Between The Buried And Me - Alaska
Victory Records
Metal Amalgam
11 songs (53:54)
Release year: 2005
Between The Buried And Me, Victory Records
Reviewed by Jason

It almost seems that wherever Metal is discussed, Between the Buried and Me is sure to be mentioned with either extreme negative or positive sentiments, but rarely in between. Ah yes, another love em’ or hate em’ group for which veritable epic battles will be waged against or in defense of them. This, of course, is completely understandable since bands that think out of the box within a certain genre of music are either met with praise for their attempt at doing something different and sounding good, or met with disdain for a multitude of different personal reasons. Without beating around the bush, I will flat-out say that BtBaM are not worthy of all the praise they’ve been receiving, but not only because I believe the music itself not that amazing, but because the reason why they’re being praised is precisely the reason why I think they aren’t as top-notch as everyone holds. It took me a while to think of a way to explain my thoughts on this disc, but I believe I’ve found an entertaining metaphor that will describe what I’m getting at.

All of us read magazines or go out to clubs wherein we see women that are dressed scandalously for the purpose of looking appealing to the opposite sex(sometimes both sexes) , right? And I’m sure we can all agree that once in a while we see a woman bearing a rather extreme clothe-to-skin ratio and manages to still look classy doing it, but at the same time, once in a while we see a girl bearing the same ratio but looks like a trashy whore doing it. Opinions on what constitutes a girl that looks sexy or slutty tend to be rather extreme but are never cut and dry - for example a priest may think a woman wearing a tank top is a super-harlot and a man that has been on a severe sexual drought might find a prostitute sexy. Even though what constitutes a trashy looking girl is relative, there is still nevertheless some general consensus of what is and what isn’t with a rational argument to back it up. Now, to tie this in with what I’m getting at is this: Bands, such as Opeth, that try to stretch and create music in the same vein as BtBaM do so in a way that is true to Metal and manages to do so with seamless finesse, while bands like BtBaM try to mimick the style and the resulting product is the equivalent to what I’d call musical floozy-ness – trying to look and sound appealing, but failing because the way you go about it is trashy. By all means, I’m not trying to say that Opeth or Disillusion are sexy and that BtBaM are trashy, what I’m trying to say is that Opeth’n friends stretch the boundaries of metal in a risqué way by using different sounds and genres as TOOLS to expand on text-book metal and evoke more than just aggressive emotion, while BtBaM use the tools as the actual frame of their music, which I believe is quite dirty.

BtBaM newest release, Alaska, delivers a kind of metal melting pot that includes genres such as Progressive, Death, Melo-Death, Metalcore, Hardcore, Grindcore, Mathcore to name a few, and ties it up with synths and acoustic interludes that you’d find on Industrial or Black Metal discs - If that isn’t musical prostitution, I don’t know what is. I’m not saying that this is bad per se, what I don’t like is the fact that rather than using the styles to make their music original, the band uses run-of-the-mill structures and riffs from the long list of aforementioned genres and bounces from one to the other like a game of tennis. In fact I can honestly admit that the musicianship on this album is significantly over par to say the least, and that the band manages to throw in several awesome riffs, blast beats, and solos that, if were not so haphazardly put together, would make quite the killer tune. For instance, the title track Alaska starts off quite amazing with a neo-classical riff similar to something you’d hear off the last Imperanon album but then quickly turns into hardcore, then Metalcore, then Death Metal, then Mathcore, and then into another 5 million other things. This argument couldn’t be even truer for Selkies: The Endless Obsession which starts off Progressive, turns into Metalcore, then into Death, then into some kind of an instrumental interlude that sounds like a total Opeth rip-off. People also claim that Alaska is an amazing album because of its ability to deliever feeling and emotion, which I believe is a little crazy – Unless you are bi-polar or schizophrenic I don’t understand how music as unstable as BtBaM’s can give you the same feeling as Disillusion or Opeth, who are masters of gradual or seamless transition.

It would be unfair from an objective standpoint to say that Alaska is a bad release, because as I mentioned earlier, the band members are slick musicians and can definitely write some solid riffs. It’s just that melting every facet of metal and hardcore without a tinge of finesse that the band can call their own gives the impression that the band is prostituting itself to metal community in hopes of gaining a large audience and claiming that they’re “original” in the process. A 69 is an appropriate score since it is a definite “try before buy”. Like I said, people have different perceptions of what they believe to be appealing, so if the sound of a hyper-eclectic band tingles your senses, check these guys out.

Killing Songs :
All Bodies, Alaska
Jason quoted 69 / 100
Other albums by Between The Buried And Me that we have reviewed:
Between The Buried And Me - The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues reviewed by Crash and quoted no quote
Between The Buried And Me - The Great Misdirect reviewed by James and quoted 78 / 100
Between The Buried And Me - Colors reviewed by James and quoted 91 / 100
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