Released: Apr 12, 2011
Genre: Progressive metal, Death metal
Label: Metal Blade Records
Number Of Tracks: 3
The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues is definitely the next chapter into the brilliance that is Between The Buried And Me, and the band is surely still in a league of their own.
The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues
UG Team, on april 12, 2011 6 of 12 people found this review helpful
Sound: While Between The Buried And Me's (BTBAM's) latest masterpiece, The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues, is only a 3 song EP, each song is still of long length, and the release still clocks in at a half hour. I figured the best way to describe would be to dive into each song in detail. BTBAM has always been quite an unpredictable band as you never know what they're going to do next. The production is ace, as Grammy Award-winning producer David Bottrill (Tool, King Crimson, Dream Theater, etc.) was at the helm. Interestingly enough the band did not go with the usual Jamie King, but Bottrill [David] sure did put the midas touch on this one. While I felt their last release The Great Misdirect was a slight misstep, I think The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues shows the band back in tip top shape. Musically, I hear elements from each respective BTBAM album, and if you've followed BTBAM through their extensive career (now 11 years as a band!), they've always expanded their sound while at the same time keeping that signature BTBAM sound. They might not be as straightforward as they used to be, but BTBAM has definitely evolved into one damn fine progressive metal outfit.
01. Specular Reflection: The opening track for The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues starts off with an interesting intro via a symphonic movement that is then bombarded by that distinct, chaotic, and complex BTBAM sound. Fans of the Alaska-era will be able to rejoice, and Specular Reflection is filled with crazy drum arrangements, sick time signatures, unique groove, intricate prog moments, and plenty of brutal moments stuck within all the madness. The avant garde interludes remind me of the Colors-era, and Specular Reflection is quite the return so far for BTBAM. Man oh man I bet a jam session with these dudes is magic.
02. Augment of Rebirth: Technicality right out of the gate, BTBAM makes a statement with Augment of Rebirth. I love the way Augment of Rebirth builds up with its brilliant guitar work. Bassist Dan Briggs lays down the law with some sick bass lines, and each respective BTBAM member shines in Augment of Rebirth. I even hear some Animosity - Animal-era brutality around the 3 minute mark, which leads into the sounding of the horns. BTBAM even goes pretty far out there with some random Mr. Bungle-esque moments, which then they unexpectedly transition with ease into the technical metal juggernaut that they can be. Augment of Rebirth is BTBAM collectively at their heaviest on The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues.
03. Lunar Wilderness: The beginning starts off with a nice ambient passage that is very melodic, and the precision of how guitarists Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring can change pace while sounding so natural is incredible. Sure they've been known to do this, but aesthetically, I see Lunar Wilderness as one of BTBAM's best in a while. Lunar Wilderness closes on such a memorable and melodic note, and with its calm yet ever so welcoming atmosphere, BTBAM definitely leaves the listener hungry for more. // 9
Lyrics: Mr. Tommy Rogers is once again at the top of his game. I think his lows sound great like usual, and it is quite incredible when you've got a group of such talented musicians that you as the vocalist have to sync your voice to somehow, and Rogers nails every transition with ease. I haven't heard him this focused in a while. His clean singing in the softer parts isn't spectacular, but it does get the job done. Lyrically, BTBAM once again goes the extra mile with some deep lyrical concepts. The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues is a two-part story, this EP being part one. Part one introduces 2 human characters separated by millions of light years, and whom are on two totally different planes of existence. Both characters confront similar personal issues, though each makes different decisions given their mindset, and therefore determine the future(s) for both themselves, and for the universe, eternally. Yep, pretty deep concept here, and if you keep the lyrical direction of this album in mind when you're listening, certain bits and pieces may tie together for you. // 8
Overall Impression: As one of the most creative metal outfits of today, anything BTBAM related is worth a listen. BTBAM has always given listeners a unique and challenging listen, in which more than one full-album spin is mandatory to grasp all the details of their music. Their live performance is just as jaw dropping as their studio magic. Catch them on their upcoming headlining tour with support from Job For A Cowboy, The Ocean, and Cephalic Carnage (on select dates). While it seems a lot of bands today can make some technical / trippy songs, a very select few can ignore the concept of genre, expand metal into unimaginable dimensions, and yet make it sound truly great without making one big sloppy mess. BTBAM is one of the select few. The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues is definitely the next chapter into the brilliance that is BTBAM, and the band is surely still in a league of their own. // 9
The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues
larrytheguitar, on april 12, 2011 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: The music of Between the Buried and Me is always a hot subject; many haters, many obsessive lovers, and many who care more about confining them into a specific genre than accept their outstanding versatility. With Hypersleep Dialogues, they still manage to keep it fresh with unforeseen motifs and structures that make non-progmetal enthusiasts scratch their heads. With only 3 tracks included on this extended play, they continue to drift away from the Alaska-y song lengths; the shortest song on the EP is a staggering 8 minutes, with the longest clocking in at a little over 11 minutes.
The first track starts off with some haunting piano banging, followed by sounds you expect to hear from an 80's sci-fi film. In traditional BTBAM fashion, the track kicks into headcrushing riffs, with Tommy Giles' gutteral vocals soaring over the melodies. Slowly, almost lazily, smiles form over the faces of The Great Misdirect haters. Yes, this album contains elements from BTBAM's older work. That said, the maturity heard in The Great Misdirect still remains. As the song drifts to a close, the second, and heaviest, track of the album begins.
Augment of Rebirth is damn good. DAMN good. Despite it's 10 minute song length, it never fails to entertain. The song starts off with brilliant guitar work from Paul Waggoner, pulling off his trademark janitorial duties. The entire first half of the album is very in-your-face, with Silent Circus style riffs found all over the place. The song also features slow, crushing, Gojira-like riffs that they haven't been able to pull off since Alaska (although they were close with Fossil Genera). Around 6 minutes in, the song takes a drastic turn. Yes, that is an accordion you hear, and depending on who you ask, it's either their most genius moment ever, or the most ridiculous thing ever to enter your ear canal. I personally think they pull if off, giving off a really-F'd-up-circus vibe. With a haunting finish, it slides into the final track of the album.
Lunar Wilderness with one giant, whompin' Cynic tribute. From the soothing intro chords, to the fast and proggy alternate picking, to the fretless bass melodies, Lunar Wilderness seems to remind us that BTBAM isn't going anywhere, and they can pretty much do anything and make it sound good. Around 2 minutes in, one of Paul's most impressive solos kicks in. It's no Selkies, but his interesting phrasing and drastically improved legato is definitely something to remember. The middle of the song contains obvious Dream Theater wankery with some keyboard playing, adventurous shredding, and a slow, ballad like close. // 8
Lyrics: I'm the worst at deciphering lyrics, and I do not have the booklet on me, so I'll focus on the vocals.
When I first heard Between the Buried and Me, one of the biggest turn offs was Thomas Gile's vocals. I don't know what it was, but I found them boring, and... well, fake. And let me tell you this; if you do you like his vocals, then you will not like this vocals on this album. There, I said it. But I personally find his vocals awesome. Why? Well it required a lot of research.
I started watching BTBAM live videos, and saw that Tommy has a much wider range when on stage. I immediately preferred their live performances to their studio albums because of this. It also assured me that Tommy was a bonafide badass live, and I was finally hit with the realization that his vocals were actually pretty brilliant. The fact of the matter is, he is the voice of BTBAM and cannot be replaced. I can't imagine any other vocalist for the job and I don't want to.
That said, nothing drastic has changed on this album. While his screams sound a bit fuller and exhibit a slightly larger range, it's his clean vocals that stand out the most. The production is downright fantastic - David Bottrill should be proud. While nothing is mindblowing, the change IS apparent if you listen closely. // 7
Overall Impression: Hypersleep Dialogues is the epitome of what makes Between the Buried and Me great. They basically took all of the fantastic elements that made them who they are, and added a layer of maturity that one can only posses after years of playing together. That said, I believe that this is only the beginning. Words cannot express how excited I am for them, and cannot wait for the future they have before them. I recall the times when I found Colors to be their peak, and that it can only go downhill from there. Now, seeing them reach up to their full potential, I think they have YET to peak. This EP is definitely one of my favorites of the year so far.
I also apologize if this review seems a little out of place. In all honesty, I'm listening to it for the 10th time while I write this, and it's just as impressive as the first listen. And if that isn't enough to convince you to buy it, I don't know what is.
Between the Buried and Me... Y U SO GOOD? // 9