The Great Misdirect | Perspective From a Night Owl


The Great Misdirect Cover

Daylen DeKeyrel

Between the Buried and Me endured a set of pieces, that would transcend the sound of ‘song’ yet again. BTBAM’s, The Great Misdirect is very reminiscent of the previous record Colors. From the sequel songs and the monstrous closer that is “Swim to the Moon,” this record is one of my personal favorites.

The Great Misdirect

The year was 2009, and the band wanted to play some new material. Recording in the summer of the same year. This was the debut of vocals from guitarist, Paul Waggoner in the opening of “Desert of Song.” Guest vocalist for the colossal track that is “Swim to the Moon,” was Chuck Johnson. This is the prequel to The Parallax Saga, a dual release record with an EP and LP. (I & II) This is their sixth studio album, and is their most flexible album yet with well sustained cohesiveness. Six tracks, an hour long album worth every second. This is very much the sequel in format to Colors composition and pacing.

Taking in a full narrative, I cannot handle to express the entire concept album in full coverage. It is beyond this article in a review of nearly three hours of music. To say I could endure that amount of an endeavor would be a terrible lie. Instead I’ll keep giving main cliff notes to add to this review and express the reason why this band and these albums are incredible pieces of art.


“Mirrors”: One of the best openers to a concept album. The song is unlike “Foam Born” in how it is unique in this record, and remains to stand alone as its own track. Colors remains a spectacle, but this record swings and hits every time in cohesiveness. Not being too far beyond their comfort zone in writing, but ultimately thinking outside of the box again. The song starts with a radio referencing UFO sightings, and starts the alluring threat. (Night Owls) The song depicts how we make matter(s) tangible in meaning. How we see what we see, equivalent to a mirror. A bias in reality, our own deception. What do you see in the mirror? You see yourself, but do you think or see beyond it? That’s what “Mirrors” is all about. The big concept is seeing is believing but with a twist, believing is seeing. If you see the world with your mind, you’d see beyond it if you think critically of what you’re really seeing. The lyrics represent these themes of fixing fragmented living. Just from the seven lines it depicts the entire mindset of the character that would develop in The Parallax. The groovy acoustic melodies are my favorite of any BTBAM record to date. The opening vocals sound free, but restrained in potential. It remains laid back even during the end. Just alone this song is one of their best, even with its simplicity.


Favorite lyric: (Every lyric)

Highlight Sequence: (Every second)


“Obfuscation”: The tracks in this record almost perfectly differ and simulate with one another. This is a sequel song continuing the “Mirrors” song in lyrical, and melodic resemblance. The album was named The Great Misdirect based from the last set of lines of this track. Offering nearly ten minutes worth of a track, this is still considered one of the shortest tracks in this record. Obfuscation means the action of making something obscure. The story in and of itself justifies the idea of intangible meanings and concepts. The track consists of classic Between the Buried and Me greatness with melodic guitars to back it. Everything that “Mirrors” was, is in use with this track here. A completely different song with different tones, beats, and continuous narrative. Not one single track besides the one-off, “Desert of Song” is below a perfect score. This album is entwined with the likes of “Sun of Nothing” and “White Walls” energy and ability to keep pushing further. (That will be referenced yet again) There is a part in a similar construct of “Prequel to the Sequel,” then throws a curveball. It’s almost like it was a great misdirect. That is on the nose, but I personally love how they compose this record’s technical marvel in similarity or contrast to Colors. This album is embraced by its overproduced sound in some sequences. In the end it’s perfected by its timeless sound and effort. It has some of the best gut wrenching parts, yet numerous melodic screamo with the melodic guitars playing a big role in this record. That will continue on with every song and so on.


Favorite lyric: “An entire existence revolving around what we can’t acknowledge.”

Highlight Sequence: 7:30-9:00


“Disease, Injury, Madness”: This album lyrically and instrumentally sounds like an argument with themselves. That’s specifically is a compliment and for good reason. This album lays down confusion and other similar themes of comprehension. Constant questions to only move ahead and have ten more. This is music I am analyzing, and it isn’t wrong to separate art from complex expressive feelings.  The reason why I am going in depth with these feelings and expressions in records to show they emit what they were intended to do. Whilst creating these expressions and narratives at the end of the day, it’s just music. That is great music; especially this track. Going from the hard hitting riffs and vocals to one of the best melodic standstills in BTBAM history. That’s why it’s the highlight sequence for me. The song itself can loop and comes full circle to replay almost infinitely. The soft tone of the modulation is almost sad, and melancholic. In comparison to the track “Mirrors” it sounds like a set back or rock bottom in expression. There are background vocals, that lead into backward words being spoken. That reignites the song and character, the song is a complete contrast and polar opposite to “Mirrors.” It leads into one of the best contrasts. This is only at the half way point of the track. It retains the classic progressive death metal from what they started from. This track is the “Ants of the Sky” of The Great Misdirect. (It even has a sample of a horse nay, which could be a stretch but a horse is referenced in the lyrics of “Ants of the Sky”) The song succeeds at having everything a Between the Buried and Me song does so well. The second highlight sequence is so triumphant and sounds absolutely joyous. It continues to surprise me with tunes that I could most definitely listen to forever. The “La, la, las” are used yet again in this album, and that is directly in comparison to Colors. Still it’s in use completely differently here. The track resumes with what it began, and finally ends.


Favorite lyric: “YOU are ME. / Child”

Highlight Sequence: 2:30-5:00, 6:35-


“Fossil Genera – A Feed from Cloud Mountain”: One of the goofiest songs I’ve heard in my honest opinion. (It’s not even close to the other goofy songs) The opening of the piano with the riff that breaks the sound barrier. One of the greatest twists and head thrashing sequences in music ever. The highlight sequence is incredible and persists with its impact even after dozens of listens. The Night Owls reveal themselves to the world below. The Night Owls are omniscient beings. Whom are being portrayed in their own perspective in this song. They connect to the whole narrative of The Parallax. A group of omnipotent beings that exist to control all and everything of this world. They are the new government of the Old planet, and that notion of the planet being old will correlate to the next album. It creates a narrative twist and I absolutely embrace it for its now infancy of complexity. The song riffs and rules its way into what I described as another modulation similar to the previous track. Unlike “Mirrors” and “Disease, Injury, Madness,” this melodic segment is in neither of them. It wasn’t like the melancholic vocals, or restrained vocals I touched on. These are a lot of in range vocals having one of the highest notes I’ve heard Thomas perform.  My personal favorite track on this record, but nearly tied with the closing track “Swim to the Moon.” A second act twist of the concept album, and it continues I assure you.


Favorite lyric: “Sweet candy populous… / A worry free entrance into the world’s history. / Never underestimate… never think beyond their thoughts.”

Highlight Sequence: (The entire song but…) 4:10-6:25


“Desert of Song”: It is basically a country song made by Between the Buried. Surprised with how this track has received in reception beyond my opinion. This song is unlike any song BTBAM has made, and that’s saying a lot. With Paul Waggoner opening the vocals the first time, Thomas Giles proceeded straight after. It lacks the country voice that we all hate, the deep voice dissipates as soon his voice appears. That is not to say Paul’s voice is annoying or generic, it wasn’t overwhelmingly present like similar country artists would have. On top of that this song was composed by a band, a band that can obviously carry itself instrumentally. The subtlety of the track in composer is a nice change from Between the Buried and Me’s over produced sound. It still finds a way to sound like an orchestra of sound, and at times a folk sing along. From the vocals down to the subtle keyboard it is amazing. The drums crashing gently and dramatically to convey a breakthrough. Every hint of the song constructs a little break of the chaos from the rest of the album. The amazing dual vocals, the great writing of this song to perfectly-


Favorite lyric: “Silence is broken. / Here… we… sing… / Sing with the fear.”

Highlight Sequence: 0:30-2:00

[On the note of “Desert og Song” this track can be removed and still transitions perfectly from “Fossil Genera – A Feed From Cloud Mountain” to “Swim to the Moon.” It does in some ways create a better flow for the pacing of the record, I’d recommend if you want a more nonstop action for less.]


“Swim to the Moon”: -Transition to this masterpiece of a piece. That is the length of an EP, yet it’s one song. It is very reminiscent of “Sun of Nothing” in how it was written. Even they noted it as a clear similarity themselves. The song has a guest vocalist who was also the photographer for this album. Chuck Johnson gives a small but noticeable role in the beginning especially. The vocals in the live album reflect what I like to hear instead. That doesn’t mean I dislike his voice, but I prefer the effort Giles does in replacement of Johnson. This is easily one of the greatest songs to ever be made by them. Every song The Great Misdirect has thrown at my ears, yet entirely its own entity. It continues to surprise me with sounds I haven’t paid attention to before. Especially compared to say a merely four minute long song. The song goes on and on reigniting the energy that has been portrayed from previous tracks. This is the introduction of Prospect 1, a character that will play a role in the sequel. Loneliness was a theme for “Sun of Nothing,” and it is the main theme of this song. Prospect 1 swims to the moon and concludes the prequel, that is The Great Misdirect. The song has some of the best riffs and drums presented by the band. “Sun of Nothings” kick and progressive sequences with “White Walls” on and on, never ending closer. The song stands alone as its own track, but it is hard to describe this song without the hints of Colors influence. The track has some of the best energy of any Between the Buried and Me song has had. The song derives from soundwise similar to The Great Misdirect, but it also entails the progressiveness of the next record perfectly. “Swim to the Moon” isn’t just one of my personal favorites because of its length, it is also one of my favorite composed songs ever. It has everything from the sound deriving from “Desert of Song” and continuing amazing riffs that prosper in the listeners head. Every vocal, every intent was at one point stuck in my head. It pulls me in like an ocean tide with its synth, drums, guitars that never overstay their welcome. I consider this to be hands down their magnum opus, in the efforts they’ve endeavored. “Slide into the water / Become one with the sea / Life seems so smaller / Swim to the Moon” is sung on three separate occasions. On one hand you have initially which is half clean, half false chord. The next time it is entirely clean, and yet again after that. The lyric is half literal and half metaphor. He swam too far in the direction of the moon. Drifting on with the tide, eventually the pre-prospect drowns in the sea. The last few minutes of “Swim to the Moon” are life changing in melody. The song is truly one of their best if not the greatest efforts of one song they’ve developed.

10.5/10 Beyond perfect

Favorite lyric: “Slide into the water / Become one with the sea / Life seems so much smaller / Swim to the moon”

Highlight Sequence: (Entire song obviously but…) 14:00-17:53


The narrative of the Night Owls were introduced in the song “Fossil Genera – A Feed From Cloud Mountain.” “Swim to the Moon” introduces the character that would be known as Prospect 1. The album in and of itself is a prequel that goes into a sequel. The song “The Prequel to the Sequel” is actually connected in some similar themes of not a part of the same universe. This is unlike any other band that I can think of that has hours worth of a narrative in complete song form. (That is this good musically alone) The only band that goes beyond this concept is the band Coheed and Cambria that have several albums stringed cohesively narratively. I still think Between the Buried and Me slowly building this narrative subtly is more fun than boasting that as their main efforts. The story is the background of the music, merely just something for fans like me to endear and indulge. (This is basically just a fun fact for this band)


The album is a perfect blend of its own songs and one whole piece. With sounds of radio chatter, with melodic guitar riffs, and acoustic guitar melodies. The album retains the essence of the “Mirrors” theme for the BTBAM discography. From “Mirrors” to “Obfuscation” it’s one basically whole track that perfectly resembles BTBAM’s ability to make songs this similar but all so different. This is one of my personal favorite records they have made, with six tracks and it’s an hour long. That automatically intrigues me to a BTBAM album. It has more intent than Colors in theme and composition or at least it sounds more intentional. Colors was known for starting and ending the same. The Great Misdirect includes call backs in the similar melody as it was introduced. This would continue with their other albums. The intent of creating an amazing melody or lyric that is reintroduced in another song creates this dopamine hit. Feeling it is all connected or, came all full circle. Between the Buried and Me make it rewarding to listen to their records. They are the only band to have this type of reward compared to some of my favorite bands like; Cult of Luna, The Ocean, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and others I could name. This record stands alone as one of their best records. Still I could say the same to every other full length record proceeding ColorsThe Parallax I II are continuous to the character from “Swim to the Moon.” Only a third of the way down the Night Owl narrative, and I already feel enough was said.