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Between The Buried And Me - The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues CD (album) cover

THE PARALLAX: HYPERSLEEP DIALOGUES

Between The Buried And Me

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This makes me happy. I've been a fan of Between the Buried and Me since their inception. I've followed them since their choppy, incoherent compositions up to their most recent album "The Great Misdirect" where their compositions starting becoming actual songs.

This EP, "The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues", is fantastic. It shows tremendous growth in their ability to write coherent, well arranged music. Gone is the randomness of their earlier material; everything here just... flows. If you liked their albums before this then you'll definitely like this. Besides their growing compositional skills, not much has changed in their sound; it's still heavy, there is still beauty among the harshness, the sung vocals still soar, etc. Another thing that is different on this EP is a new psychedelic element that I don't remember BTBAM using before, and they use it to great effect; not too much, but not too sparsely. There are also a bit more orchestral-type elements added (strings, horns). The second track, "Augment of Rebirth", includes a Frederik Thordendal-esque guitar-solo, but unfortunately this is the one track that still has some of the randomness of "Ants of the Sky" from BTBAM's album Colors (but fortunately, I'm comparing two great tracks to each other). The last track, "Lunar Wilderness", includes great jazz fusion elements in the vein of Exivious, but ends with the what I call the trademark BTBAM "sounds-of-victory" album ending.

One thing I've noticed about BTBAM is that each of their releases tries a little bit of something new, and if it works well, the following release will display that "something new" in full force. Being that this is just an EP, and every bit of it works so well, their next full album is definitely going to be immensely strong and interesting.

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Send comments to colorofmoney91 (BETA) | Report this review (#434233)
Posted Friday, April 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Best Effort Yet from Standard Bearers of Prog Metalcore

Between the Buried and Me is a no-longer precocious band that has slowly added more and more progressive elements to their core metalcore sound. On their signature album, COLORS, the band showed massive promise but their execution fell short of their laudible ambition. On PARALLAX, the band has made a huge step forward in creating coherent musical compositions while retaining their signature genre-hopping and alternating clean and -core vocal style. After COLORS, I never intended to buy another BtBaM album. However, after hearing PARALLAX in its entirely during a radio promotion, I was very pleasantly surprised. I decided to give the band another try, and I'm glad I did. Still not a fan of the barking metalcore vocal style, I really enjoy the proggy elements of this album, which blend so much better than they did previously.

Aside from the vocals, the band has moved away from the metalcore style to a more straightforward extreme / prog approach. The drumming is much better, with a greater sense of nuance, and significantly less reliance on blast beats. The guitars have absorbed some of the prog/black sixteenth note ideas, along with the sweeping and lead techniques that have been present all along. Lead vocalist Tommy Giles Rogers has much greater control and variety when using the clean parts of his instrument. There are a few fun surprises such as well placed robotic vocals, a circus-y swing section, and some jazz-influence guitar chords. Again, the big change is that where on COLORS, the band seemed to hop from style to style in a taped together manner, now the song sections relate and move from one to another musically. Though still covering alot of territory, the band doesn't seem to be scattered all over the map.

The short EP length is probably a benefit when dealing with such intense music. For a workout, this would be great - intense but with plenty of interest for even a prog glutton like myself. Highly recommended for anyone interested in trying out this band.

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Send comments to Negoba (BETA) | Report this review (#458861)
Posted Friday, June 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow! With every new release these guys continue to awe and suprise me.

I remember being told about this release by my brother. At first I thought it was an album, and was very excited, and shocked because it wasn't too long since their last release, and then I heard it was an e.p, and my excitement turned into meh...cause e.ps are good and all, but hey you can't beat a full length release...or can you.

This release really didn't need to be longer...3 epics roled on to a 30 minute cd...that's enough to be honest. Any more of this, and I may blush to death.

Now being a fan of these guys for a while, I wouldn't say I'm their biggest fanatic. I like them and all, it's just listening to them for long periods of time can make you confused...which is why this e.p is perfect. I think one of the things that keeps me from loving them is that the whole musicianship and technicality of their material can be a bit overbearing at times. I think when it comes to technicality, the Dream Theater method, of having contemporary amazing musicianship is more listenable. Although I have to admit, they are getting more pleasurable with each listen.

This e.p really has 3 mammoth songs....and each I have given a nickname...as you will see if you continue to read on.

Their seems to a concept present, but from what I gather, its about God, the creation of the universe and dreams...that's what I get from it, maybe I'm wrong who knows. But the flowing linked concept really does make it interesting, and gives a reason behind the rather sporadic instrumental work. The songs really do flow into each other well and all the sections do work together in harmony. I prefer their song structures on Colours to be honest, but Colours will always be my personal favourite of theirs, but after a first listen of this, I may be wrong.

I've heard that their is a follow up e.p. or album to this, and to be honest I can't wait, cause this really suprised me...as all of their releases do...damn tricky technical metalheads.

1. Specular Reflection - THE PROGGY ASTRAL ROLLERCOASTER. Very chaotic, yet their is a sense of orderliness about it. Full of never ending exciting twists and turns. You can hear a progression in Tommy's vocals, showing alot more experimental moments...making their future releases really interesting to hear what he will do more with his vocals. Great chorus. 10/10

2. Augment Of Rebirth - THE CHAOTIC SPORADIC MOMENT - Probabbly my favourite song on the ep. Again very chaotic with alot of mood and tempo changes. Great lyrics. The technical ability is flawless and pheonomonal. I love the dark and atmospheric ending. 10/10

3. Lunar Wilderness - THE CALM BEFORE THE DARK STORM - Starts off very calm and turns into a dark beast of a song. Again very chaotic, and quite beautiful in an odd and sick way. 10/10

CONCLUSION: It's just perfect really, and for a first listen...this doesn't happen alot to albums I listen to.

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Send comments to arcane-beautiful (BETA) | Report this review (#463401)
Posted Friday, June 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars North Carolina's Between the Buried and Me have been on quite a bit of a hot streak lately, releasing a long line of successful albums over the last few years. 2007's Colors and 2009's The Great Misdirect are particularly well regarded in the prog and metal communities - and with good reason. Both albums are shining examples that progressive metal and metalcore can work together productively, and have frequently been regarded as masterpieces by fans of either genre. With The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues, the band's latest EP and first outing on Metal Blade Records, they've begun an ambitious concept, to which this EP serves as part one. The concept here deals with two humans that are separated by several million light years, and how they both face similar issues in their life that they must resolve. It'll be interesting to hear how the band continues this intriguing concept with the next installment. As this 30-minute, three-song EP currently stands, it's yet another fantastic release in Between the Buried and Me's already excellent discography, and an essential purchase to all fans of the band. Although not quite as great as their previous full-lengths (in my opinion, at least), The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues is a more-than-worthy EP to add to your collection. These guys simply show no sign of slowing down, and it'll definitely be interesting to hear how they follow this one up!

The music on The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues is unquestionably Between the Buried and Me's distinct blend of metalcore and progressive metal, but possibly a bit more brutal and eclectic than their previous album. There seems to be a large focus on dissonance on this EP - something present on the band's previous efforts, but not quite as prominent as it is here. Melodic sections and quirky instrumentals do creep up quite a bit, though, and keep the music from ever growing stale. Compositionally, the album is extremely strong, and features some of the band's finest material to date. The first track, "Specular Reflection", opens up The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues in full form. This epic, 11 and a half minute opus highlights Between the Buried and Me's more dissonant side, while also showcasing melodic sections with clean vocals as well as a very progressive song structure. "Augment of Rebirth" is a bit more of a heavy track, sporting plenty of brutal technicalities and harsh vocals. A few weird, almost circus-sounding sections also present here - "eclectic" is a fair word to describe this track, I guess. "Lunar Wilderness", while still quite heavy in parts, is the softest song on the EP. Plenty of beautiful melodies and warm arrangements make this an excellent closing track.

Of course, as we're used to from Between the Buried and Me, the musicianship is professional and spectacular across the board. These guys are technical behemoths, so certainly no complaints are warranted in that department. I do have an issue with how The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues is produced, however. It's mixed way too loudly and sounds quite sterile and lifeless, especially during the heavier sections. It really lacks warmth and depth, if you ask me.

Despite my complaint regarding the production, The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues is overall a very successful effort from Between the Buried and Me. This isn't the best entry point into their discography, but it's an exceptional EP that serves as an essential purchase to all established fans of the band. 4 stars are very well deserved here. If super-technical, super-brutal, super-complex, and super-original progressive extreme metal is what you're looking for, then I can't recommend this one highly enough. Between the Buried and Me are considered one of the forerunners of modern metal, and this EP is even more proof that they've wholeheartedly earned that title!

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#488081)
Posted Thursday, July 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars You could call BTBaM 'Prog for people with limited attention spans', or else 'ADHD Prog'. The onslaught of riffs, melodies and genre changes that happens over the course of each minute is simply dazzling. In other words, this is the perfect band for today's public, a roller coaster of action and relentless excitement. And well, how good it is!

This 30 minute EP is supposed to be the first part of a larger concept. If you'd wander whether their growing popularity would go pop or commercial, you can rest assured, Between the Buried and Me are all set to remain īthe ultimate Progressive Metalcore experience. And progressive they go, especially in the opening track ...

A strong EP that has more to offer then many full-length albums this year.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#578928)
Posted Wednesday, November 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
2 stars I've always been of mixed opinion when it came to Between The Buried And Me. Some of their material on Colors really spoke to me while most of The Great Misdirect left me completely cold. The question was whether the band would be able to re-bounce and bring back the creativity of the past without overshooting it like they did on Alaska.

If you're looking for the return to greatness then I doubt that The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues is the best place to start. I've been listening to it for a few month now and I still can't say that I enjoy any of these compositions. There are definitely many moments of greatness embedded into these performances but that's pretty much everything I'm left with by the end of it. There band definitely doesn't cheat its audiences when it comes to instrumental prowess but without giving the compositions enough time to mature, thus making this EP feel and sound very unfocused.

I'm sure that there are layers upon layers of hidden treasures within these three lengthy compositions but I have neither the time nor interest to engage myself enough to see the complete picture of what is being painted here. Maybe I'm just getting more conservative with time since I clearly used to like Metalcore a whole lot more in the past. Or could it be that bands like Between The Buried And Me, Iwrestledabearonce, Dillinger Escape Plan, Protest The Hero and others are just not bringing anything new to the table? Either way, it's safe to say that The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues is just not doing it for me.

**** star songs: Augment Of Rebirth (10:19)

*** star songs: Specular Reflection (11:21) Lunar Wilderness (8:22)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#581985)
Posted Sunday, December 04, 2011 | Review Permalink
VanVanVan
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I am one of those people who firmly believe that Between the Buried and Me's album Colors is one of the finest metal albums ever made. With that in mind, I've followed the band fairly closely ever since I heard that album. Their follow-up album The Great Misdirect was also very good, but to me it seemed to be lacking a bit of the magic that Colors had.

Thus, I was very excited to hear this release to see if they'd be able to recapture the spark. Unfortunately, I don't think that's the case here. Colors was brilliant because, despite the incredible heaviness and technicality, it never felt cramped and all the compositions felt unique and memorable. While BtBaM has certainly not lost any of their ability here, the compositions feel far more generic and at times even needlessly busy. Of course, that's not to say the album is bad by any means. There's quite a bit to enjoy here, but I have to confess that I don't think The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues measures up to its predecessors.

"Specular Reflection" begins with an ominous orchestral section that makes use of piano, horns, strings, and even some gothic-style chanting. At about the one minute mark, however, BtBaM drops the introduction and comes out swinging, with their typical blend of brutal growls, technical riffing and staunch refusal to stick to one time signature fully on display. Shortly before the four minute mark the group pulls out another of their signature moves, introducing clean vocals for a surprisingly melodic section. At around five minutes they switch things up again, introducing a motif that makes use of tribal sounding percussion and long, droning notes to replace the earlier frenetic riffs. This theme is developed for a while, with the heaviness returning and eventually morphing back into the heavily riff-based structure. The track closes with another clean vocal section that slowly fades out in a wash of sound effects and electronic noise.

"Augment of Rebirth" begins with a frenetic shredding section that's highly reminiscent of the opening of Colors' "Ants of the Sky." Once the vocals come in, however, the heavy, technical riffs return and the song begins to sound very (almost disappointingly) similar to "Specular Reflection." In fact, there's not a great deal of variation in the track as a whole until a bizzaro polka section begins around 6 and a half minutes in. It's just the kind of weird, quirky section that has made previous BtBaM work sound so varied and eclectic, but here it feels a bit forced and it's used only very briefly before the track returns to the brutally heavy riffing with which it began. It closes out with another excellent clean vocal section that comes off dreamy and crushingly heavy simultaneously. In fact, the last minute of the song in general is amazing, with heaviness and melody being blended with a sophistication that has been found lacking in much of the rest of the track.

"Lunar Wilderness" begins with a psychedelic section led in turns by acoustic and electric guitar. It's a brilliant opening that transitions perfectly into a growled vocal section. From there the track goes into another series of uptempo riffing sections, but in my opinion they're more smoothly carried out than in either of the previous tracks. Again, the track concludes with a dreamily psychedelic clean-sung section, and overall "Lunar Wilderness" ends up being, in my opinion, the strongest of the three tracks here.

So, all in all, while The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues is far from a poor release, I found myself a bit disappointed while listening to it. All of the elements that made Colors and, to a lesser extent, The Great Misdirect so good are there, but to me it seems like some of the soul's been sucked out. The compositions here seems a bit too busy, as if the band took every decent idea they'd ever had and tried to cram it into a mere 30 minutes. When it works, it works spectacularly, but more often than not, it just sounds kind of cluttered. If you're specifically looking for as much heaviness and technicality as possible, this might do more for you than it did for me, but overall I think one would be much better served with either of the band's previous two releases.

3/5

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Send comments to VanVanVan (BETA) | Report this review (#745428)
Posted Friday, April 27, 2012 | Review Permalink

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