10 Years Later: BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME’s “The Great Misdirect” Stands Test of Time

BTBAM - The Great Misdirect 2019 remastered vinyl

Last year marked the tenth anniversary of Between the Buried and Me’s seminal sixth studio full-length The Great Misdirect. Up until 2009, the group has mostly been honing their musical identity, with Colors (2007) making significant impulses within the broad metal scene.

For The Great Misdirect, the band from North Carolina pursued what was their technically most-demanding release to date, largely relying their sound on progressive metal. That is not to say that the group’s previous releases were not technical, but it’s the scope of a release like The Great Misdirect that established the cohesion with different musical elements BTBAM had been craving for years to merge. Possibly finding themselves in a very unpleasant situation that required them to top the critically acclaimed Colors, Between the Buried and Me answered that challenge like real champions, launching an album of epic proportions.

Between the Buried and Me in 2020

Between the Buried and Me in 2020

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of this epochal statement, the Los Angeles-based Craft Recordings released a remixed and remastered version of the album last year, available as standard double black and limited orange+white vinyl editions. With significantly improved mix/master by group’s longstanding producer Jamie King, The Great Misdirect has received a perfect treatment. It could easily be said that my initial impression of hearing the album for the first time 10 years ago has skyrocketed upon hearing the 2019 The Great Misdirect, what makes me say that after a decade this release has not aged a single bit; it is still very relevant and it has certainly stood the test of time.

The new life that is breathed into numbers like “Obfuscation,” “Disease, Injury, Madness,” “Fossil Genera,” and “Swim to the Moon” engages with the listener, making them a protagonist rather than a passerby. Between the Buried and Me opted for a more album-centered approach on The Great Misdirect than the song-by-song impression of the previous releases. Although this arguably resulted in fewer standout pieces than other releases, the choice to approach the album as a single piece of work served the end result well. Each song flows from one to another in an intuitive stream. At the potential cost of melodic hooks, the band placed more emphasis on texture. It is so obvious in these six songs that Between the Buried and Me didn’t rush anywhere.

The fact that many fans lauded and decried The Great Misdirect as the best and worst BTBAM album in different places should testify to its significance in their career. The purpose of experimental music should be to provoke and divide. While preceding releases like The Silent Circus, Alaska and Colors had great charm, The Great Misdirect is the album where Between the Buried and Me really legitimized themselves as a “serious” act.

The remastered vinyl edition of The Great Misdirect is available from Craft Recordings here.

BTBAM - The Great Misdirect

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