Overall Score: 8/10 Lyrics: 10/10 Sound: 8/10 Impression: 7/10 Pros: Excellent opener | Epic in scope | Interesting concept Cons: Sounds familiar in places
From the moment that this EP kicks in, it is clear that this is a Between the Buried and Me album, and they’re not messing around. The first track, Specular Reflection opens with a short orchestral introduction, which sets a grandiose tone for the EP, before launching in to one of BtBaM’s trademark progressive riffs, which despite feeling a tad familiar by now, have lost none of their edge. With the first track being 11 minutes long, there is a lot to digest, as the music is changing constantly between punishingly heavy technical death metal influenced riffs, to feather light choruses, which give the listener some sense of familiarity in amongst the ever-changing progressive passages. The track also has a very otherworldly feel to it, which fits the concept of the album (about 2 humans separated on different planes of existence) beautifully. Specular Reflection is the best song on the album because the band get the balance right with the short, sweet choruses in amongst the technical brutality, whilst keeping the music flowing like water. Even though there is sharp contrast, the transitions never feel too sudden.
The second track, Augment of Rebirth feels more standard affair for Between the Buried and Me, and although Specular Reflection isn’t a massive departure from the sound of The Great Misdirect, it doesn’t matter, because it is such a well-balanced, brilliant track. Augment of Rebirth on the other hand, isn’t bad, but it doesn’t stand out against BtBaM’s other work, which is more noticeable when it makes up one third of the album.
Lunar Wildness is an excellent close to the EP. It’s almost a synthesis of everything that BtBaM are, as it includes a bit of everything mentioned above. Given that this is the shortest song on the EP and there is so much included in it, it could have been a mess of ideas, however, BtBaM successfully marry all these parts in to one song, creating a varied piece which shows just how talented and diverse they are.
The bottom line is that this EP is a real treat for those who are already fans of Between the Buried and Me, although for newcomers, starting with one of their recent full length releases would probably be a better idea. Although it is the first of a two-part concept album, it is a strong EP in its own right, and avoids the danger of feeling incomplete.
For Fans of: Scale the Summit, The Human Abstract, Protest the Hero
Best track: Specular Reflection