I’ll have a full review of Between the Buried and Me’s latest release, Automata I, out in the next few days after I’ve been able to give it the listens it deserves. But since the record is likely my most anticipated release of 2018, here are a few quick thoughts about the record after my first two spins:
• Musically, the album strikes me as very similar to their last offering, Coma Ecliptic. That’s not a bad thing, as Coma Ecliptic was very strong instrumentally.
• The biggest change from CE is that they gone from an 80/20 split in regards to clean vocals/screams back closer to a 50/50 split, which is a huge improvement in my not-so-humble opinion (I love Tommy Rogers’ singing voice, but he has one of the most powerful screams in metal, and I wasn’t a fan of seeing that forced to the background on Coma Ecliptic).
• The opening track (“Condemned to the Gallows”) and closing track (“Blot”) are the highlights of the record. I stand by my early assertion that “Condemned to the Gallows” may be a Song of the Year contender, and “Blot” sounds like a long-lost track from Colors, which is about as high a compliment I can pay a song.
• The energy lags a bit on the middle tracks (“House Organ” and “Millions” in particular), but “Yellow Eyes” carries the record through the middle stretch as one of the proggiest, most bizarre tracks on the album.
• My only real issue with the album is that it feels incomplete. But when you take into account that it’s the first half of a planned double release for this year, I guess that makes sense. I have a feeling that once Part II comes out, Automata taken as a whole will be one of the finest metal releases of 2018.