Monday, December 27, 2010

Review: Between the Buried and Me - The Great Misdirect

Here it is folks, my last (for the most part) review of an album to come out in the year 2009. Just in time to be done with 2010. Ah well, maybe someday I'll be all caught up. I wouldn't hold my breath though. This is going to be a short review today too mostly because I don't have the chops or the patience to really parse out enough from songs this long (three break double digits for minutes and a fourth is nine and a quarter).

Between the Buried and Me have always distanced themselves from the rest of their progressive/metalcore peers through their extreme technical proficiency and their willingness to flaunt their disparate influences (they're named for a Counting Crows lyric for god's sake). The Great Misdirect is characterized by switches back and forth between brutal metalcore and examples of the other, mellower and diverse genres the band is capable of playing. Sometimes these diversions are entire songs, like the mellow quiet first track, 'Mirrors' or 'Desert of Song' which has an Americana sound (complete with wind/highway noises in the background) that wouldn't be out of place on a Murder by Death record. Other times songs contain both aspects such as 'Obfuscation' which cycles between ambient music and all out hardcore or "Disease, Injury, Madness' which punctuates its frantic riffage with breaks featuring Weather Report-esque bass solos. The best example of this though, is the, um, differently titled 'Fossil Genera - A Feed From Cloud Mountain.' This track starts with a carnival, almost calliope sounding, bar room piano riff and maintains that feel throughout the track. Then at regular intervals, the band comes in for lots of screaming riffy goodness. Even when the main focus becomes the hardcore maelstrom, you can still hear the waltz beat going on underneath.

In other news, I got in a car accident three days ago so I'm going to wrap this review up early, because my ears are still ringing and the last thing I want to do is go back and re-listen to a metalcore album to see if I missed anything. I've said it before and I'll say it now, if you like hardcore music you'll find this to be a challenging (in a mentally stimulating kind of way) listen. If you don't like hardcore music, this probably won't be your gateway band. Though now that I think of it, if you're really into music and technical proficiency, interesting time signatures etc, BTBAM kind of have the goods to make you see beyond the screamy bits (which are a bit hard to deny, dude can growl, scream and bree with the best of them) and to recognize this for the impressive and adventurous album that it is.

I was also going to write in this post about how I just saw the two Scorpion King movies. Let me just say, don't make my mistake. The first one is technically a prequel to the movie The Mummy but was made before the most recent Mummy movie (you know, the one set in china that they couldn't get anyone except Brendan Fraser to come back for? I'm sorry, once Rachel Weisz was gone my interest dissipated rapidly). I tell you this because it was also subtitled The Mummy 3, which was presumably a bit of a snafu when they decided to actually make a third Mummy movie, but I digress. The first SK is not totally mind numbingly bad. Anyone who has heard me talk about Van Helsing, The Brothers Grimm or the Transporter franchise knows that I am a big fan of the bad but entertaining action movie. They have huge budgets, lots of special effects, and everyone knows they aren't taking home an Oscar at the end of the day. If you go in not expect much, it can be a great use of a couple hours. Obviously, the first SK is toward the bottom of that category, presumably hanging out with XXX. It's kind of fun watching The Rock run around pretending he can carry a real movie all by himself since he has two whole years before Walking Tall proves unequivocally that no, no he can't. In the end spoiler alert bad guys get jacked up, the good guy ends up with what could charitably be called the 'hot chick' and the fair citizens of whatever backwater Greek? Egyptian? Macedonian? city get a new and more just ruler who some how is going to turn out to be the asshole in the second installment of The Mummy. Sumbitch doesn't pass the Bechdel test (though weirdly enough the second one kind of does) but it won't make you cut your eyes out.

Which brings me to the second one, which apparently and unsurprisingly went straight to DVD. First of all it's prequel to the first SK which makes it a prequel to a prequel to an only moderately watchable trio of big budget summer action movies which, and I can't stress this enough, STARRED BRENDAN F***ING FRASER, heir the Nick Cage-school-of-Drama- Valedictorian robe. Where was I? Ah yes, Scorpion King II. This is an abomination. I think it should suffice to say that probably the best acting in the movie is done by former UFC fighter Randy Couture. That's right, a man who used to get beaten around the head for a living, is the most convincing actor in this movie. And don't get me wrong, he's awful. But everyone else is so much worse. Our main character looks like the most ethnic of the Jonas brothers but then has this freakishly huge chest and keeps hitting poses like he's going to be on the cover of a romance novel, which to be fair is probably right up his alley. His supposed love interest is so caught up in trying to be the convincing wannabe- warrior tomboy while at the same time avoiding anachronism (HA!) that she never really does anything. Sample dialog:
Girl: I could easily beat you. I could be a warrior, you know I can fight.
Boy: Yes, but you can't ever be a warrior because you are a girl.
Girl: This is true.
She's so busy not being empowered she even forgets to establish any sort attraction to our dummkopf hero until right toward the end of the movie. Even then she never says she loves him, she instead yells to the goddess of death that our hero would never choose said-goddess because he is in love with her. This is literally the first we've heard about it, since other than simply being differently gendered, presumably heterosexual people of similar ages there is little to no chemistry between them. As for the aforementioned goddess of death she shifts back and forth between trying to be frightening and trying to be seductive and fails wildly at both. I'm afraid this makes me sound like a shallow person but I find it hard to believe we couldn't have found attractive people for these roles, since talent clearly wasn't a requirement.

Ok I've run out of steam on what might be my longest post ever, So I guess I'll just put up the video from BTBAM and call it a night. Sorry no mp3 on this one since there were only 6 tracks on the album and I don't like giving away that high a percentage even if it is for sampling purposes only -wink- (that's going to get me in trouble). Anyhoo... here's hoping everyone had a good new years, has a better next year and that the ringing in my ears goes away soon.

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Between the Buried and Me


Keegan said...

Yeah, maybe this should have been two separate posts. Kinda ran on there for a while.

Sarah said...

I don't think I'll ever sleep peacefully again after watching the music video for Obfuscation. Which is ironic, because I don't think I could sleep after watching the Scorpion King either.