Between The Buried And Me are finally back with a full length album, following up their EP The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues and they continue right where they left off, crushing an Opeth record into dust and coating their cereal with it while listening to The Devin Townsend Project. I will be honest and say that it took me awhile to get a feel for the new sound of BTBAM because I am a huge fan of their album Alaska, and Parallax II isn’t anything like that. If I had paid closer attention to who they covered on their Anatomy Of album I think it would have been less of a shock. I did have a chance to see them during their run on the Summer Slaughter tour this year, and they are some damn talented musicians that put on an immaculate show. It’s difficult to find a band that sounds as good live as they do in the studio, (especially with all the fucking technology available today) but BTBAM is one of those special few.
The Parallax II: Future Sequence opens with a slow, calming intro that eventually leads its way into the song Astral Body. This song sounds like a mix of European power metal and lazy folk metal, mixed with a dash of tryptophan to slow you down in a few spots. The hardest track on the album follows next called Laid Your Ghosts to Rest. I wish the whole album sounded like variations of this song! Again, another slow breakdown persists even in the heaviest song, which is not surprising since it seems they have gone the progressive metal route. In case you weren’t aware, the thing about Progressive Metal is that you are either going to love it, or you are going to completely hate it. I have never met a person that has been just alright with the style. I get passion from both positive and negative sides but there is never an unbiased middle. That makes for one sad metal Oreo cookie going for a milk dunking.
BTBAM have a love for transition songs and noises which indoctrinate this album. In theory these kinds of noises and transitions aren’t a terrible idea. Mudvayne’s L.D. 50 album uses this type of thing and those are delivered brilliantly! But the way BTBAM have used them in the Parallax II seems boring and tends to drag a bit. Maybe I just need to be under the influence of some mind altering substance, but to a sober me, they seemed unnecessary in an album full of three to fifteen minute songs. Extremophile Elite has a xylophone in it which appears out of place at first, but once you listen to the whole album you can’t help but feel happy for the band that they were able to fit that in there. The song Bloom, that reminds me of the band Dog Fashion Disco, (Who are defunct but awesome, and Todd Smith is a freaking genius. His new incantation is Polkadot Cadaver, FYI) automatically gained my respect. If you want something out of the ordinary and are a fan of Opeth, Mike Patton and/or some Mars Volta than you should crank this album up in your headphones until your ears bleed (which I do not recommend so please do not sue me, thank you). Parallax II showcases killer musicianship all the way through with an interesting barrage of different sounds and speeds, keeping a good balance of heavy brutality and calming rhythms throughout. BTBAM will most likely lose some of their older fans due to the night and day difference in their new, progressive style compared to that of albums before, but I think it’s great for a band to do what they want and express themselves through music as they see fit, without a record label telling them that they are committing suicide. Again, if you do not like progressive metal you will hate this album so do not say you weren’t warned! It is not an album I would constantly jam like something from Meshuggah, but given the right mood and this album, along with proper headphones and a glass of good whiskey (neat of course), I think it could make for a damn good night.