Between The Buried And Me Blow Minds With The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues
Wednesday, April 13, 2011 3 Comments
Back in February, like most of you, I had the chance to listen to the first half of “Specular Reflection”, the first track off Between the Buried and Me’s latest EP, The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues (why the fuck does Google always try to correct “dialogue”?!). At first, my reaction was a bit lukewarm… BTBAM has always impressed the hell out of me with their creativity and technical capabilities, but have lacked serious replay value ever since Colors for some reason. After listening to The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues in its entirety, all I can say is “holy shit”.
I believe Between the Buried and Me’s greatest strength is their high level of creativity and fearlessness to explore whatever musical territory they want. I talk a lot about bands taking ownership of their sound and BTBAM is the absolute epitome of that. While other bands play prog metal that travels a road paved long ago with reused classical scales and finger exercises passed off as songs, BTBAM actually pushes themselves to be original and create tones, soundscapes, and riffs that you may have never heard before. No one can touch them in that regard. Progressive music, by its very definition, should be constantly evolving, and I believe there are many bands content with copying each other and trying to sound progressive rather than be progressive. Does that makes sense? Enough of my rant, onto the album!
The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues (which was just released yesterday, April 13) is actually part one of a two-part release. As explained on Metal Blade’s website:
“Hypersleep introduces two human characters who live in different planes of existence, separated by millions of light years. We find that each of them is confronted with similar personal issues that they need to reckon with. Both characters make decisions that will change their lives, and perhaps the course of the universe, forever. The follow up album will pick up the story with our two main characters, with the help of near light speed travel, meeting each other and realizing together their purpose in the universe.”
As soon as the first track, “Specular Reflection” begins, you know you’re in for some wild shit. The opening out-at-sea-sounding piano notes will make you want to pick up a spear and fight sea creatures. What really makes the song for me is how they keep going back to the original melody set forth by the piano. Remember the last time BTBAM ended a song the way they started it? Neither do I. It really ties the whole thing together quite nicely. “Augment of Rebirth”, my favorite track, is more of the traditional BTBAM sound we’re all used to, but throws you some musical curve-balls with what sounds like and accordion and story-like folk vocals. It made me feel like I was drinking whiskey in a pub with a bunch of French pirates. The song ends with rapid-picking guitar work at 9:39 that is beyond epic as hell. With “Lunar Wilderness”, the band closes the album with beautiful harmonies and deep, swelling guitar lines before they bombard you with texturally-rich synth accompanied by unfiltered shred.
In my opinion as both a fan and critic, The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues is their best release since 2005’s Alaska (let the comment arguing begin!). Not to say Colors or The Great Misdirect were bad by any means, but that’s just how this guy feels. The songs are ambitious but not to the point where you feel lost or that the band is forgetting what song they are playing. Don’t get me wrong, this material is not watered down in any way, shape, or form; it’s epic, aggressive, beautiful, chaotic, emotional, and demands your complete attention as a listener. It’s an extremely cerebral album that you can sit with a glass of wine and think about. You will hear things BTBAM has never done before, which says a lot considering the musical smörgåsbord that were their last two albums.
Also noteworthy is vocalist Tommy Rogers performance. From his haunting screams to layered falsetto over sung narration, Tommy proves himself an irreplaceable asset to Between the Buried and Me, putting him high on the list of most original vocalists in the metal scene today.
The album sounds killer through headphones, as it allows the listener to absorb every subtle detail that was intended for sonic consumption. There is something new to discover with each listen, which adds huge replay value. Overall, you’ll have to listen to The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues to experience it for yourself because I can’t do the album justice by simply writing about it. Just prepare to have your mind blown as Between the Buried and Me prove, once and for all, that they are undoubtedly the masters of progressive metal.
Wrecked Rating: 4.5 / 5