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It’s hard to define this album in relation to 65days’ previous work. Is it a triumphant return the their more electronic glitch-rock days or is it an evolution away from their more melodic post rock releases? When you compare it to the Dance Parties remixes however it feels a lot more like 65days have taken a look at what they’ve done so far and decided to move into less explored musical territory.

Cover art

We Were Exploding Anyway takes a much more electronic look at the post rock soundscape, with sharper and more hard hitting sounds and tones brought in through the increased use of synths, becoming at times more prominant than the guitar work. However this is by far not a step into what people would consider the realms of more popular electronica, the post rock themes cropping up throughout keeping it thoroughly grounded.

What I found most striking about the album is the feel of relentlessness to the music. It is rare that the music takes a moment to let you rest and prepare for the next song, with any slow build ups being followed by crushing bass lines and drums (Dance Dance Dance being a prime example of this). You can almost see the rave happening during these songs. This unrelenting feel is the main driving force of the album, flinging you from one song to the next while still maintaining the distinction between them. The only downside to this instant fix of fast, heavy synths is it does rely more on the breaking down of the melody and song structure in order to provide variation to each song, as many of the main riffs are introduced right at the start. This fits in nicely with the view of this being a progression away from post rock, which focuses mainly on the slow introduction of riffs and melodies to build the song up. However it does mean that some of the longer songs, such as Tiger Girl, feel forced and repetitive. I also found the use of synth to be quite unvarying throughout the album as well, with many of the same sounds seeming to be reused, though 65days overcome this with a few interesting additions to their repertoire, such as the use of vocals.

65 live

One criticism of this album is one that I’ve had with most of 65days’ more synth based songs is the reliance on treble. In many of the songs I found the bass to be lacking, and even during the ‘crushing bass lines’ I mentioned you find that what makes them appear crushing is the treble distortion which punctuates it. The same can be said for the guitar and synth melodies, which often descend into noisy chaos. Though this noisy chaos has been a staple of many 65days song crescendos I have begun to find it a little tiresome, especially when listening to it in my own room.

As an album, We Were Exploding Anyway stands out from 65days’ earlier work and is both better and worse for it. Each song is an exhilarating experience but by the end of the album it has left me wondering whether or not I’ve enjoyed listening to the whole thing. That being said I have listened to it almost 4 times through today already as background music to my revision so I guess I must be enjoying it. Whether this is a progression forward or a return to their roots, 65days have once again made a very good album.

Here’s a video from an earlier tune.

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Ok so yesterday I didn’t have time to do a review of anything properly but I wanted to post something, so I did. Now that I have a bit of time I’ll tell you why The Great Misdirect is the best album of all time.

I’ve been a fan of Between the Buried and Me for about a year, having got their discography from a friend in my first year of university in his attempt to get me to listen to something other than power metal. I was initially drawn to their latest album at the time, Colors, through the immense guitar solos, riffs, and truly epic vocal sections, though the progress was slow due to the fact that I did not enjoy the screamy growly vocals of Tommy Rogers. However, over time I found myself enjoying and appreciating the depth that they gave the music, adding an element of aggression and allowing them not to be constrained by typical vocal arrangements, freeing the lyrical structure to be more experimental.

I slowly worked my way back from Colors, through Alaska (arguably their weakest album, though they did say that it was them experimenting with a new sound), The Silent Circus (taking more hardcore elements into their music), and their self titled album (taking metalcore in a different direction). Eventually I began branching out, following all the different elements of their music, taking in hardcore bands such as converge and the dillinger escape plan, prog bands such as pink floyd and jethro tull, and post rock bands such as this will destroy you and 65daysofstatic, the latter of which introduced me to electronica and eventually dubstep. So you can see why I feel so attached to btbam’s music, as they introduced me to music I would never have considered listening to before.

After the release of Colors I saw btbam on their UK tour twice. Then not long after their tour they released a live album, taking in the whole of Colors along with a selection of older songs voted for on their myspace page. Obviously I bought this and have since watched/listened to it many times. According to my last.fm account I have listened to Colors at least 100 times, if not more. And that doesn’t include on my ipod, phone, or on CD or DVD. Then they announced The Great Misdirect.

Screamy vocals

In January I discovered btbam had signed up for a twitter account, which they stated was there purely to keep fans updated on the progress of their new album which they announced they had started writing not long before. So for half a year I watched them update their fans with various random posts and the occasional announcement that they had recorded a song or a drum track. Then finally they announced the album was finished and would be out in October. When the release date came round I had a shiny new copy of The Great Misdirect along with 3 bottles of Hobgoblin and a couple of mates to listen to it with.

This is where the review gets difficult, as I could simply rant about how awesome it is, but I don’t want to do that, I want to try and be objective about it. So first let me talk about what a lot of people find to be the put off with bands like btbam, the screaming. I’m not quite sure what it is that drew me towards finding it one of the main pluses about btbam’s music, but it is as integral to their sound as the guitars or drums. Perhaps it stems from the lyrics. When you read the lyrics you really get a feel for the meaning of the music and the use of harsh vocals to convey that meaning.

I awake with a cool breeze blowing through my dirty hair.
Rested, stable… a first.
A caffeine junkie’s longest wish: peace and quiet…
No wake-ups, no expectations…
A strange feeling… suddenly drifting…
This “as seen on T.V.” anchor is just another lie I guess…
hoping for something not there.
Filling a void that I can’t quite put my finger on.

As you can see from this section of lyrics from ‘Swim to the Moon’ from The Great Misdirect, they structure is not typical. The train of thought that most of their lyrics seem to follow lends itself perfectly to the harsh screams. Repetition of lines and sections in the song but not in the writing is common, another feature allowed by the vocals, the written lyrics tell the story while they can be arranged at will in the song, though in the correct order.

MESMERIZED.
The populations soon follow the clown’s lead.
Death is in the air.
The three adults once again start talking…
They ask questions of faith and love.
“We shall live past these days, rid of all we’ve done.”
I see what they mean now… but the wretched smell has overcome…
I am gone…
THE BABY BORN WITH THE END OF THE WORLD… Awake…
The five of us haven’t spoken in hours.
Sitting alone to our own thoughts.
Only we will know what strange things boredom has created.

Lost Perfection (b): Coulrophobia from The Silent Circus

The harsh vocals also provide a stark contrast to Tommy’s ‘clean’ vocal sections. The acoustic section of Fossil Genera (TGM) followed by an orchestral finale reminiscent of recent Muse songs, leading into what I consider one of the best songs of the album, Desert of Song, an ode to the evolution of music. This one done entirely without screams (the first mid-album song to do this since shevanel take 2, 3 albums prior).

With every album the complexity of the instrumentals has increased, and TGM is no exception. Having written 3 albums with the current band members, btbam are really beginning to perfect their sound. The depth of the lyrics only equalled by the complexity of the music. Taking hardcore metal and turning it into progressive music is no simple task, especially with btbams tendency for excessive guitar solos and riffs. Listening to the album as I write this I can pick out every instrument individually, but cannot separate them from each other, and I’m finding it extremely hard to think of something to write about them. Take the final song of the album, Swim to the Moon as an example. Opening with an oriental sounding mix of synths and percussion the first 2 minutes of the song switch between slow echoey guitar and fast paced complex riffs (using the term riff in its loosest sense) without blinking an eye, with Tommy Roger’s synths providing the perfect background. I would love to see this live as the interaction between Paul Waggoner’s and Dustie Waring’s guitars is mindblowingly intense, especially during the early vocal sections. Dan Briggs’ bass adds yet another depth to the music, rarely following a simple pattern underneath the guitars, but more often becoming the focal point of the melody and driving the music forwards. In the making of DVD they say that dummer Blake Richardson recorded the entire drum track for this album in 2 days. Well, that’s awesome.

Paul Waggoner is my favourite guitarist of ALL TIME

Woah, lots of text, no pictures. Here’s a video of Blake recording the drums to the second track of TGM.

See? Awesome.

There isn’t really anything more productive I can say about this album. I could probably spend a thousand words ranting about how awesome each member of the band is. If you look at their twitter or their youtube channel they seem like they’re just standard awesome people. They don’t drink, most of them are vegan or vegetarian at the least, which is always a downside (lol).

So yeah, I’ll end this review with what I posted yesterday.

THIS ALBUM IS THE GREATEST ALBUM EVER! GO BUY IT!