Review Summary: While it may not be the landmark release Colors or The Silent Circus was, it should at least help appease the growing hatred of the band’s tendency to lose direction.
It seems like anyone who has ever heard Between the Buried and Me has a strong opinion of them. There are the people on YouTube who pre-ejaculate before Paul even touches his instrument, and then there are the people who acknowledge their overall technical prowess but dismiss their songwriting ability as an incoherent mess. Then of course, there are the listeners who reminisce about the days of The Silent Circus
. However, anyone hoping for a return to roots probably let that go already, since those days are long gone. It could be argued that Alaska
was the band trying to refine the sound they had on The Silent Circus
, while The Great Misdirect
was a refinement of Colors
. And even though (ironically) The Great Misdirect
was a much more focused beast, it left most listeners with mixed feelings as compared to the massive hype-train surrounding Colors
. Well it seems like the band heard the outcry, since after more than nine years into the band’s existence they decided to release their first EP.
Besides having one of the worst album titles of the year, The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues
does accomplish what they were trying to do. Without trying to sound too cliché, it seems that they took what elements worked from their last two albums and integrated them with new ones. Yes, there are still those wacky moments one comes to expect from the band, but they are few and far between. All one has to do, is listen to Lunar Wilderness to get a sense of the change in songwriting. Which barring a few sections, sounds completely fresh by Between the Buried and Me standards. It comes off as better thought out than anything they were doing a few years ago.
There is a big “but” on the album though. Augment of Rebirth is more or less the Between the Buried and Me of yesterday. The riffs are familiar, the vocals are monotonous, and I left to go take a dump during the chugga chugga blast beat extravaganza only to return to the same thing five minutes later. While it certainly had some fun parts mixed in, and it was not out rightly terrible like Swim to the Moon was, it became apparent that Between the Buried and Me will never completely change what they do. It is unfortunately the low point of the album, but when there are only three songs to listen to, it gets a bit irksome.
Luckily the band actually holds back on the masturbatory wankery this time. That is not to say it lacks extremely technical riffs, as it has plenty to go around. It just does not sound like someone trying to impress John Petrucci all the time, which is never really fun to listen to. Instead there are more organic sounding riffs and interludes which sound great with the incredible production they put into their songs. One could almost hear a little bit of Scale the Summit here and there. It also has to be said that there are more “clean” vocals here than any other album they have put out before, which complement the change in style. Unless of course you just do not like Tommy’s vocals, who can sound robotic at times.
If there is anything to take away from all this, it is this. The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues
leaves a much more satisfactory outlook on the band’s future than The Great Misdirect
did. While it may not be the landmark release Colors
or The Silent Circus
was, it should at least help appease the growing hatred of the band’s tendency to lose direction.