Between the Buried and Me – The Silent Circus (2003)


I acquired this album on a routine trip to Tower Records (RIP) in Fairfax. Now, I’ve been told that Tower Records was not actually a cd seller with much indie cred, nor were its prices kind to customers. However, my experience was quite to the contrary. Not only was I always finding really cheap, awesome cds, but the Fairfax Tower had a huge punk/hard-core section, with hand-written reviews of many albums penned by its own hipster employees. It was one of these reviews that inspired me to put on the store-provided headphones and take a sample listen of the album.

And I am totally jazzed that I did! This cd is some straight-up crank the volume, scream your lungs out, bang your head metal. This is the metal that uptight conservatives have nightmares about when they’re having nightmares about metal. It is loud and speedy and the vocals are nothing short of animalistic growls. The liner notes tell me that there are lyrics, and occasionally I can make out a word or two, but much as I try, this just aint a singalong kinda album.

What makes this cd great is a bunch of talented young guys who can play the hell out of their instruments. While an untrained ear might accuse this genre of music as being not much but noise, a close listen rewards with intricate guitars layering beautifully together even while playing completely different things (different notes, tempos, sometimes completely different styles), fast but clever drumming, and just the right contribution of poppy synth keyboards – yeah, it’s metal and they use keyboards. Cuz they’re awesome.

The thing that made me fall in love – deeply, passionately in love – with this album, though, is track 4, Mordecai. This song starts aggressively, angrily, unleashing a viciousness of sound that would make wimps like Metallica blush and then gradually, brilliantly, and almost totally imperceptably transitions into a slow, quiet, introspective tune that kinda makes you want to cry. And it’s not the only time they do it on the album – listen for emo breakdowns about twice more later on.

The album is really best listened to from start-to-finish, in one sitting. It’s excellent for long car rides and even better for iPods at work (if you’re not the easily distracted type). All tracks are fantastic, not one falls under the category of “skippable”. And bonus points go to the boys for the David Lynch reference that is Camilla Rhodes.


  1. Jimmy C said,

    January 14, 2009 @ 6:52 pm

    May I borrow?

  2. ray said,

    January 14, 2009 @ 6:56 pm

    Sure – I’ll send Jeff w/it tomorrow

  3. Noelle said,

    January 22, 2009 @ 12:29 pm

    I am ready to be LINKED!

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