Friday, April 1, 2011

Between The Buried And Me - 2011 The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues (EP)

Band : Between the Buried and Me
Album : The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues (EP)
Release Year : 2011
Genre : Progressive / Metal / Experimental

Tracklist :
1. Specular Reflection
2. Augment of Rebirth
3. Lunar Wilderness

Progressive metal band Between the Buried and Me is quite a polarizing force in the metal genre. Many claim that their music is top of the line progressive metal, while others identify them as infamous wankers with no real song structures. I previously identified myself with the latter; BtBaM normally tend to spiral off into frivolous “songs” that cram as many dissonant notes into 10 minutes as possible.
However, with their newest EP “The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues,” Between the Buried and Me craft a great EP. Here more of a focus is placed on legitimate song structures that evolve and truly immerse the listener. For the most part, the instrumentalists decide NOT to act on their virtuosic skills, instead building a strong rhythmic base not necessarily found on past albums.

This strong rhythm base is much needed after the mind-numbing metal sections of Colors and The Great Misdirect. Here the guitar riffs actually sound inspired, for the most part. Some riffs even have a bit of groove, straying from their usual adoration of inhuman time signatures.
What strikes me most about this album is the diversity of it. No, not the ridiculous Colors “diversity,” here the music presents an amalgamation of soft and heavy sections that actually serve real purposes. The excellent clean breaks in “Specular Reflection” soothe the listener's ears after the full-on assault that the first few minutes provide. Through the 1st and 3rd track we are treated to excellent clean sections that can even be atmospheric at times. An example of this is Lunar Wilderness, a truly stellar track that treads grounds I would have never expected from BtBaM.

However, the album is far from perfect. The frustratingly dull centerpiece track “Augment of Rebirth” brings absolutely nothing new to the adorned prog-metal table. It merely retreads the rough grounds that Colors already misstepped on. However, that might be a bit unfair; the second half of the song is pleasing to some extent. Another issue lies with the awkward track placement; the longest song is placed at the beginning of the EP while the shortest song at the end. This breaks up the album somewhat. Lastly, some moments seem to blatantly thieve past albums; listen to the Swim to the Moon-esque section in “Specular Reflection” and the Ants of the Sky clone opening for “Augment of Rebirth.”

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