This follow up has been eagerly anticipated since the last note on Automata I released in March this year finished with a cliff-hanger ending.
Opening with a 13 minute number wouldn’t suit a lot of bands but for BTBAM fans it isn’t out of the ordinary with the amount of experimentation that goes on. ‘The Proverbial Bellow’ opens with a lush prog feeling more akin to Dream Theater with the keys and clean guitar riffs building before Tommy Rogers finally makes an appearance at the three minute mark, singing in a hushed tone. Only Rogers’ heavier growl is the only way to know this isn’t just any other band doing a cover. Epic is the only way to describe this.
‘Glide’ comes in as more of a introduction piece to the track that follows it, ‘Voice of Trespass’. Combined, the two make for a sense of the chaotic that this band has thrived on previously, one that strains at its leash like an old dog on the attack unsure of whom it should be going but ready all the same. The chaos is held together by all manner of musical intricacies from horn sections and keyboards to brilliantly swinging rhythm playing and finger-clicking fingers and the vocal theatrics of Tommy Rogers. This track sounds like it was a lot of fun to record – it just oozes energy.
‘The Grid’ brings the two part story to a positive close, a first for BTBAM concept, with the ending refrain “We are all in this together” driving home the point BTBAM have attempted to reinforce across the span of both albums. It feels like a victory in an unknown battle as the song plays out cleanly and as beautifully as Part II started.
So, the big question is, do Part I and II complement each other? The answer is a resounding yes. Created to be listened to in small bites or as a whole 70 minute concept has worked well here. The darkness of Part I combined with the light of Part II would have been a difficult listen on one disc with the story juddering along for the sake of some kind of musical flow. Here that doesn’t have to happen, and you can take the part you preferred if you only want half of the journey.
- The Proverbial Bellow
- Voice Of Trespass
- The Grid