Between the Buried and Me are a thinking man's metal outfit from Raleigh, North Carolina. Their ability to move seamlessly from death, prog, technical, death, and math metal to the blues is unique. On 2003's The Silent Circus they ground through the warehouse of extreme music's subgenres. They referred to 2007's Colors as "a 65-minute opus of non-stop pummeling beautiful music...." and critics agreed. 2015's relatively accessible Coma Ecliptic revealed that BTBAM had widened their creative circle to the degree that critics lauded them as a "progressive metal" band. They underscored this impression with 2018's conceptual two-part Automata, which offered stylistic shifts amid panoramic production aesthetics. In 2021, the band issued Colors II, a sequel to its 2007 cult classic.
The band formed in 2000 after the dissolution of vocalist Tommy Rogers and guitarist Paul Waggoner's previous group, Prayer for Cleansing. Rogers and Waggoner completed their new lineup with the addition of guitarist Nick Fletcher, bassist Jason King (ex-Azazel), and drummer Mark Castillo, formerly of Bury Your Dead. An eponymous debut soon appeared, issued through the German indie Lifeforce, and the band supported its release with an avid tour schedule. Between the Buried and Me signed with Chicago hardcore powerhouse Victory in the summer of 2002 and began work on their debut for the label. The Silent Circus appeared in late October of the following year and showcased a more focused fusion of the group's math rock, heavy metal, and post-hardcore influences.
Several lineup changes ensued that saw Rogers and Waggoner rounded out by guitarist Dusty Waring, bassist Dan Briggs, and drummer Blake Richardson. Joining forces with producer Jamie King, who had recorded their self-titled effort, Between the Buried and Me released Alaska in September 2005. Various tour dates with the Dillinger Escape Plan, Every Time I Die, Bleeding Through, and Haste the Day followed. The band next paid tribute to many of its influences -- from Pantera to Queen to Pink Floyd -- on the covers album The Anatomy Of, which surfaced in June 2006, before hitting the road on a subsequent headlining tour. That fall, Victory reissued The Silent Circus with an additional bonus DVD of material. In 2007, they went into the studio with producer Jamie King and recorded Colors, which was released that September through Victory Records and described as "new wave polka grunge" by the band. The Great Misdirect, the band's fifth studio album, appeared two years later.
Victory put out a Between the Buried and Me greatest-hits album in 2011, just weeks before the band released its first EP on Metal Blade, The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues, the first entry in a two-part concept album. The second part, The Parallax II: Future Sequence, followed in 2012. In 2013, they embarked on the Future Sequence Tour, where they played The Parallax II in full. The group reentered the studio in late 2014 to begin work on a new concept recording -- Metal Blade referred to it as a "rock opera." Coma Ecliptic was produced by Jamie King and mixed by Jens Bogren. The set's pre-release single, "Memory Palace," appeared in April of 2015; the album followed in July. In 2017, Between the Buried and Me released the concert LP Coma Ecliptic Live, which featured the band playing the album live in its entirety at the Observatory North Park in San Diego, California. It was their final album for Metal Blade.
The band signed to Sumerian that year and quickly hit the studio with King returning as producer. They developed a double-length concept album, Automata, to be issued as two separate recordings with different release dates. According to Rogers: "We can get music instantly, and with this luxury, the listener has a hard time sitting down with albums and exploring their every twist and turn. Because of this, we have decided to release our new album in two parts." The album's songs explore several central questions: What if dreams could be broadcast for the purpose of entertainment? Could you consume the innermost thoughts of another person onscreen? If you could, what does that say about an attention-starved audience? More importantly, what would become of the dreamer? The truly accessible Automata I was issued in early March of 2018; in July, its existence was nearly contradicted (musically) by its companion release, Automata II, an epic, emotional, and eccentric journey that found the group working not only through the usual panoply of genres but also jazz, swing, improvised music, and avant-rock.
In 2021, BTBAM issued Colors II. After the COVID-19 pandemic dictated being off the road and out of the studio for more than a year, the band decided they had something to prove, that their next album was a do or die effort -- the same attitude that guided 2007's Colors. In June they issued the single "Fix the Error," that featured appearances from three guest drummers: Mike Portnoy, Navene Koperweis, and Ken Schalk. In July they followed with the epic nine-minute single "Revolution in Limbo." Colors II was issued by Sumerian Records in late August. ~ Johnny Loftus, Rovi