Mirrors – Mirrors opens with haunting classical tinkerings conjoined with Dick Dale reverb soaked guitar tangents and vocal melody reminiscent of Muse. When the groove kicks in, it’s ethereal and dense, but not overly cloudy. It’s the sound of a band that has been well rehearsed and intellectualized to a point where its high class and top shelf, yet not overtly pretentious. The backbone rhythm section holds a tight groove, letting the song breathe organically. The textures are very smooth and glide the listener through a far away landscape unheard of for a modern heavy rock act.
Obfuscation – When the band starts rocking out, it’s a more mature and not quite as cliché as many other bands that try to pull the same style. I’ve never been a fan of this type of vocal but I can agree with it on being at the same level as Opeth. It was well establish that the vocalist knows how to sing and be melodic. I can clearly hear the scrapes on finger moving across the fretboard regarding the guitarist’s tone—meaning someone has a really good amp! There are many twists and turn in this track, and while some are unrelated, they seem to work without drowning each other out.
Disease, Injury Madness – has all the heavy crunch-crunch that I love, albeit more on the hardcore side than I’d typically enjoy. The musicians know how to play tight, but the arrangement of the song is a little too loose, typical of this genre of music. Gotta hand it do them, they sound like they know what the fuck they are doing….I am immediately impressed by the sparse use of noise gating to tighten up the heavily distorted sound of the guitars, they are full of life, and still get the point across that its meant to be crushing. There are no choked notes here. The soft sections are well thought and are so psychotic it creates a classical beauty akin to Marilyn Monroe. You know its beauty on the outside, but something darker lies beneath, sarcasm, a wit, and a damaged soul. The next section sways into a further pit of desperation and continuously evolves into several musical style that many metal fans may not even be able to grasp. There are flamenco, metal, classical, and different traditional European inflections throughout. Killer.
Fossil Genera – The opening of this track is comical, ever seen a Tim Burton movie? Yeah that’s this song. I wouldn’t be surprised if Danny Elfman might have had a hand in creating this track. I don’t particularly like how far away the vocals stand in the mix, while the circus piano is pushed so forward, but hey, it works still. This is a very vertigo, demonic inducing song. It’s the soundtrack to hell’s carnival in fact. If the devil knew how to write music, this is what he/she’d produce.
Desert Song – Blowing winds, very short room reflection lighting upon a nylon stringed guitar… It’s the beginnings of an early to mid 20th century love story. The vocalist lending his talents adds a mature kind of sadness. The bass guitar is thumping, punchy and growling which perfectly suits the clean strum of the acoustic instruments laying the foundation. I love songs like this one. It reeks of ‘The Good The Bad and The Ugly’. This is a very heroic, riding a horse through the desert, save the damsel type song. It’s a very chivalrous and romantic texture that I relate to musically. I don’t know if a rock band at this age with this much soul displayed in this song.
Swim To The Moon – I’m finding myself more and more impressed at the fact that this group knows how to really throw a different side of rock at you. African instruments are showcased at the opening; Wow. They are very bit as heavy as anyone else out there, but they posture it in such a way that isn’t petulant. They take you somewhere else; to a place you could only go if you had a passport and heavy pockets and meld it with all the grit American music is known for. The chorus slithers, and I love almost every second of it. The bass and the drums are as focused as the best of them out, and much can be said about those two holding it down for the madness. There’s a method to all the madness in this song. It’s served on fine china in fact. This song cooks.
Prior to this album, I had never heard anything by Between the Buried and Me. Now, I believe I am somewhat of a fan. This band has more chops than you’d expect from this genre. They aren’t the scream for the sake of it type. Yes, most of the singing is guttural, but its intersected by many other elements that grab your attention so quickly you forget all the parts that you discriminate due to prior taste. This encompasses many of the ideas that modern heavy music has come to be and then some. In fact the industry favors this type of stature; the melding of extreme genres, and finding a way to make it coherent and chaotic at the same time. This entire album has a ‘vibe’ and a soul, which is something I always look for, there’s an actual arrangement chosen to where each song was placed. There’s a story they are putting across, and while it may not be quite so clear, cut and dry, you know its there and it more than welcome. I’d like to see any other band in their peers pull progressive hard rock off like this….