1. Specular Reflection 2. Augment of Rebirth 3. Lunar Wilderness2011 Metal Blade Records
Impressive. Most impressive. It's the best way to describe Between The Buried and Me's newest offering The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues. The off-kilter opening of piano and strings sound like a Danny Elfman themed title sequence. Very Pee-Wee Herman or Beetlejuice. Considering the sprawling tale told on The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues, it's a fitting intro. Over the ensuing three tracks, these five musical masterminds delve into almost every imaginable genre and do it deftly without becoming boring, albeit sometimes overbearing. After the credits are done rolling, "Specular Reflection," begins in vicious fashion. Blasting beats and curdled goans battle relentlessly through chunks of maniacal riffing. Languid bits buffer the brutality but it isn't until the "chorus" at (4:10) things begin to calm. An intriguing section of understated drumming and Tommy Roger's natural vocals take hold at (4:40). At (6:52) it grinds into mathy noisecore territory, sounding like Coalesce or even Candiria. Meandering without a center, it is awesome in its own way. Light guitar interplay turns into a drum 'n' bass break around (8:20), only to brake with a staccato vocal harmony not unlike Queen. On a dime it morphs into a violent prog passage. The opener ends on the "chorus" section from about seven minutes earlier. The following tracks are a mishmash of similar tactics; a little bit of everything while still shoveling in heaping portions of majestic prog-metal and pounding rhythms. While it is insanely technical and professionally proficient, there is no identity. Nothing sticks out as instantly recognizable or memorable. This release has to be listened to as a whole, which is a positive experience, but makes it difficult to fully digest. And its abrupt ending is more frustrating than tantalizing. That said, The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues is a cerebral experiment and BTBAM get points for pulling it off with such skill, and for the polka-played accordion bit at (6:22) of "Augment of Rebirth" followed by Tommy's best Freddy Mercury impression. The story line told in the lyrics is also poetic and fairly captivating unlike many other concept attempts. Bottom Line: The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues is an excellent release. As far as musicianship and production go, it's close to perfect. But it lacks replay value because of the song lengths and the absence of a lasting identity.