Music / Between the Buried and Me

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/BTBAM-PROMO-2012_4902.png
Left to right: Dustie Waring, Paul Waggoner, Tommy Giles Rogers, Dan Briggs, Blake Richardson

Between the Buried and Me are a Progressive Death Metal / Metalcore band from North Carolina. While their early sound was primarily that of a contemporary death metal band, their output became increasingly multidimensional with time until the landmark album Colors introduced their now-trademark eclectic sound and complex songwriting.

The band consists of Tommy Rogers on vocals and keyboards, Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring on guitars, Dan Briggs on bass and Blake Richardson on drums.

Discography:

  • Between the Buried and Me (2002)
  • The Silent Circus (2003)
  • Alaska (2005)
  • Colors (2007)
  • The Great Misdirect (2009)
  • The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues (2011)
  • The Parallax II: Future Sequence (2012)
  • Coma Ecliptic (2015)

Tropes associated with Between the Buried and Me

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The Silent Circus, "Option Oblivion," "The Black Box," and "Extremophile Elite."
  • Adventures in Comaland: Coma Ecliptic
  • Album Title Drop:
    • In "Obfuscation": "We will always be part of the great misdirect...stepping in and stepping out."
    • In "Foam Born": "It's a must these days, for the colors are fading."
  • All There in the Manual: Some releases of The Silent Circus have liner notes explaining the concepts behind the lyrics.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Night Owls. Indeed we work from here, we have for centuries...
  • Apocalypse How: The Parallax II ends with Prospect 2 activating the Black Box and destroying the world.
  • Arc Words: "Goodbye to everything", "I see all, I hear all", and "Was I ever really alive?" on The Parallax II.
    • "Velvet" and "gold" in Coma Ecliptic.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Black Box, which appears to be some sort of planet destroying superweapon.
  • Badass Boast: Strigiformes (supposedly the collective mind or the leader of the Night Owls) makes this towards humanity, going so far as to say that he was created by alien gods and is a necessity for the existence of all life. Then he goes on to call humanity nothing more than an experiment and humans "fucking weaklings".
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The ending of The Parallax II: Hypersleep Dialogues.
  • Big Bad: The Night Owls for the Parallax albums.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Coma Ecliptic ends with the protagonist waking up in the real world and realizing its beauty, but he dies from being in a coma for most of his life.
  • Bookends: "Goodbye To Everything" and its reprise off of Future Sequence. Also counts as How We Got Here.
    • Colors begins and ends with a piano piece.
  • Breather Episode: Starting with The Silent Circus, most of their albums have at least one of these, and usually quite a few more.
  • Concept Album: The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues and The Parallax II: Future Sequence make up two parts of a very confusing Concept Album. This may help you understand it somewhat better.
  • Cover Album: The Anatomy Of.
  • Downer Ending: The Parallax storyline ends in this when Prospect 2 goes crazy (after being manipulated by the Night Owls) and activates the Black Box, killing off humanity and allowing the Night Owls to succeed. Goodbye to Everything.
  • Dream Within a Dream: Or rather Coma Within A Coma.
  • Driven to Suicide: Prospect 2 by the end of The Parallax II. Also, Prospect 1 in his introductory song "Swim to the Moon". He fails.
    • The Protagonist of Coma Ecliptic in "Option Oblivion." This is what causes him to wake up from his Coma Within a coma.
  • Epic Rocking: Very frequent from Colors onward, with the top three prizes taken by album finales "Swim to the Moon" (nearly 18 minutes), "Silent Flight Parliament" (about 15 minutes), and "White Walls" (about 14). Gets even more mind-boggling if you consider that most of the songs on their recent albums segue continuously into one another and the track divisions often seem almost arbitrary. They have actually performed Colors in its entirety and released it as a live album. The entire thing is close to sixty-six minutes of continuous performance.
  • Fading into the Next Song: literally every track division on Colors, The Great Misdirect, and both Parallax records, plus almost all of The Silent Circus, Alaska, and Coma Ecliptic, as well as a couple of transitions on the self-titled.
  • Genre-Busting
  • Genre Roulette: There's no telling what genres a given song of theirs will dip into. Two of the most famous examples are the polka break in "Prequel to the Sequel" and the hoedown in "Ants of the Sky". The Anatomy Of is also a particularly noteworthy example because the band covers songs from a wide variety of genres and stays largely faithful to the original arrangements (some songs that didn't have Harsh Vocals in the original versions do in BTBAM's versions, though).
  • Harsh Vocals: As expected from a Progressive Death Metal band. Not used exclusively, though.
  • Heavy Meta:
    • "White Walls" was an examination of who they were as a band at the time and stated their desire to break out of the metalcore genre and escape being pigeonholed.
    • "Ad a dglgmut" is a dedication to "noise", which per Word of God can include anything in nature, as well as heavy music, which can seem like noise to the uninitiated but can become beautiful after enough listening.
    • "Aesthetic" is about the musicians on the Titanic, who kept playing as the ship sunk; Tommy Giles Rogers has commented that he can't think of a more profound dedication to music. It's also dedicated to the band's fans and an examination of the band's own passion for music.
  • The Hero Dies: Both protagonists of The Parallax II and the protagonist of Coma Ecliptic.
  • Hidden Track: "The Man Land" at the end of The Silent Circus. It's assumed by many that they recorded it when they were drunk. VERY DRUNK.
  • Hotter and Sexier/Sex Sells: "Camilla Rhodes" is about the tendency of the music industry to use these tropes. The band aren't too thrilled with it.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Par for the course when a band uses Harsh Vocals, though it's arguably somewhat more pronounced on the old material. Rogers' clean singing is usually enunciated clearly, though.
  • Last Note Nightmare: "Melting City" ends with electronic creaking sounds which transition into "Silent Flight Parliment."
  • Lighter and Softer: Coma Ecliptic. Fans are divided on whether the change was a good idea.
  • Long Runner Lineup: While they were a Revolving Door Band in their early years, the lineup hasn't changed since 2005.
  • Loudness War: Unfortunately most of their releases are brickwalled pretty badly.
  • Metalcore: Most prominently on their first three albums, but still an influence on later material. Could also be considered Mathcore due to the band's frequent use of Uncommon Time.
  • Mind Screw: Their album catalog is filled with this. Prime example is looking at the concept of "The Parallax", which stretches all the way to "The Silent Circus".
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Due to their amorphous sound, they've covered everything from 1 to 10, with their early material generally sticking around the 9/10 region and later songs veering between hardnesses.
  • Mood Whiplash: Plentiful on all their releases.
  • Myth Arc: The Parallax storyline, which started long before the actual Parallax albums came out. Depending on your interpretation of the meanings of some songs, it may have started as far back as the The Silent Circus, but it was definitely underway by the time of The Great Misdirect, which really kicks the story off with "Swim to the Moon".
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Avoided this with what was mostly a consistently metallic sound for the first three albums (with exceptions here and there), but from Colors onwards most songs dabble in genres ranging from jazz to polka to progressive rock, with frequent juxtaposition of loud/heavy elements and softer, quieter elements. Even before this, they still would mix and match metal genres to a certain extent (for example, there are segments of Alaska that resemble Black Metal, while "Use of a Weapon" practically sounds like New Wave of British Heavy Metal with harsh vocals), and there were Subdued Sections that sat outside of metal genres entirely.
  • New Sound Album: Several.
    • Alaska was where they shed most of their metalcore elements and went for a more eclectic, progressive sound.
    • Colors completed the transition to full-on Progressive Metal.
    • Coma Ecliptic significantly dialed down the metal elements and went for a much more heavily progressive rock and AOR-influenced style.
  • Ominous Owl: The Night Owls, of course. They're an Ancient Conspiracy of alien robots who apparently destroy planets for fun.
  • Pedophile Priest: "The Need for Repetition" is a furious attack on them.
  • Physical God: The Protagonist in the video for "Astral Body".
  • Precision F-Strike: In "Silent Flight Parliament", from the album's Big Bad no less.
    "FUCKING WEAKLINGS!"
  • Progressive Death Metal/Progressive Metal: Especially from Colors onward, but Alaska qualifies too; while The Silent Circus was still mostly mathcore, songs like "Mordecai" hinted at what they'd become.
  • Protest Song: "Destructo Spin" is a protest against the wars going on at the time and the George W. Bush administration generally. The song's ending also addresses how political issues can feel confusing due to their complexity, particularly if one doesn't keep up with them.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: GOOOOOOOOD! BYYYYYYYE! TOOOOOO! EEEEVE! RYYYYYY! THIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING!
  • Religion Rant Song: "Arsonist" is a furious tirade against the Westboro Baptist Church, while "The Need for Repetition" is an equally furious response to the Catholic Church's child molestation scandal.
  • Sanity Slippage Song: "Telos" for Prospect 2.
  • Scare Chord: The transition from "Breathe In, Breathe Out" into "Roboturner" on Alaska WILL cause your spine to go three inches out of alignment at the proper volume.
  • Selkies and Wereseals: The Alaska song "Selkies: The Endless Obsession".
  • Siamese Twin Songs: Most of their songs starting with Colors.
  • Song Style Shift: They do this a lot, with "Shevanel Cut a Flip" on the first album being an early, prominent example (it starts in the typical metalcore territory of the band's early work, and ends up in progressive rock territory).
  • Soprano and Gravel: Tommy Giles Rogers' vocals are typically about half death growls and half clean singing.
  • Spiritual Successor: They're regarded as USA's answer to Opeth.
  • Subdued Section: Practically Once a Song on recent releases. Earlier releases had these sometimes as well. Some famous early examples are the "It's raining" part of "Backwards Marathon", the ending of "Shevanel Cut a Flip", and the second half of "Mordecai".
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Desert of Song", "Viridian", "Medicine Wheel", "Laser Speed", several of the interludes on The Parallax II, "Goodbye to Everything" and its reprise, possibly others
  • Titled After the Song: Their name is derived from a Counting Crows lyric.
  • Uncommon Time: Hoo boy! Lots of it!
  • Word Puree Title: "Ad a dglgmut". This actually relates to the theme of the song.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: While the lyrics offer deep social commentary in many cases, they are increasingly cryptic and confusing in recent material.

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