The Parallax II: Future Sequence
UG Team, on october 12, 2012 5 of 30 people found this review helpful
Sound: Since the career-defining "Colors" some half a decade ago, likable North Carolinians Between The Buried And Me have been shuffling awkwardly across the floor from aggressive, dissonant metalcore to expansive, cinematic hybridity. It's strange to think that this is their first attempt at the concept album but perhaps up to now they've felt restrained in what they can do as a band. Consider those restraints lifted.
"The Parallax II: Future Sequence" runs at a gratuitous 72 minutes, offering lengthy compositions of metallic riffing, Queen-esque vocal harmony and the rhythmic oddity of Botch, Burst or Dream Theater. The keyboard is a more important element than ever, transforming would-be brutality to glee with ease, often with a simple arpeggio or scale run. The sweatpatch prog of "Bloom" is as far afield from their discordant metalcore roots as the band have ever been, but there are plenty of opportunities to bang your head throughout. In particular, the impressive, guitar-driven "Telos" maintains genuine intensity in tandem with the virtuoso playing demonstrated elsewhere on the album. // 7
Lyrics: "The Parallax" is an ambitious concept as you'd expect when a spacesuit comes with the preorder bundle but it's less an artistic statement and more the warm embrace of a nerdy tendency. The story, which started last year with the "Hypersleep Dialogues" EP, concerns two characters named Prospect I and Prospect II - two men who live at opposite ends of the universe but share a soul, and are ultimately brought together over the course of the album to bring about the end of all things. Calls of "rad" and "bada-s" doubtless sounded at the storyboard stage.
The sci-fi weirdness is an acquired taste, the stuff of dreams for a section of fans, but vocalist Tommy Rogers also uses the first person narratives to dip into philosophy and personal reflection, avoiding complex language for large parts of the album. This is a virtue; for those who want to read fully into the concept, the vocals are accessible and the text itself is perfectly accommodating. // 7
Overall Impression: With the band having admitted to leaving nothing off the record ("if we came up with an idea we thought was cool we did it" says guitarist Paul Waggoner) it's fair to say that this is an album of excess. They've never been keen on brevity but this is a real stream of consciousness, twisting and turning with all the trimmings and leaving plenty of room for seconds. Even "Colors", an hour of continuous music, had more restraint than this.
What this means in practice is that "Future Sequence" is a feast for the converted, total nirvana for gluttons hungry for riff after riff who, for all the band's purported experimentation, know exactly what to expect. The time signatures are familiar, the guitar tones identical intense and ambitious but ultimately rather naïve. Instead of moving forward the band have moved outwards, taking on too many ideas and failing to organise them effectively. BTBAM junkies will be fully satisfied by this generous provision of music but a major overhaul may be needed soon to stave off the smell of stagnation. // 6
The Parallax II: Future Sequence
justinb904, on october 12, 2012 4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: "The Parallax II: Future Sequence" is the sixth studio album by Between The Buried And Me and is the continuation of the band's two part concept album. Being much longer in length than three song "The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues", this album takes the theme and sound of their previous EP and explores it on a much deeper and wider level. While not straying far from the distinct sound they have created over the past few albums Between The Buried And Me manage to keep the riff writing and vocals sounding fresh. From smooth jazzy sounds to manic aggressive metal and everything in between there is plenty of fun and interesting instrumentation telling the story spanning this album.
For those who haven't herd the album yet their first single "Astral Body" is a decent cross-section of the album. A mixture of textural and dizzying riffs show off Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring's skill on the guitars and a mixture of cleanly melodic and more aggressive screamed vocals by Tommy Rogers sets the scene for the songs quite well.
The album starts and ends with the relatively peaceful songs "Goodbye To Everything" and "Goodbye To Everything Reprise" respectively. There are plenty of good meaty songs on "Future Sequence" interlaced with with mildly creepy interludes like "Autumn" and a rather bizarre side trip that is "Bloom". Overall it is a fun album to listen to beginning to end that manages not to get stale even though it runs just over 72 minutes. // 8
Lyrics: Tommy Rogers does very well with his vocals on this album. His clean singing sounds much improved to my ears over previous efforts and he uses it well throughout. The lyrical concepts on this album, like the previous EP, are rather deep and will take some digging into to get their full worth. There are callbacks to other work such as reprized lyrics in "Extremophile Elite" from "Specular Reflection" on "Hypersleep Dialogues" that make for an interest game of connect the musical dots. // 8
Overall Impression: This it Between The Buried And Me's best album since "Colors" and in my opinion it surpasses "Colors". Certainly a must have for any BTBAM fan. "Astral Body" is certainly a stand out song with an unexpectedly happy sound to it in the beginning. "Bloom" and "Extremophile Elite" are also favorites. It take more than one listen to really pick out all the little interesting details in the music. I've listened to this album through several times and it will remain in heavy rotation on my music players for a while. As I've stated previously this is a fun one to listen to. // 9