Between the Buried and Me – Automata II (Review)

Between the Buried and MeBetween the Buried and Me are a progressive metal band from the US and this is either their ninth album, or the second part of their eighth album, depending on how you look at it.

The follow up release to/second part of Automata I, Between the Buried and Me have returned with another 34 minutes of exciting, exceptional material.

On this latest release the band continue to produce challenging, progressive music. In some ways Automata II features more elements of the band’s classic, more extreme days, but in other ways they continue to push the envelope and incorporate various different elements even more. A little from column A, and a little from column B, mashed together ingeniously.

The first track is the longest here at almost 14 minutes in length. The Proverbial Bellow is a progressive metal behemoth, and at one point or another during its playing time probably visits almost every aspect of Between the Buried and Me’s sound that they’ve produced over the years. There’s also a brief moment of banjo. It’s an impressive and dizzying ride, but one that’s worth taking.

Glide is essentially a precursor intro track to the next one, and has a quirky, theatrical style to it. It’s enjoyable enough, but the real meat comes from the third track – Void of Trespass. This song is where a lot, (but definitely not all), of this release’s more experimental proclivities hang out. Combining extreme metal with twisted jazz would usually be an instant recipe for disaster for most bands, but then Between the Buried and Me have always been in another league entirely when compared to most bands. The use of horns here is both striking and very moreish, and is just one example why Void of Trespass is such a triumph.

You can really hear the sense of fun that the band are having on this track, and this is probably my favourite song on the album. Hugely impressive and uncaring of what musical genres it elides, this is Between the Buried and Me at their vibrant best.

After all of that we end up with the final song The Grid. More conventionally-structured and melodically atmospheric than the other songs here, this is a solid way to finish the release.

Essential listening.

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