You would be hard-pressed to find a band that’s on the exact same level as Between The Buried And Me. Ever since their wildly progressive release Alaska, the band’s sound has been evolving into something vastly different from what the current metal world generally offers. Albums like Colors and The Great Misdirect have only continued to propel their music in this direction. I’m proud to announce that their new EP, The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues does not disappoint in the slightest.
All of the elements that have cemented the Raleigh, North Carolina quintet into the band that fans know and love are still present in this three song EP (which, by the way, has a running time of over 30 minutes, making it longer than most bands’ full-length releases). The music ranges from technical death metal to alt rock to polka, and as odd as this may sound to those unfamiliar with these guys, let me assure you that they are more than capable of pulling it off (picture Dream Theater, and then turn them up to 11 – that’s Between The Buried And Me). One thing I must mention is that this is a group that is very dense, so you really need to sit back and enjoy the ride. If you don’t give The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues your undivided attention, you will undoubtedly miss elements that round out the experience (I encountered this problem a lot, as I listened to it both at home and in the car).
The opening track starts with a big band part that sounds like it could be suspense music from a Hitchcock film, which segues into a wild and vibrant grind measure, and it doesn’t take long for Between The Buried And Me to start dishing out polyrhythms and slaying bodies from there. The guitars are incredibly varied, from the multiple tones that shredders Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring employ, to the intense and nigh-spastic musical transitions that the band makes to put them through their paces. This is especially prevalent on the The Parallax…, as the long running times of the tracks prove to contain a phantasmagoria of sound – if you were to fast forward a couple minutes in any of these tunes, you’d be surprised to know that you were still listening to the same song.
Another aspect of the band that I love is the “lead bassist” approach that Dan Briggs brings to the table. The low-end sections of the album are every bit as intricate and mind-blowing as the ones that the smaller-gauge strings in the ensemble offer. There are moments where all other instruments fall back and the bass is very much the front-runner in the mix. The drums round out the rhythm section nicely, as drummer Blake Richardson effectively adapts his beat to perfectly fit the ever-changing soundscape that the band produces. He can grind and thrash with the best of them, and then throw on the brakes to execute a slow jazz movement. It really is quite amazing how this band moves like a well-oiled machine and seamlessly blends vastly different styles of music together. The vocals are very much the same as before, with Thomas Giles Rogers belting out decent mid-to-low growls and throwing in a few moments of clean singing for good measure, when it’s needed.
The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues is very much a no-brainer for any current fans of Between The Buried And Me. They haven’t gone off the deep end or done anything drastic that would cause anyone to run away. It’s an all-around solid release, so if you haven’t checked these guys out yet and you’ve been curious, this wouldn’t be a bad starting point either. Once again, I must stress that this is a group that caters to the music nerd much more than the casual listener, and this album does a great job of solidifying that fact, but few bands will release albums this year that are as enjoyable as this one.
01. Specular Reflection
02. Augment Of Rebirth
03. Lunar Wildnerness