Review Summary: Is it good? Sure. Worthy of co-headlining one of the biggest metal tours in the US? Nah.Between the Buried and Me
is an interesting mix of a clearly progressive song structuring and a heaping of genre-crossing metal that has earned them the experimental label in the recent years. Their latest release – an EP called The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues
– doesn’t exactly ‘take shots’ at the formula the band has built in the past, but it doesn’t necessarily need to, either. This seems to be a demonstration of their skill in completing a shorter release as opposed to what they can do with their back catalogue of five full-lengths and a live album, and that’s just fine for me. It was the first release of theirs that I gave a full listen to, and as such, I may not be the best guy to ask when it comes to an ‘educated’ take of the band’s performance as a whole. I think, though, that the EP sounds both promising and fulfilled – as if the band put their all into it. It’s got varying tempos, varying structure, and varying sound. Their efforts combine into something cohesive and well-structured enough to keep me interested, and the shorter length of this record is probably a major contributing factor. Either way, Between the Buried and Me impress, and change just enough to create a flimsy appearance of an evolution.
The EP has a science fiction theme, as you could probably tell by the title. If that wasn’t enough to clue you in, the intro to “Specular Reflection” spells it out clearly enough before you impact quite suddenly and without warning with the force that is Between the Buried and Me. You’ll have good fun for a few minutes before it slows down for the clean vocals section, which doesn’t show much range but sounds good for me to tolerate it. At the same time, the instrumentation in the background becomes ever more interesting until the genres start blending again nine minutes in. Then the metal force will hit you again, which sounds pretty damn good compared to the last album I heard (Colors
). Cleans come in again and actually sound good, and then the song fades into a cacophony of garbled static and sci-fi nonsense. That’s the band’s sound, in a nutshell, and not much changes until the middle passage of “Augment of Rebirth.” They have some French-themed folk passages, complete with an accordion and some cool vocals. These work well because they’re short, and sudden enough to keep a guy like me interested. The song was otherwise not very memorable, aside from having decent metal performances, but the genre-bending of the band has always been leaps and bounds ahead of their metal skill, in my opinion. The varying structure in this EP in particular captures my attention long enough for me to come back for a few specific parts, but the problem I eventually run into is that I don’t want to sit through eight minutes of what is essentially “meh” to get to that golden moment I found somewhere in the song. I tend to run into that problem a lot when listening to longer songs, and this EP isn’t much of an exception.
“Lunar Wilderness” is the closing track, and everyone’s probably hyped this up your ass if you haven’t already heard it for yourself. Let me tell you honestly that, from my perspective, this track wasn’t very different than what I had expected. It’s great, sure, and it’s a load of fun that closes the album relatively quickly and with brevity that the first two tracks lacked, but it’s really nothing too incredible. I understand that because it initially seems so different that everyone loves it to death, but there’s not much of a progression between the third track and the second track. It gets you ready to pack up and leave, and it sounds fairly good doing it. What more can you ask of a good closing track? The EP itself impressed me because it was my first extended listen to the band itself, not because it was an amazing release. That being said, it’s got its golden moments. Check it out if you haven’t already; there’s certainly some interesting progressive material on here.
1. "Specular Reflection"
2. the rest of the three-track EP hurrr durrr