The new self-titled album from Prog Metallers, Exist Immortal appeared in mid October via Seek And Strike. The band themselves called it: “a culmination of a lot of work, building and evolving.” There’s a return to a lot of the heavier elements from their older releases while keeping a lot of the aesthetics and layers from Triptych, while they conclude: “We feel that this album is by far our most accomplished and self-assured record to date, reincorporating harsh vocals while exploring new territory on the guitar side of things.”
In the meantime, drummer Charlie Bines from the band joins us to share his passion for Between The Buried And Me.
Normally when you’re asked to write about why you love a band, you normally start with some kind of ‘love at first listen’ moment, but with BTBAM, that wasn’t the case. During my teenage years, I used to save up some money and go to HMV and buy a CD of a band I’d never heard of. One week, I came across the Live CD/DVD of ‘Colours’ and the cover caught my eye so I bought it. ‘Colours’ was a completely different experience to anything I’d heard before at that the time. The structure of the metalcore that I listened to before wasn’t there and I couldn’t wrap my head around it. After a listen, I put it back on my shelf and didn’t think much of it.
Fast Forward about a year, I’d been searching for great metal drummers and trying to learn songs on mxtabs.com and had come across the likes of Mike Portnoy and Danny Carey of Dream Theater at the time and Tool. This had got me listening to longer, more progressive songs. I’d found the ‘easter eggs’ and musical callbacks and motifs in 10,000 Days, and Portnoy’s 12 Step Suite fascinating and loved the idea of listening to music and reading up on it to understand more about how the song was written along with the scatty nature of songs with mixed time signatures. Little did I realise that this interest in drummers, longer prog music and musical motifs was creating a perfect storm for an introduction into the BTBAM world.
So, it was while looking for ‘best metal drummers’ on Youtube, that I came across Blake Richardson recording ‘Obfuscation’. I was in awe- It was like the Portnoy and Carey videos I’d been watching but with heavier parts. I couldn’t seem to find too much from him so I ended up watching this same video over and over again trying to learn the song on drums (unsuccessfully ). Smartphones weren’t a thing so no Youtube on my phone, so I went back to HMV and bought ‘The Great Misdirect’, put it on my MP3 player and put it on. I was surprised by ‘Mirrors’ but the blending of ‘Mirrors’ into ‘Obfuscation’ got me very intrigued. As I was listening to ‘Obfuscation’ through, without having the drums video to focus on, the parts seemed to come together as a whole and I remember, just before the last chorus was about to drop in, how amazed I was at the whole song.
So when I ask myself, “Why do I love BTBAM?” I guess it’s because I realised that you can enjoy their songs in so many different ways. I’d spent so long focussed on the drums and enjoyed the intricacy of the individual instruments- of which every single member is incredible. However, in a completely different way, you can just listen to the whole song without focussing too much and let them take you on whichever journey they want to take you on. The result is just as mind-blowing and just as enjoyable.
They had everything I wanted- the drumming, the time signatures, the longer songs- the musical easter eggs and references to other songs- it was all there. And on top of that, BTBAM can take you on a journey through more genres in one song that most bands will dip their toes in an entire discography. Slow sections, blast beats, hooks, guitar solos, breakdowns, pub chatting and even the odd Horse neigh, BTBAM cover it all. There is always so much to listen to in every song and something new to notice. They’re songs are unpredictable in the best way possible and yet follow such a listenable flow that seems to make sense.
After ‘Parallax 2’ came out and I listened to the whole album play out as one piece of music, and then hearing that they were doing the whole album on the tour I was hooked. And due to the timing of this, ‘Silent Flight Parliament’ has always had the top spot for my favourite song of theirs, but with the genre spanning back catalogue they have, my favourites change with my mood and they have a song to fit every mood I have- And ‘Obfuscation’ has an obvious place up there too!
Not that many of my peers like this band as much as I do and so following their career has been very personal experience for me, and watching them side stage at Shepherds Bush, and meeting Richardson in 2018 was a highlight. He has inspired my approach to drumming throughout my EXIM life doing my best to align the drums with the song rather than necessarily the beat which can add something different to our songs.
I can’t wait for more music and to see them again in 2023!
Our grateful thanks to Charlie for taking time out of a busy album release/tour schedule to write for us.
Exist Immortal begin a short tour on 26th October – tour dates here
Here’s Emerge from the new album:
You can read more from our extensive archive of Why I Love pieces from a wide array of artists on an even wider array of subjects, here.