Revisiting a classic album with a sequel is a fraught proposition. The only albums that I can recall off the top of my head didn’t leave much of an impression in light of the majesty of the first album. Queensryche attempted to craft a continuation of their Operation: Mindcrime storyline with Operation: Mindcrime II and it was a terrible decision (even with the addition of Ronnie James Dio as Doctor X). King Diamond attempted to go back to Abigail with Abigail II and, although it wasn’t terrible like Queensryche’s attempt, it certainly wasn’t really memorable in any way and didn’t come close to reaching the heights of the first album. Iced Earth tried to expand upon their Something Wicked Trilogy with a double album that expanded upon the mythology, but it also fell flat in comparison to the initial three song arc. Also, on this front, go fuck yourself, Insurrection Jon.
So, here we are with Between the Buried and Me going back to their 2007 album Colors. The first album was one of those touchstone moments where this band really started to make a statement that they were a prog metal force to be reckoned with. It was a massive slab of frenetic metal with odd segues into odd world music and other sorts of musical nerdery. It felt at the time that this was a band who was picking up the mantle that Dream Theater had started in the late 80s, early 90s of becoming the trailblazing prog metal band of their era. What Dream Theater was to the 90s, Between the Buried and Me has become in the 2000s.
So, I opened this package with extreme hesitancy. And, though there is much to like on this latest attempt at a sequel, once again the follow-up doesn’t quite reach the heights of the original. The feel of the music between the two albums is there. They’ve managed to capture the same sort of sound on this new album. However, it feels like those special emotional elements that make Between the Buried and Me such a great band are missing to some extent on this one. I can usually count on a few true goosebump type moments on each Between the Buried and Me albums and I just never found the music on this album pushing those buttons for me. Also, it feels like there were just a few too many quirky segues with cartoon/arcade noises thrown in at random places. I know this is kind of a thing they do, but it’s really starting to wear a bit thin. Hell, when they broke out the “Chugga, Chugg-owwwww” soundbite from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off I damn near had to pull the album off the player. This kind of stuff may amuse these dudes, but it effect o the listener is just jarring and, at least from my perspective, completely pulls me out of the vibe of the song.
All in all, a nice attempt, but not a completely satisfactory revisit of a classic album. I think I’d prefer a band to just keep progressing forward rather than revisit the past glories. The track record bears it out that it’s just not a great idea.
3.5 flip flops out of 5