Between the Buried and Me are known for fusing together a wide range of influences – from jazz to hardcore, polka to alternative, and death metal to rock. You name it and odds are it’s in a BTBAM song. Not only is it easy to see the vast amount of influences they have taken from, but looking at the last few years of the metal scene, it is also easy to see what an enormous influence they have been.
Colors is the Between the Buried and Me at their finest. It is an album where a band with so much potential finally achieves perfection. Unlike some bands whose debut album is their strongest, these progressive titans have only pushed themselves harder with each release. And while Alaska, released two years prior to Colors, remains a fan favorite, Colors truly surpasses it in terms of production and overall songwriting.
From the soft piano opening of “Foam Born (A) the Backtrack,” listeners can already hear that they are in for a treat. After being serenaded by the voice and piano styling of vocalist Tommy Rogers, the song gradually intensifies with the addition of other members until all hell breaks loose in the opening riff of “(B) the Decade of Statues.” This is a perfect example of my favorite aspect of Colors: each song flows together seamlessly with the next, making the album sound like one whole song. And while this may sound like it would get boring after a while, I promise it is anything but. What makes Colors stand out from a majority of progressive metal albums, even some of their own, is that the songs are not just technically impressive but they are memorable. They are catchy. Some may be ridiculously long but on Colors, every minute is genuinely interesting. If you need proof, look no further than the barroom-style hoedown section of “Ants of the Sky” or the weird “la, la, la” part about three and a half minutes into “Sun of Nothing.”
Every member of Between the Buried and Me is at the top of his game on Colors. The guitars shine especially brightly on songs like “Ants of the Sky” and “Prequel to the Sequel.” Drummer Blake Richardson keeps up with every odd time signature thrown his way but sounds outstanding on “Informal Gluttony” and “White Walls.” The track preceding “White Walls” is the instrumental “Viridian.” Not only is this one of the shortest songs on the album, clocking in at 2:51, but it is one of the best. It is not the piano or guitars that make this song what it is, but the bass. The bass solo is phenomenal on that track. Rogers is tremendous throughout the entire album, switching between his signature screams and his soaring singing, always fitting the song perfectly. It is also ironic what a bleak outlook the album’s lyrics have on humanity when you take a step back and realize they are found on a record called Colors.
If you have any doubt of just how good this album is and you haven’t already heard it, I highly recommend listening to it straight through. You may also want to consider checking out Colors Live, a DVD the band put out with a recorded live show where they played Colors in its entirety. Between the Buried and Me proved that not only could they write such a complex album, but that they could also play it flawlessly live. Colors is a progressive metal juggernaut, a classic, and it has remained undefeated for five years running.