Welp, I didn’t wait long to to cover the band that helped inspired the name of this series. Between the Buried and Me is actually one of the most varied bands in the 21st century in prog. Of course, following what was said about the 2007 album, Colors, they are Adult Contemporary Progressive Death Metal. I still think that is a natural fit for the band as they can go from deathcore to Queen to Dream Theater to Mr. Bungle like it is nothing. Over the course of the band’s history they have released 9 proper studio LPs, a covers album, and a “mini” album that might actually be their best work (too bad I can’t include it on this list, but that’s the way it goes.) Let’s go over these 9 proper studio albums and rank them from the bottom to the top!
1.) No EPs, cover albums, live albums, b-side albums, or best of/greatest hits collections. Just original studio LPs. Albums that have a cover or two on it are just fine.
2.) This is just my opinions on the albums in question. No outside influences other than my own and is far from a definitive world ranking. If you have a different ranking, AWESOME! Keep that up!
3.) The reason for doing this to help people get into a band/artist/etc and give ideas of what to expect if they decide to dive into the work.
4.) This is ranked from least favorite to favorite (countdown/TRL style). I will give a few words about every album as we go down the list.
5.) There will be a spotify playlist (where applicable) to go along with the list with a song off each album so you can get another idea of what to expect. The songs will either be my favorite song off the album or one that represents the album the best in my eyes. (if you are reading this on social media, click the official link to get the playlist)
6.) Have fun and spread the word....SPREAD IT!
9.) Between The Buried And Me (2002)
The album that started it all. While this album absolutely has hints at what the band would become down the line; the self titled album showcases a lot of brutality that you will just not hear on any other release. Really showing off the deathcore elements with breakdowns, some absolutely ruthless vocals (both highs and lows) and that great feeling of a band that is throwing everything they can into an album and knowing exactly where to go from there on out. This is BTBAM at it’s more primal and it’s a great listen for that reason.
8.) The Parallax II: Future Sequence (2012)
The endind of the long running sub-story that had been running through the band’s discography since 2003’s The Silent Circus finally gets it’s full fledged and climactic ending. Upon repeated listens, I gotta give this album more credit than I have in the past. The songs are absolutely solid, the production is stellar and this is a great conclusion to this on running story. It will just help tremendously if you check out The Hypersleep Dialogues (like mentioned earlier, this may be my favorite work from the band) first to get more of a grasp of the story, and check out the connected songs made previously. Even then, don’t expect to understand the story on your first listen. It’ll take a while.
7.) Automata I (2018)
Is this a gray area? Sure. You can either look at Automata I & II as one album, two separate albums or even two EPs that form one album. For the benefit of less confusion I’m taking it as two different albums. They are listed as I and II so there! Anyways...The beginning of the Automata story is another concept album which BTBAM have been masters at since they began doing concept albums. It’s a very intriguing story and musically it goes through many different twists and turns (even more so on Automata II). If you dig the shorter songs of BTBAM, this may be a great starting point for you as it shows where the band is at now, but also gives you the full point of the songs as well.
6.) Coma Ecliptic (2015)
Oh boy...here we go… So this was a polarizing album, eh? It’s amazing in hindsight why it is polarizing because musically, this is a pure BTBAM album. The proggyness is shining through more than ever, sure, but that doesn’t detract from the music at all (at least in my prog sighted mind anyways). The problem comes down to (for most people) the vocals. For typical prog fans, this will be the album for you to check out first as it has longer songs, very proggy moments and the most clean vocals you will find on any BTBAM album. For long time fans of the band, that can be a bad thing as they missed the screams that either took over or were at least complimented by the clean vocals to make a great contrast. Vocals aside, this is another fantastic concept album that really grabs you and takes you on a great, dreamy, adventure. It may be the red-headed step child to a lot of fans, but whether you are a long time fan of the band, just getting into the band, or just skipped on this album for whatever reason; go give this one a shot. It’s worth it.
5.) Automata II (2018)
THIS is where the fun is at! If you dug Automata I but felt like something was missing, this is the album to go check out next. The progressive death metal epics are all on this 2nd half of Automata. While Automata I does end with the 10 minute epic, Blot, that was just a taste of things to come with the final 4 songs shown off here. If this is the direction that the band goes in going forward, I will be very, VERY happy with what’s coming next.
4.) The Silent Circus (2003)
I honestly had this in 2nd place for quite a bit, that’s how varied my list order can get at times. This was the album that brought me to the dance. This took the ideas that were shown off on the self titled album but brought them into full light. Almost all of the tropes that you know and love from the band are shown off in some way on The Silent Circus, just in smaller doses. The songs still have brutal riffs and are a main showcase, but the prog elements are sneaking their way in throughout the album and they really make it stand out. This also features the first time that clean vocals became a main part of the band rather than just a spice in the recipe. If you need any proof of where the band was going to go in the future, just listen to the song Mordecai; Still one of my all time favorite BTBAM songs, that second half is pure unadulterated beauty.
3.) Alaska (2005)
It’s amazing to think that The Silent Circus and Colors were only 4 years apart and in between was the perfect bridge of an album called Alaska. For prog nerds like myself, this was what got everyone’s attention (though as stated earlier, The Silent Circus is what brought me into town). The prog is becoming more of a focus for the band while the deathcore is all but gone. They are a progressive death metal band at this point, just quite a brutal one. Much like The Silent Circus prior, this is just a stunning display for musicianship with even better production and songwriting. And like Mordecai for myself on The Silent Circus, prog fans dropped their jaws the first time they heard Selkies: The Endless Obsession. The second half of this song is pure beauty with one of the best solos of the band’s career to date. Alaska has become a lost gem in the grand scheme of things, but it is an album of wonder that needs to be remembered.
2.) The Great Misdirect (2009)
Actually one of only 3 albums to NOT be a concept album, which is odd to think about if you are not a prog fan. After the Success of Colors, the band wanted to show off they were more than capable of telling multiple stories in their music and hence, The Great Misdirect. This album is filled to the brim with stunning songwriting, mindblowing production (especially with the 2019 remix/remaster) and some of most creative ideas to ever be shown off on a BTBAM album. And of course, how could you not love a 17 minute epic like Swim to the Moon, I mean SERIOUSLY! If you want to enjoy a BTBAM filled with prog but don’t wanna have to keep up with a long running story to enjoy it, check this one out.
1.) Colors (2007)
How could it have been anything other than Colors? I mean really? This is the seminal BTBAM and one of the seminal progressive death metal albums. I still like to think of this album as one song, despite being cut up into 8 tracks for easier listening. This also marked one of my favorite shows ever, seeing BTBAM perform Colors in it’s entirety shortly after the album came out in 2007 at The Triple Rock in Minnesota. Myself and 399 other people just raging to this masterpiece of a song. In the beginning of this, I mentioned how BTBAM is referred to as Adult Contemporary Progressive Death Metal; Colors was the album where that all started. The prog is in full form, the death metal sides shine through and there are so many nods to other styles that fit seamlessly. BE it going from typical BTBAM fanfare to Mr Bungle style riffs to a drunken country line-dancing party, it’s all here and then some. Colors was a once in a lifetime album and even if the band doesn’t achieve this popularity again, they will of had this under their belt and it blows my mind this was already 13 years ago…
And there you have it folks, all 9 of Between The Buried And Me’s original studio LPs ranked from the bottom to the top. I’m sure our lists will differ in some way and I would love to hear your list as well. Let me know. And if you are new to the band, make sure to check out the Spotify playlist I made below checking off a song off each album in order lineup that just may get you into the band.
Till next time, this is That Drummer Guy saying, SEE YA!
- Josh Rundquist (That Drummer Guy)