Between the Buried and Me

The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues

01. Specular Reflection

02. Augment of Rebirth

03. Lunar Wilderness

[04/14/11]
[Metal Blade Records]

Thankfully, Between the Buried and Me’s studio discography, up to this point, has been comprised of only full length releases. Too many young bands are putting out piles of EPs before they even have a go at a full length album, which really is a shame. Instead of making a statement, many bands instead opt for sentence fragments. Not BTBAM; they’ve always been an album kind of band, holding off on recording an EP until their seventh release, and even then, it’s a  prequel to a larger concept instead of a quick dish of b-sides to tide us over. Leave it to Between the Buried and Me to make an EP release feel as exciting as a full-length album.

The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues is thirty minutes of some of the finest moments in Between the Buried and Me’s career. When looking at the band’s discography, a gradual stylistic evolution can be seen; The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues is the next logical step in that direction. Those looking for return to their more metalcore sound can keep holding their breaths—Between the Buried and Me are full on progressive metal.

“Specular Reflection” is the most finely structured Between the Buried and Me song in recent years. Themes and melodies are repeated, including a reprise of the opening symphonic movement played through quirky guitar effects. The song also sports the BTBAM rarity of a repeated chorus (“Evil stares back again…”) that appears several times through the song, much like “Obfuscation” from The Great Misdirect or “Informal Gluttony” from Colors. I have a feeling that this is the new definitive Between the Buried and Me sound.

While progressive and avant-garde sections do appear throughout the EP’s three tracks (to not have any whatsoever would be disappointing, to say the least), wild genre fluctuations are kept to a minimum, save for the visceral “Augment of Rebirth.” The band were certainly not lying when they joked about farm animal sounds on Twitter; a flamboyant world music section appears in the latter half of the song, complete with accordion synth and slide guitar, sans the farts and slide whistles joked about by the band. “Augment of Rebirth” also carries a “Fossil Genera” vibe in some of its parts, with a heavier section in the middle of the track backed by synth horns—high class madness.

“Augment of Rebirth” leads into “Lunar Wilderness” almost without pause. Without a doubt the most awe-inspiring Between the Buried and Me track since Alaska’s “Selkies,” the sheer beauty of the spacey jazz-fusion and post-rock undertones (like Scale the Summit meets Cynic) in the opening moments and subsequent sections of “Lunar Wilderness” are quite striking. The de-facto chorus is also quite haunting, and it’s a damn shame that it isn’t reprised later on. In fact, this is the only flaw in the entire EP.

In terms of technicality on an instrumental front, this EP has everything you’ve come to expect. The music hasn’t been dumbed down in the slightest; If anything, it got a bit smarter. The guitar solos and the neoclassical angular leads are top notch, but nothing so obscenely difficult as to distract from the big picture. Tommy Rogers is definitely finding his own voice, quickly walking on a path to becoming one of the most recognizable and unique voices in metal. He’s getting more confident with multitasking as well, playing more synth parts under his vocal parts. The rhythm section is as driving as always; Dan delivers some excellent basslines as always, and Blake Richardson continues to prove he is one of the greatest drummers out there in the current state of metal. Top notch performances all around.

Like The Silent Circus, The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues was not recorded with long-time producer Jamie King; production was handled by the legendary David Bottrill, who previously worked with the likes of Muse, Tool, and King Crimson. Needless to say, the sound is excellent and is a subtle improvement. Not to take away from Jamie’s work, the more experienced ears are of great benefit and a testament to where Between the Buried and Me are at with their career as one of the most important bands to come out of the 00’s. An instant classic, The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues is as monumental as any EP could possibly be. There’s no doubt that the forthcoming full length followup will blow all of their previous work out of the water, should they continue on this path. It’s not likely the band could do wrong anyway, so you’ve got something to look forward to no matter what!

Between the Buried and Me – The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues gets…

5/5

– JR

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.