Between The Buried and Me have covered a lot of bases in their almost 20 years as a band. It seems that with every release in their discography, the North Carolina progressive metal stalwarts have always pushed the limits of their capabilities and somehow managed to outdo themselves time and time again. The only problem is that with such a huge back catalogue under their belt, where does a new listener start when wanting to explore the vast depths of BTBAM’s nerdy prog metal domain. Well, fear not young Padawan, because here are ten essential Between The Buried and Me tracks to get you started before the band returns to our shores in February!
'Mordecai' – The Silent Circus
This was the track that started it all for myself and I’m sure a heap of others so it seems like the most logical place to kick things off. In just under six minutes, you get pummelled by blastbeats, lost in crazy guitar wizardry and serenaded by Tommy Rogers’ delicate singing. The perfect example of the insanity in store moving forward.
'Backwards Marathon' - Alaska
Whilst a bit of a deep cut, I’ve always felt that this has been an unsung hero in the BTBAM catalogue. The clean middle section is so gorgeous and if I’m being completely honest, I’m a sucker for catchy vocal counterpart. Be sure to check out the live clip of this from the Colors Live DVD.
'Obfuscation' – The Great Misdirect
I remember being a little worried about how the band were going to follow up Colors given just how incredibly perfect that record is (more on that soon). They released a studio clip that featured seven seconds of ‘Obfuscation’ and any worries I had vanished immediately. Straight up, this song is worth it solely for the ‘this is what we call a brain’ section alone.
'Telos' – The Parallax II: Future Sequence
Parallax II is an incredibly epic and fun listen in its entirety but this track shines through as a staple for me. Special mention to the synth driven middle section for being crazy huge as well the insane thrash section that kicks the song off.
'Alaska' - Alaska
This track is batshit in so many ways, but most importantly because of the tension and the release that is used throughout. It seamlessly moves from frenetic shredding to the simplest yet most crushing of beatdowns. A great throwback track for those who love to pit.
'Famine Wolf' – The Coma Ecliptic
A great of example of the weirder side of Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring’s guitar acrobatics. The interplay between the two virtuosic players on this track is outstanding.
'Millions' – Automata I
This one really caught me by surprise in the best possible way. Moody, groovy, haunting and absolutely excellent.
'The Proverbial Bellow' – Automata II
The most recent addition to the BTBAM catalogue kicks off with this track which is essentially 13 minutes of prog metal perfection. Once again, a stellar example of the killer guitar interplay between Waggoner and Waring as well as a great example of the mad genius that is drummer Blake Richardson.
'Selkies: The Endless Obsession' - Alaska
Yeah look, this was the song on my Myspace page for a good six months and I remember being so stoked that I had it on a Victory Records sampler alongside ‘Convalescence’ by Darkest Hour (Undoing Ruin, forever). For real though, it’s incredibly easy to understand why this track has long been the band’s staple encore as it is pretty close to the ultimate BTBAM song. The guitar solo at the end has essentially shaped an entire generation of bedroom shredders and will probably continue to do so for decades to come.
Colors In Its Goddamn Entirety, Motherf**kers!
It’s simple really, it’s impossible to pick just one song from Colors to add to this list and because every song on the album moves into the next seamlessly, it’s basically one track with eight movements anyway…….right? Colors absolutely changed the game and well and truly set the tone for every metal and prog band around. I am not joking around when I say that it is without a doubt 64 minutes of absolute perfection and has to be listened to in its entirety at every possible opportunity. It is now over a decade old and still manages to completely blow my mind every time I hear it.
Don't miss Between The Buried And Me's Australian tour this February - head to Live Nation to secure your stubs today.