Sound — 8
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.
Lyrics — 7
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.
Overall Impression — 9
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?