Published Jul 10, 2018Continuing from the first part of Automata, progressive metal masters Between the Buried and Me bring a whole new set of musical twists and turns to conclude the epic concept record. Although more melodic and experimental than its predecessor, Automata II delivers a satisfying ending and shows the band are capable of balancing all of their various influences.
Soaring guitar work and spacy organs kick off "The Proverbial Bellow" before a robotic piano track leads into vocalist Tommy Rogers' soothing voice cutting through the thick layers of instruments. The song is a mostly melodic affair, sparingly introducing heavier moments, but heavily leaning into '70s prog rock. After this lengthy venture, the band break into a disturbing polka jam on "Glide" that ends all too soon.
Quickly changing tack, the band rip into a frantic and quirky riff on "Voice of Trespass" that eventually gets taken over by a laid-back piano line. The band progressively add layer after layer of instruments to the core rhythm, building the song up with a jazzy attitude. The track comes to its conclusion through a massive breakdown as Rogers sings "We are hollow, condemned to the gallows" as a call back to Automata I cut "Condemned to the Gallows."
Dreamy guitar lines sit alongside death metal grooves on "The Grid," bringing an uplifting atmosphere to a record that began with a much darker tone. The song serves as a perfect ending for the band's first album to end on a happy note, bringing acoustic guitar lines together with melodic soloing at its conclusion.
Although putting out Automata in separate parts at different times left an incomplete feeling between releases, it was well worth the wait. The transition between blasting drums and metal riffs on "Blot" from Automata I into "The Proverbial Bellow" is surprisingly smooth without feeling like there is any disconnect between records. Overall, splitting up the release made it much easier to digest a full Between the Buried and Me album, which is never an easy task. (Sumerian)