Between the Buried and Me
The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues


4.0
excellent

Review

by UO910 USER (8 Reviews)
October 10th, 2011 | 12 replies | 2,847 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: And now class, if you will observe the graph of f'(Between the Buried and Me), you will see that it levels out at x = The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

When discussing the “adult contemporary progressive death metal” band, Between the Buried and Me (by the way that category was coined in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek manner by vocalist Tommy Rogers), the album that is always brought up as their crowning achievement is 2007’s Colors. Therefore, it is the album to which all other BTBAM material is (somewhat unfairly) weighed against. After Colors came the band’s fifth full-length effort, The Great Misdirect, which was released in 2009. Although Misdirect was damn good, it didn’t quite live up to Colors (and how could it?). After disappearing for another year-plus, BTBAM returned with an “EP” (its runtime is a half hour), of course entitled The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues. When asked why they chose to make an EP, Rogers was quoted as saying “We wanted to get some music out quickly, and we wanted to keep our name out there.” Although he didn’t quite say it, that statement almost sounds like BTBAM didn’t put the time and effort into Parallax that they had put into Colors and Misdirect; the time and effort that gave those albums the buoyancy to rise above the rest of not only their own material, but everyone else’s. Although Parallax (much like Misdirect) is damn good, by BTBAM standards it’s rather average.

Exhibit A is found early on in the first of only three tracks, “Specular Reflection.” The song starts with a dark, anxiety-layering piano/orchestra/chorus buildup. The buildup itself is practically perfect. It’s one of those moments where you truly don’t know what to expect next, especially coming from an unpredictable group of musicians. In fact, I remember listening to it for the first time, thinking how one of either deathcore, prog, polka, or really just about anything between could come next. It reaches its climax at the 0:49 mark, when a horrifying screeching takes over, followed by option A: deathcore. Although I was completely and utterly blown away the first time I had heard the transition from buildup to the beginning of the song, over time I’ve come to expect a little bit more. I’m not sure exactly what BTBAM could have done, I just feel like they were capable of better. To me, that’s the story of The Parallax.

Parallax has all the familiar elements that BTBAM have used that make them great. Pounding deathcore passages lead by Blake Richardson blowing through blast beats and fills at mind boggling speeds still make up a good chunk of their songs, beautiful clean sections featuring Tommy Rogers’ falsetto tones are scattered throughout, enjoyable genre-bending is thrown in here and there, Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring still play the hell out of their guitars, and bassist Dan Briggs still adds technical flair from his five-string. All of that in itself certainly makes this record a tour de force, but it also acts as a double-edged sword, knocking Parallax down from what it could have been. The problem here is that although BTBAM deserve huge amounts of respect and praise for all that they have shown they’re able to branch into, they just don’t expand upon it here.

In previous records, jaw-dropping moments came pretty regularly (see second half of “Mordecai”, clean section of “Ad a Dglgmut”, solo in “Selkies”, practically all of Colors, last few minutes of “Swim to the Moon”, etc.). In Parallax, however, BTBAM have melted a bit too much into themselves to be able pull comparable moments off. That’s not to say it’s devoid of them; the previously mentioned “Specular Reflection” is a very strong track, especially from about the five minute mark on. The highlights from the other two songs include the last few minutes of "Augment of Rebirth" and the ever-changing “Lunar Wilderness” teetering back and forth from brutal to beautiful.

At this point, this review probably reads like one of the most negative fours ever given to an album on Sputnik, and from a very disappointed fan. This isn’t quite true. Although BTBAM haven’t really added much to their discography with Parallax, they’ve solidified their spot as one of the best (insert your preferred BTBAM genre) bands in the business. They haven’t regressed any, they’ve just leveled out. Considering the sickening amount of momentum the band had had coming into Parallax, of course simply leveling out will feel like coming to a screeching halt. The challenge now facing Tommy and the boys is to regain their lost momentum on the next record, which is to be the second half of a two-part series of sorts with Parallax.

Recommended tracks:
“Eeny meeny miny moe.…”



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user ratings (1201)
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3.9
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other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Darion Paone (3)
    Is it good? Sure. Worthy of co-headlining one of the biggest metal tours in the US? Nah....

    Neenahskater (4.5)
    ...

    Isaacbean (4.5)
    Reaching back to their roots in "Colors", Between The Buried And Me are the best they've e...

    ConsiderPhlebas (2)
    Tiresome, bloated and silly...

  • Philalethes (4.5)
    Ladies and gentlemen: the one, the only, Between the Buried and Me...

    TheOscillat0r (4)
    While it may not be the landmark release Colors or The Silent Circus was, it should at lea...

    GLaDOS (4.5)
    Once again Between the Buried and Me provide an auditory experience that will sonically en...

    lessermaster (3.5)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
UO910
October 10th 2011



115 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is my first review in a about a year, as always comments and constructive criticism are both great appreciated. I plan on reviewing all of BTBAM's content in reverse order even though it will probably take me forever. Thanks for reading everyone!

KronosRage2
October 10th 2011



3 Comments


Pos

Motiv3
October 10th 2011



8920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

btbam are not and have never been deathcore. They use elements of metalcore and they have stripped that element of their sound more and more with each album. Also this seriously does not read like a four, it doesnt really expand on why it deserves that rating.

Digging: Opeth - Pale Communion

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
October 10th 2011



10011 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7 | Sound Off

"It reaches its climax at the 0:49 mark, when a horrifying screeching takes over, followed by option A: deathcore. Although I was completely and utterly blown away the first time I had heard the transition from buildup to the beginning of the song, over time I’ve come to expect a little bit more." I agree with this part so hard; it's nice to see somebody else that is irritated with their tendency to do this.

But I have this rated at a 3 and you have it a 4 :P it does read much lower to me.

Digging: Deniro Farrar - Rebirth

Wheelah
October 10th 2011



756 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

BTBAM's not deathcore. Aside from that, I kind of agree with this review. You don't really elaborate on the songs after Specular Reflection, which are a lot worse, though.

UO910
October 10th 2011



115 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sorry about being kinda vague on the positives of the album and about them being deathcore. i figured BTBAM's positives have been harped on and pointed out clearly for years, so there was no need for me to add to that when everyone already knows what the band does well. so i focused more on what they didn't quite do right (by their standards). also, i didn't really mean to ever say that they were deathcore, because they obviously aren't, but they do use a lot of elements of deathcore. motiv3 i mostly agree with your statement about them stripping it away more, until Parallax. i thought Parallax was the most they've used it since Alaska.

MeatSalad
October 10th 2011



14194 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Agreed, review reads more like a 3 or 3.5.

Digging: Love - Forever Changes

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
October 10th 2011



10011 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7 | Sound Off

Also, is the randomly heavy intro to Specular Reflection the only part that you think feels out of place? The other two songs, I think, have moments that deserve to be called out even more.

UO910
October 10th 2011



115 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The intro to Specular Reflection isn't the only part that feels out of place. Like others said, it is my personal favorite on the album because I think it's the best by a rather wide margin. I suppose I could've also elaborated more on the bad, but I try to stay away from writing long reviews because I tend to kinda repeat myself a lot if I don't.

ILJ
October 10th 2011



6619 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Specular Reflection is actually one of my favorite songs by them. Like you said though, it's more the point beyond four minutes that shines. The opening doesn't really compare to it. Also, the first 7 minutes of Augment pisses me off. It's like they tried to be heavy for the sake of being heavy. That's not the BTBAM I know and love. Lunar Wilderness is pretty good, although some parts are bland.

Good review, I agree about it not being quite what Colors and TGM was, and I also like that you didn't rehash what's already been hashed a hundred times. Have a pos.

Digging: Mastodon - Once More 'Round the Sun

UO910
October 10th 2011



115 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ILJAJLM thanks for the pos and for digging a fantastic album haha

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
October 11th 2011



10011 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7 | Sound Off

No worries man, I hope I didn't come across as overly harsh. I pos'd your review, it's quite good :]



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