. mixing prog rock spots with extreme metal, but the way they compose their music, makes you believe that such a combination may be successful.
The band has also retained its personality in this release, writing music with a lot of rhythmic variations, extreme and clean vocals (this time the latter prevail) and an incredibly technical rhythm section that does not just add to or “fill” the tracks, but has a leading role. The guitars make an impression on Automata I, because they reminded me of Haken’s way of playing, with a denser sound of course, and not as many solos, while the keys give me the impression they do not contribute to the final result.
The album, being a concept one, deals with the ability of people to see what someone else is dreaming and music creates a dystopian atmosphere, bringing the film Minority Report to mind. The songs that I enjoyed most are Condemned to Gallows, with its up-tempo rhythm and tech-death style, which blends nicely with the clean vocals without being cheesy, Millions, the hit of the record, which is a simple borderline pop, melodic composition and finally Blot, which is the highlight of the album, since it reminds me a lot of Dream Theater but with a thicker sound. I did not feel that Yellow Eyes and Gold Distance add anything to the album, but they might play a part when the second part is released.
The first part of Automata is a good but incomplete album. Of course it shows that the band has entered a stage of maturity and that they realize the djent and mathcore sound gave what it had to give and now it was time to evolve. I believe that if they continue on this path, in the future we will see releases that will impress even people who do not like the extreme sound, and that is because they seem to have this ability. But not yet.
8 / 10