Between the Buried and Me Alaska

Further strengthening Victory’s best year in recent memory, everyone’s favourite genre-bending tech wizards have returned with an entirely different rhythm section, cryptic, atypically minimalist artwork, and quite possibly the finest major label release of the year. Between the Buried and Me have tightened and spiffed up their already impressive songwriting skills this time around; Alaska is easily their most cohesive, well-proportioned offering yet. As expected, smatterings of technical death metal, grind, traditional/power metal, progressive, ambient, black metal, and even the occasional burst of all-out acoustic emo parade their way past the listener’s ears with little regard for the current state of the metal and hardcore community — only this time, it really does all make sense. There is literally something for everybody here. The key to appreciating a group this dynamic and overwhelming is to merely accept these contrasting elements for what they are, and to swallow one’s apprehension towards certain stylistic flourishes that would not necessarily grace your music collection otherwise. Immerse yourself, accept, understand, and enjoy, for Alaska is one hell of an emotional rollercoaster, and only those with open minds should appeal.

The songwriting on Alaska seems a bit more focused than on The Silent Circus. Was there a deliberate effort to write a catchier record? Vocalist Tommy Rogers: A big goal for us was to try and write typical BTBAM songs that were more musical and flowed better. We made sure all the styles felt comfortable with each other. We listen to more prog than we used to (Yes, Emerson Lake & Palmer, King Crimson, Dream Theater). We wanted to take a step forward musically, and I feel we created something different from anything else we’ve written.

How have the constant line-up changes affected the band? We’re more focused and on the same page. We all stoked and worked very hard on this record. This is the final line-up.

You have incorporated a vast array of vocal styles into your repertoire. What artists have inspired and influenced you? Philip Anselmo from Pantera, and obviously various death and black metal singers; I’m really into Freddie Mercury. I just try to create a unique voice and not compare myself to others. I love music, so music in general influences my voice. (Victory)