In the vast world of metal, few bands have the versatility of North Carolina’s Between the Buried and Me. They proved it in 2007’s Colors, a prog-metal maelstrom of earth-shattering riffs, atmospheric space-outs and polka breakdowns — to name a few. Where does a band go when they are already seemingly at the apex of their musicianship, innovation and songwriting ability? The answer is The Great Misdirect — an hour-long journey through a universe of music that leaves you bruised, disoriented and gasping for air.
The Great Misdirect is the sound of a band growing up, discovering their sound and having a great time doing it. Tommy Rogers is equally comfortable with the guttural growls he is known for and the hauntingly beautiful melodic singing he began to explore more in Colors. Drummer Blake Richardson is on point like never before and his frenetic stick-work drives the intricate time signature switches and irregular phrasing that pervade the album.
The blatant virtuosity of the musicians is controlled and they rarely slip into the “look what we can do” mindset of prog bands like Dream Theater. From the skull-crushing blast-beats of “Obfuscation” to the closing chorus of the eighteen-minute monster, “Swim to the Moon,” BTBAM channel their skills into songwriting, experimentation and genre-crossing. For seasoned fans of everything heavy, this could easily be the best album of the year. For the rest, it’s time to open your ears, stop fearing metal and give this masterpiece the attention it deserves.