Ever since their fourth album and magnum opus, Colors, Between The Buried And Me have been turning out strong progressive metal albums (with the Automata pair of particular note) – but haven’t quite managed to repeat the true magic in a bottle quality that this now 14-year old release struck. With that in mind, they revisit the mindset that brought about that seminal release with the forthcoming Colors II, out August 20 on Sumerian Records.
Opening as its prior instalment did, Colors II starts with a piano and clean vocal lulling an unfamiliar listener into thinking this could be prog rock more akin to Muse rather than occasionally straying into the heaviest ends of the progressive metal spectrum. Aspects of the previous Colors that come to the fore swiftly are some of the more bizarre and fun elements such as the meme air horn present on “The Double Helix of Extinction” and the raucous from start to finish “Fix The Error” – with its trading trio of drum solos from percussion supremos Mike Portnoy, Navene Koperweis and Ken Schalk and accompanying animated video.
“Never Seen/Future Shock” brings with it both some of the album’s most polished and harmonic vocal moments intertwined with meandering lead guitar with a tone crossing between distortion and an almost 8-bit effect – followed within the same track with BTBAM at their most chaotic – and then back again. In this one near-12 minute track the band hit many of the highs and mellow points that any progressive metal artist would seek across the full length of an album, let alone all within one song. As well as the outright quality of the music, throughout Colors II there are many Easter eggs to be found for long term fans of the group – no specific details will be given to spoil the fun of discovering these for yourself on first (and subsequent) listens, but they are a joy to hear and can be found both musically and lyrically.
On Colors II the band note that their mindset in the album’s writing of analyzing humanity and self is what links the two records, and with the previous year and more that all have experienced, one might expect a negative or pessimistic album; instead Colors II is a delight from start to finish. More often than not there’s an upbeat feel, encouraging the listener through with the promise of more excitement and enjoyment across its considerable running time. In what has already been an outstanding year for progressive metal, Colors II is a release worthy of bearing the name of Between the Buried and Me’s previous finest work; only time will tell if the sequel embeds itself into the consciousness of their fans in the same manner as the predecessor.
Colors II Track Listing:
2. The Double Helix of Extinction
3. Revolution In Limbo
4. Fix The Error
5. Never Seen/Future Shock
6. Stare Into The Abyss
8. Bad Habits
9. The Future Is Behind Us
12. Human Is Hell (Another One With Love)
Run Time: 78:49
Release Date: August 20, 2021
Record Label: Sumerian Records