BTBAM – The Parallax II: Future Sequence

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The Parallax II: Future Sequence is the sixth studio album by prog metal band Between the Buried and Me. It was released on October 9, 2012 as the conceptual continuation of the band’s 2011 EP The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues. A great feature of the album as a whole is the tendency of songs to abruptly switch gears mid-track; be it time signatures, tempo, or even genre. Songs also bleed from one to the next without stops which gives a feel that this is one complete piece of art instead of simply a collection of sepeate entities. This sense of oneness definitely adds to the concept album aspect.

If you think of the metal genre as a whole going into this album without prior knowledge of the band, your initial reaction at the start of the CD may be one of confusion. The first track of the album, “Goodbye to Everything” starts with simple acoustic strumming before being joined by keys and clean harmonizing vocals. Far from the stereotypical cookie cutter metal riff-age  track 1 is a beautiful song with happy bells and ominous organ tones. A perfect calm before the perfect storm. “Autumn” is a quick interlude that makes use of sound effects and general ambiance. It instantly transported me to a mildly unsettling sci-fi worl before segueing into “Extremophile Elite”. Extremophile Elite clocks in at almost exactly 10 min and never once seems too long. At about the 8 minute mark we are greeted by a familiar syncopated vocal line. “Walking into a certain state of”… is repeated several times before the growl of “desperation”. For those that listened to the Hypersleep Dialogues EP, you may recognize this line from the track “Specular Reflection” at around the 9 min. mark. “ Parallax” is an ambient track with dialogue. A quick break that adds to the concept. “The Black Box” is a relatively short track that stays mostly on the tame side. The first minute or so is clean vocals and keys before the electric guitar kicks in. This song is a good palette cleanser that adds dynamics to the album, as well as bridging the ambient track 6 to the heavy track 8, which The Black Box fades into. “Bloom” is an odd song that makes great use of unusual instrumentation and crazy vocals. Another example of the genre bending fun that the juxtaposition of wackiness and brutality can bring forth.

The bass is not only audible but relatively prominent on the entire album, but “Melting City” even has a section where the bass seems to be the forefront instrument. It is always refreshing to hear the lower strings get a chance to shine and this song, and album as a whole, leave a lot of room for versatility. It is also worth mentioning that it ends with the sound of either an alien communicating or Togepi melting, and every song needs that, right? The album ends with “Goodbye to Everything Reprise”. It is everything you’d expect from a reprise. It takes the beauty of the opener and makes it an equally great instrumental ending.
Tracks 2, 3, 8, 10, and 11 (Astral Body, Lay Your Ghosts to Rest, Telos, Melting City, and Silent Flight Parliament respectively) range from five to fifteen minutes in length and make up the progressive meat and potatoes of the album. I could write whole blog entries on one single song, but you would still not get the full range of versatility this album presents.

Bottom Line:
This brings enough brutality that it should keep Deathcore fans happy while having enough syncopated rhythms to make Djent bands green with envy. Most importantly, this is a sci-fi consept album that is progressive as hell, so us music nerds will find solace in another artful music masterpiece. I can’t recommend this album enough. This is possibly my favorite album of 2012. Buy it!

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