Between the Buried and Me
The Parallax II: Future Sequence


3.0
good

Review

by Michael Snoxall USER (47 Reviews)
October 5th, 2012 | 85 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It’s The Great Misdirect with some slightly fancier wrapping paper.

Between the Buried and Me is a real mess of a band. The group has always seemed to struggle when it comes to song writing. It’s undeniable that they’re all talented musicians technically. They all know how to handle their instruments, and it shows. The problem is it shows a little too clearly. In the past, the band have given up strong song writing to focus on technicality, completely random and messy transitions, tempo changes, downright stupid song structures and pointless segues of cliché jazzy breakdowns and odd, fun soundscapes. This is mainly demonstrated on their breakthrough progressive metal album Colors in 2007. In 2009, we saw the band falling down an even deeper hole with The Great Misdirect. Let’s not let the hole metaphor fool you, this was actually a step in the right direction, the band focused on more melodic song structures and took away a lot of the technicality-driven metal that plagued past releases. The Great Misdirect employed a heavy use of clean vocals and saw the band’s experimental side shine a lot brighter than on previous releases, rather than being confined to a few dull moments, the band fully embraced their experimentalism. What let The Great Misdirect down was the sloppy song structures that just couldn’t be held well over songs like ‘Swim to the Moon’ that ran for nigh on twenty minutes.

Fortunately, the band caught a wave with their 2011 EP The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues. Here we saw the band cutting some of the fat from their past releases and, in essence, creating the band’s most coherent and enjoyable release to date. The song writing was as strong as ever, it was actually a joy to listen to, with transitions that weren’t as random and ugly to hear, memorable riffs and lo! a jazzy breakdown that actually contributed to the music rather than detracting from it, heard on ‘Specular Reflection’. Even Tommy Giles Rogers’ singing was the best it had ever been. His cleans being rather dull to listen to, same with his harsh vocals, he managed to bring some character into his voice with The Parallax. All this being said, The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues actually saw the band backpedaling a little and redefining their sound. It was great. It worked. It could only mean good things for where they would head with their next full length: The Parallax II: Future Sequence.

Or so I thought.

Unfortunately, The Parallax II more or less came out as a polished version of The Great Misdirect. The heavy experimentation of sound has returned, but with enough sense in their heads, the band has kept the sensible song writing demonstrated on Hypersleep Dialogues and not totally veered back into the voracious mess of a hole they were digging with The Great Misdirect. So, just as The Great Misdirect was an exercise of the band trying to be larger than life, I can’t help but feel The Parallax II is slowly going the way of the buffalo and rehashing the band’s entire back catalogue--to a certain extent. Whilst the band try to redefine where they should have been in 2009, The Great Misdirect II: Future Sequence is undoubtedly a step forward, but for how much longer will the band be able to appease their audience when they’re doing nothing but re-wrapping old gifts?

Of course, the weakest link in the band’s sound is Tommy Rogers’ vocals. Back to where they were before Hypersleep Dialogues, Rogers’ vocals range from anywhere between bland and monotonous growls all the way to bland and monotonous falsettos. Actually, scratch that, there isn’t much to be left to the imagination in between, it’s just one extreme or the other. In interviews, Rogers’ has stated his favourite bands being Radiohead and Muse, and now more than ever, it’s alarmingly obvious. Rogers’ almost seems to emulate Matt Bellamy’s vocal style at points; the influence is there and I’m shaking my head. And while on this album we can see the vocal style suiting the music, with tawdry synths and keyboards (everything one needs to make a successful progressive album), it just gives off a vibe that it’s all a little too over the top for its own good. The fact that Rogers’ doesn’t have the most enjoyable vocals doesn’t help when they’re produced and layered to be as obnoxious as possible.

Thankfully this album does have its high points. In among the amazingly hide tides of cheese being demonstrated, lead guitarist Paul Waggoner has created some monster riffs and solos that should be enjoyable for most ears. The production on the album is quite clean, and doesn’t leave any band members out of the limelight, and the musical cliché of totally drowning the bass has been dropped. Blake Richardson once again performs admirably and gives a solid drum performance on the album. Yes, it’s quite safe to say that the musicianship is top notch and that the band is finally working as a whole to try and give the most aesthetically pleasing experience possible...but that’s just about where it ends. Still apparent is the disjointedness of the band’s attempt to blend many styles, and while they’re improving significantly in their genre bending, it still doesn’t work as well as they think it does. Just because they’re getting better at musical coherence, doesn’t mean they’re masters of it just yet.

As this album plays out like The Great Misdirect II most of time (albeit with a tad more filler as the glue that holds it all together), there are times when the album tries to hint at its actually being a follow up to Hypersleep Dialogues, rather than naturally progressing the ideas explored on that EP, the album actually takes moments from the EP and puts them in new songs. Most noticeably taking robotic spoken word passage from the song ‘Specular Reflection’ and throwing it into a short segment of new song ‘Extremophile Elite’ (which also features another small segment within the first few minutes which shows off riffing that’s almost identical to some that can be heard on ‘Specular Reflection’). And when you think the band couldn’t find anything more to rip from their own song, they poorly recreate a similar jazzy section from ‘Specular Reflection’ on the song ‘Bloom’.

And, of course, just as The Great Misdirect did, the album tries to finish off with an epic bang, found in the final tracks ‘Silent Flight Parliament’ and ‘Goodbye to Everything Reprise’. While the two do finish the album off on a high note, this album just leaves so much more to be desired. It’s time for the band to settle into a style and hone that style, because they don’t seem to be getting anywhere fast. It shouldn’t take a band seven studio releases to create something that actually works as a whole. It just shouldn’t. A band brimming with ideas, promise and obvious skill and they’re yet to really take it anywhere. The Parallax II: Future Sequence is a step into musical maturity, but it lacks the conviction that the band needs to feel comfortable with what they’re doing.



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user ratings (1208)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
MichaelSnoxall
October 5th 2012


12163 Comments


This really grew off of me after the first couple of listens.

MeatSalad
October 5th 2012


14538 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Same here, but it's still about as good as their last two (three if you count the ep) releases

MichaelSnoxall
October 5th 2012


12163 Comments


I didn't enjoy Colors a whole lot. I really, really enjoyed The Great Misdirect despite its massive disjointedness and I loved the first Parallax. Unfortunately I think this is worse than The Great Misdirect, even though it's objectively an improvement.

MeatSalad
October 5th 2012


14538 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I don't know if I'd say it's an improvement objectively, I mean it does a whole lot of dream theater ripping off, a lot more than usual.

MichaelSnoxall
October 5th 2012


12163 Comments


It's an improvement in terms that they actually put together songs that don't feel as mish-mashy as people cutting puzzle pieces to fit instead of finding the right pieces to fit.



















if that makes sense.

MeatSalad
October 5th 2012


14538 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

It does make sense. But they're still doing that, just a fair bit less of it. But I suppose that would make it "objectively" better.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
October 5th 2012


4424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Between the Buried and Me is a real mess of a band. That’s not an opinion, it’s a fact.


If I was a different sort of a man, I would have neg'd you right then there. But this is a pretty well-written review, Michael. I dont agree with your view, but you made good points.

They all know how to handle their instruments, and it shows. The problem is it shows a little too clearly.... focus on completely random and messy transitions, tempo changes, downright stupid song structures and pointless segues of cliché jazzy breakdowns and odd, fun soundscapes.


Also this is a progressive metal band with Jazz Fusion leanings. Flaunts of Instrumental virtuosity and unorthodox orchestrations is always going to play a major part in their sound, its an essential part of both genres.

Anyway, Have a POS, mate.

MeatSalad
October 5th 2012


14538 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

You know, I didn't even notice this was snoxall's review

MichaelSnoxall
October 5th 2012


12163 Comments


Also this is a progressive metal band with Jazz Fusion leanings. Flaunts of Instrumental virtuosity and unorthodox orchestrations is always going to play a major part in their sound, its an essential part of both genres.


While I agree, BTBAM just never did it very well, and that's why they're such a mess. Anyways, thanks for the pos.

METALFACE666
October 5th 2012


172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

review suck dicks


Ethics
October 5th 2012


4112 Comments


rude....

MichaelSnoxall
October 5th 2012


12163 Comments


I hope you're not the guy who neg'd me just because I made this a critical review.

If you can't criticise a band's music, you're not a very good fan.

Ethics
October 5th 2012


4112 Comments


dont worry bro i got u i pos'd

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
October 5th 2012


4424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

While I agree, BTBAM just never did it very well, and that's why they're such a mess. Anyways, thanks for the pos.


Yes, they can be sloppy in their orchestrations because they focus too much on fitting in dextrous solo passages- I agree. But this is the kind of band whose music just kind of flows on its own. They're very true to their prog and jazz roots, thriving on soloistic spontaneity. I personally think most of their work is great because of it, but I can see where some people get thrown off by it. Anyway, good writing, man.

MeatSalad
October 5th 2012


14538 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Honestly I think most people get thrown off by the love or hate metalcore elements being smashed into the progressive elements

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
October 5th 2012


4424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@MeatSalad
That too. I'm not much for metalcore, myself, but these guys are good.

BraydenCole
October 5th 2012


82 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

disagree

neg


Ethics
October 5th 2012


4112 Comments


LMFAOOOOOOOO

MeatSalad
October 5th 2012


14538 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Yeah disagreeing with an opinion is a great reason to neg, brilliant

Mordecai.
October 5th 2012


8279 Comments


Fortunately, the band caught a wave with their 2011 EP The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues. Here we saw the band cutting some of the fat from their past releases and, in essence, creating the band’s most coherent and enjoyable release to date.


Disagree with this. Their first three albums are much more coherent and infinitely more enjoyable than anything that has come afterwards.

Good review. pos.



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