Between The Buried And Me

The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues

Written by: PP on 06/05/2011 04:35:58

Ready for another round of sonic perfection of the kind only one band in the world can deliver? I know, I know, "The Great Misdirect" didn't blow you away in the same way like every other Between The Buried And Me release, particularly when compared to the indescribable progressive brilliance of "Colors", but what are the chances of any band producing two 10/10 albums in a row? It was still a good album, but it lacked the combination of unbelievable technical prowess and sense of perfectionism that makes for a quintessential BTBAM release these days.

But fear not, for the band strikes back with "The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues", a three-song, thirty minute affair of some of the best progressive metal in existence (after "Colors", that is), a glorious return to form and a high-five back at the fans longing for the more brutal and direct approach taken on their breakthrough album "Alaska".

Shortly after the gloomy piano introduction to "Specular Reflection" the band breaks into a brutal, crazed mathcore part that showcases how BTBAM used to sound like during the "Alaska" years. Integrating just the right amount of technical death metal and modern progressive metal together, the song seamlessly transitions from one genre to another, while still displaying the frankly amazing guitar talent the band is renowned for. The song mellows down a little down the line, before breaking into yet another menacingly heavy earthquake-session of instrumentation that assigns ideas like conventional song structure and time signatures as cannon fodder. It's a combination that appeals to a death metal fan as much as it does to the scene music fan because it takes elements from both sides of the argument and makes complete mockery of them. It does this by integrating impossible time signatures with insanely demanding guitar riffs and enough brutality to feed an army of extreme metal fans. Did I mention there are parts that sound a bit like Queen and Pink Floyd, too? Or that all of that description applied to just track one, "Specular Reflection", albeit eleven minutes and twenty seconds long?

And then comes "Augment of Rebirth" which wastes no time and starts the song with a short, but ridiculously brilliant guitar solo that takes you all the way back to "Selkies: The Endless Obsession". Tommy Rogers then delivers some of his best and harshest vocal work by growling steadily over the material, while the phenomenal drumming ensures that there's at least some sort of rhythm remaining as the focal point of the song. In the meantime, the guitars scale up and down, thrash forward violently, tempo-shift into breakdowns, alternate into death metal style serpentine riffing, and back into tremolo-laden soloing and almost playful sequences all within just one minute, as if the objective of their two guitarists has been to make laughing-stock out of the nerve-endings in your ears. Oh yeah, and it's basically over ten minutes of this.

Finally, "Lunar Wilderness" gives the listener some breathing room with a clean, atmospheric introduction, which features ambiance, groovy bass, and mood-setting keyboard all-in-one. It's a welcome break from the strange time signatures and the constant death metal pummeling you've been listening to for the better part of the last twenty minutes, especially when the song features a growled vocal line which is as close to a memorable chorus as you'll get from this band, ever. The "sooo... untoooold" growls sound chilling, and give the listener a point of reference on an album that's very stubborn in having the listener pay attention every living second and not just a few highlight moments per song, as is the case on, err, normal albums.

As I'm sitting and listening through "The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues" for the Nth time (I've lost count) and still noticing more and more hair-raising moments on it, I can't help but wonder why Between The Buried And Me aren't yet the biggest prog death metal band in the entire world. As much as I respect Åkerfeldt and Opeth's material, "Colors" and this one are on a completely different level both in terms of impressive musicianship and overall sonic perfection. Welcome to my top5 of 2011, BTBAM.


Download: Specular Reflection, Augment Of Rebirth
For the fans of: The Arusha Accord, A Hero A Fake, Glass Casket, Protest The Hero
Listen: Myspace

Release date 12.04.2011
Metal Blade

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