The Parallax II: Future Sequence is the result of a much more mature Between the Buried and Me. But before I get into this album I should briefly discuss my background with BTBAM as a listener and fan.
I was never really a fan of BTBAM, because for a long time a steered clear of death metal or any low growl vocal bands for that matter. I stuck to my end of the spectrum in hardcore, metalcore and other metal/rock blends.
What initially got me into Between the Buried and Me was seeing them live twice. The first time I saw BTBAM I think was on the Cool Tour, with headliners As I Lay Dying back in 2010. It was either that or I was going to see the Cancer Bats and happened to see them as well. Either way, when I first saw them years ago I was blown away by the breadth of their musical style and the stage presence of Tommy Giles Rogers.
I thought to myself, “I really need to get around to checkin’ them out sometime.” Well I never really got around to giving BTBAM a good look. It wasn’t until after I saw them live a second time that I was implored to dig into the BTBAM universe. This was when my buddy and metal comrade, Shane Finerty and I went down to Tucson, AZ in November of 2011 to see Animals As Leaders with BTBAM as headliners.
On that note too, I really need to give Shane credit for getting me more into prog metal and the great low growl bands of today. If it wasn’t for Shane I wouldn’t be enjoying BTBAM. He is also responsible for introducing me to some of my favorite bands including He Is Legend and Periphery.
At the second Between The Buried And Me show, what resonated with me was that I remembered songs I had heard over a year earlier. The music seemed to stick with me and I recalled parts when seeing them again. (I now know this was primarily Mirrors and Obfuscation off of their album The Great Misdirect) Regardless, this normally doesn’t happen with me. I don’t recall music, live show to live show with over a year gap to a band I don’t listen to on record. I knew that it was time to give Between The Buried And Me a full listen.
It has now been almost a year and it is safe to say that BTBAM is one of my favorite “newly discovered” bands of 2012. I started with The Great Misdirect and moved backwards. Recently I’ve been digging into their EP The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues and the newest BTBAM full length album The Parallax II: Future Sequence.
Having not “grown up” with BTBAM in the traditional manner I feel very impartial, and at the time of this writing my favorite BTBAM song is still Obfuscation with the three tracks from Hypersleep Dialogues as close seconds. That being said, I believe the Parallax II represents their best and most mature body of work to date. I’m on about my 5th end-to-end listen with 3 out of 5 being through headphones.
There is more of a complete range of music on this album. From pure death metal sounds to prog metal rhythms and breakdowns, BTBAM provides much more breadth and musicality. As per usual, the songs are heavily infused with Jazz/Blues and Operatic elements. In addition, there are more diverse genres sprinkled in such as western, classical and surf rock. Also as you might have guessed from the album name and artwork, there are scientific fiction and fantasy elements to both the lyrics, synth sounds and effects used throughout the album.
Blake Richardson’s drums and Dan Briggs bass continue to carry the BTBAM sound, however I was really impressed by the guitars and vocals range on this album. Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring bring much more diversity to the table on this record. Like previous albums Tommy Giles Rogers is great, but he feels a little more intense, crisp and powerful on The Parallax II.
Although The Parallax II: Future Sequence is marked as a twelve (12) track 72 minute and 33 second record, it is much more like 5 full “BTBAM style” tracks with 3 shorter songs, matching intro and outro songs as well as 2 transition melodies.
The point that I am making with this is that even the album setup is more diverse. Its not just the classic BTBAM formula of eight 12 minute tracks with extreme ups and downs, all on one recorded song. This being said, you can still play the record end to end and have almost no clue when one song ends and another begins. It still blends superbly as a concept album.
Sounds perfect? Well here is the problem. There is nothing that stands out from the album to me. Also it feels as if Hypersleep Dialogues is a better, all be it shorter, album. Perhaps I haven’t listened to Future Sequence enough times to get more of what BTBAM is trying to do. Don’t get me wrong I like the album, just not sure if it completely hits the mark.
Overall The Parallax II: Future Sequence gets a 4 out of 5 stars.
Have you listened to The Parallax II: Future Sequence? Let me know what you think about it or my review in the comments section below.