In some regards, it doesn’t feel that long since we were graced with the first part of Between The Buried And Me’s Automata project, yet curiosity lined with anticipation certainly establishes a craving that the second half of Automata more than satisfies.
It becomes apparent almost immediately that Automata II not only finds its identity through longer, more progressive numbers than its predecessor but also through poking its head into more bizarre, experimental realms. Sweeping guitar leads and manic keys fly all over the body of opener ‘The Proverbial Bellow’, accentuated by Tommy Rogers heavy lamented singing.
“Please pick up the phone, it’s been ringing for years now.”
The track peaks and valleys, finishing on a triumphant climax and yet impressively enough, for a 13-minute opener, everything sounds very organic for BTBAM and doesn’t manage to come across as too many ideas forced into one package. Even during the interlude piece ‘Glide’ that segues into what is one of their most chaotic and boisterous tracks ‘Voice Of Trespass’, the two of them together crafting the aural version of what sounds like a haunted carnival ride hurtling at Mach-speed into your own subconscious.
From anyone else, it would sound gimmicky, but the group have always been adept at crafting such finessed lyrical imagery and the fact that a band of musicians can create this sound to the point of articulation is impressive enough, but truthfully you’d expect nothing less from a band with such a consistent lineup as BTBAM. Dense synth kicks off the closer of ‘The Grid’, emphasizing a sense of weightlessness on its listeners allowing a chance to breathe after the chaos that just was.
Just four tracks can sound underwhelming, but Automata II is definitely the more bombastic, theatrical half to BTBAM that we’ve come to love. Fans were initially skeptic at the idea that we’d uncover two halves of a greater project, but allowing listeners the time to digest and appreciate the intricacies of one before diving into the other makes for much more palatable listening. One can see why none of these tracks would necessarily fit on the more streamlined and aggressive first half. In any case, it’s going to very rewarding to hear these back to back.
Dre’s Top Three:
- The Proverbial Bellow
- Voice Of Trespass
- The Grid