Between The Buried And Me - The Parallax II: Future Sequence review
|Band:||Between The Buried And Me|
|Album:||The Parallax II: Future Sequence|
|Release date:||October 2012|
01. Goodbye To Everything
02. Astral Body
03. Lay Your Ghosts To Rest
05. Extremophile Elite
07. The Black Box
10. Melting City
11. Silent Flight Parliament
12. Goodbye To Everything Reprise
I don't know what to call the initial barrier that a listener usually has with albums like this, but it has been empirically proven that such a phenomenon exists, and most probably you will have to experience it if you dare take upon the journey laid out by the one and only Between The Buried And Me on their new album.
The Parallax II: Future Sequence is without a doubt the most ambitious output for which these unorthodox metallers have ventured in their careers. It would even be fair to say that their new album is the best thing they could deliver at this point. It is more avant-garde, progressive, grandiose, versatile, and just teeming with different music. Nevertheless, BTBAM sound like themselves: the new album shines with the same creative brilliance that surrounded Colors and The Great Misdirect, and The Parallax II is simply the next step in this band's breathtaking evolution.
Referring to the first sentence, many of us know that the albums which are hard to crack, once are, reveal real treasures that reward the persistent listener for his efforts, which is exactly what happens with The Parallax II. So what should you expect on this journey? As usually with BTBAM, a frequent rotation of thick brutal - sometimes almost unmusical - riffs (but there clearly are fewer of them here than on the previous records) with more discernible parts, both heavy and not. The album starts with a Pink Floydian acoustic guitar strumming creating an immediate flashback to their 1977 opus Animals. One and a half minutes later, a pure progressive juggernaut "Astral Body" smoothly kicks in, where the band not only gives a master class of complex rhythmic patterns but also flirts around with beautiful oriental aesthetics in the middle. Next comes "Lay your Ghosts to Rest," which with its vibrancy and diversity can only be compared to BTBAM's own "Ants of the Sky" from Colors. And this is not all. How about the brilliant integration of surf rock on "Bloom", exploring mesmerizing bossa nova rhythms on "Extremophile Elite" or bringing symphonic elements, where they feel so in place, like at the end of the 15-minute masterpiece "Silent Flight Parliament." They even brought the tuba, mandolin and flute for some songs!
All this eclectic mass is delivered with enviable chops and precision on all instruments, and on top of that Paul Wagoner and Dustie Waring deliver some amazing soloing (e.g. listen to the graceful opening solo on the last track!) - damn, this is a progressive metal fan's dream. As for vocals, no major change has been detected: the customary combination of insane visceral growls, very fragile clean vocals, and sometimes quirky "avant-garde" utterances most reminiscent of one of Mike Patton's techniques.
What makes The Parallax II superior to anything BTBAM has achieved up to this point is the incredible coherence. While Colors felt a little edgy at times, The Great Misdirect was already much more directed than the album's name would suggest. Finally, The Parallax II is even better orchestrated despite being more complex. The smooth way all the various styles and parts flow from one into another simply makes me laugh - it's stunning and eye-opening! The album itself is very well-structured being smartly divided into two parts by the two short tracks "Parallax" and "The Black Box." Those three and a half minutes of tranquility are there for the listener to catch his breath on this rollercoaster of an album and to prepare him for some really grandiose mammoth tracks to follow. While BTBAM are just springing with creativity on The Parallax II, they managed to bring forth a unified musical story, not an erratic mish-mash of styles.
Dear friends, this is a new benchmark in modern progressive music in its truest meaning, no other way to put it, and I am genuinely happy to see Between The Buried And Me boldly tread into the future reinventing and reinvigorating the style, to which many cling so passionately.
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