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Album Review: TBA

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Album Review: Between The Buried And Me - The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues

Here I am staring at the album cover of Between The Buried And Me's latest album, 'The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues', struggling to come to terms with an image of what looks like a discombobulated, dissected drosophila. It's grotesque and yet, at the same time, strangely beautiful. In a way, it perfectly portrays the multi-layered tones and hues found within - both disturbingly monstrous and jaw-droppingly gorgeous in turns. Like metamorphosing pupae, wrapped in their glistening cocoons, you'll hear each of the tracks build from small beginnings to emerge in sequential bursts of colour. It seems a difficult task to expect them to top 2009's stunning 'The Great Misdirect', but early signs show that they may just have produced a fine companion for it.

First thing that needs pointing out is that this is dense, hugely progressive metal so don't expect an easy ride. Listening closely to the way each layer infects the layer beneath, it gives the listener the strange impression that they're riding a lift up through levels of deep-lying strata to reach the surface where each one of the three tracks reveals itself. 'Specular Reflection' comes at you with fists-flailing before it pauses to deliver the most sublime of chiming stringed arpeggios. It'll get jazzy on you, then funky. The shifting patterns will take you stumbling across a padding rhythm and overlapping melodiously-hooked vocal that manage to lift the whole track to another level. 'Augment Of Rebirth', sounding like some almighty battle between The Faceless and Protest The Hero, wheedles then hammers, chips then gouges, rips up a deathly vocal and scatters it over staccato stickwork that will end up muddling the senses to a point when you'll find yourself locked out of your own thoughts. The descent into madness is complete when they break out the cleans to go with the circus oompah. Mental, beyond belief. Finally, the contrasting warmth of 'Lunar Wilderness' gives way to raging violence in the end but still offers more in the way of accessibility than its brothers with plenty of sick, then harmonious vocals and groovy, walking bass. Hell, there's even a large wodge of chunky headbanging in there somewhere.

'...Hypersleep Dialogues' is sprawling, yet organic and, at times, BTBAM surprisingly generate the kind of ambience that only bands like Dream Theater and Nine Inch Nails can produce. In a word, it's just epic. Yet, despite all this, it's not as memorable as I'd hoped it would be. Like an expensive meal, featuring a multitude of interesting taste sensations, not every one of those flavours sticks in the memory. The album is something of a sonic bombardment and, as such, it takes multiple plays before the entire construction can fully be appreciated. On top of this - three songs, thirty minutes? When did bands start becoming so stingy with their albums' running times? There's been no end of, mainly American, releases of this length that have started popping up recently. Does half-an-hour mean it's an EP or an LP? I've certainly seen longer EPs than this. It does seem to be an odd trait that leaves one feeling somewhat swindled in the long run. Here, of course, this represents part one of a two-part concept and that already makes it feel like half an album. When you combine this thought with the fact there is no option of the quick hit, it's easy to say the band have failed to surpass their best work. If, however, you believe in quality over quantity, then you may find plenty to like about this and already be salivating over their next release.

Also online @ MTUK = http://www.metalteamuk.net/may11reviews/cdreviews-btbam.htm

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