Between The Buried And Me - The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues
Metal Blade
Progressive "Metalcore"
3 songs (30:20)
Release year: 2011
Between The Buried And Me, Metal Blade
Reviewed by Crash
Major event

I want to make it perfectly clear that I do actually enjoy Between the Buried and Me. Out of the entire “___-core” movement they were the only band that kept me coming back. Like many, I first heard of them with The Silent Circus and like many more I first actually took notice with Alaska which I remember being hailed as a modern classic by fans and magazines like Revolver. Looking back, it isn’t a very good record. Selkies is the only song that I listen to anymore because dat solo.

Then Colors came out. Once again the praise came back. FINE. I bought it and dared it to be good. To my surprise, it actually was. It still is. Outside of the last 10 minutes or so (great material, just too much material) the record was perfectly paced with their math metal mixed with some great songs within songs. With that record, Between the Buried and Me actually did something that their other records could not: Make me care about the mathcore.

Unfortunately, their follow up The Great Misdirect suffered from trying to do things that worked great in Colors. It was overblown with songs that were way too long with complete disregard to flow or songwriting.

Anyways, here I sit with apprehension towards Between the Buried and Me. They have turned into Schrodinger’s cat and until I listen to their album it will be in a constant state of awesome and terrible. So here is a thirty minute EP by the oh so prog name of The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues. If you wanna know what “parallax” or “hypersleep” mean you can find tons of stuff on Wikipedia. Knowing the band’s huge crush on the school jock Dream Theater (He’s 16 and has a car) I wonder if this is their answer to A Change of Seasons. Their influence appears as always and is at its best when used for their songwriting rather than their weird bits.

While all three songs are meant to be listened to in order from start to finish, I found myself falling into the same trap as The Great Misdirect. Between the Buried and Me’s music can be described as an “everything but the kitchen sink” frame of mind and it is too much to take on at once. While my first four or five full listens resulted in me being bored it is finally starting to come out of its shell.

Things start off with Specular Reflection. It kicks off at eleven minutes, which is now the average song length for a BTBAM record. Either way, it’s a good track. I am reminded a lot of things from The Great Misdirect that didn’t work there but sound good here. The math metal is still downright monotonous, but not boringly so. I simply tune out and focus on whatever I am doing. After a dozen listens I could repeat a lyric or a melody to you, but I’d listen to it again when I’m doing homework. Maybe that would make this good “background music”.

What really keeps me coming back to this band are the “crazy” moments. Each one is essentially an easter egg the band rewards the listener for making it through one of their songs. The Mike Patton influence is there sticking its head in whenever necessary. This is enough to keep the songs afloat. There is even a pretty nifty symphonic black metal bit in there which wouldn’t sound unfamiliar on a Sigh record. Augment of Rebirth has a good chunk of these moments so you find yourself rewinding tracks to see if you really just heard that. Yes you did. And it’s cool, but it is an unfortunate thing when the best parts of a record are parts that remind you of other bands. And there are tons here with Meshuggah and Cynic being milked a bit as well. That’s alright though. The band supply enough of their own influence (the good kind) to keep this from being a burden. The song ends on a good note. These clean moments all sound the same, but I still enjoy all of them.

Closing track Lunar Wilderness is probably the most well written and melodic of the three songs. Anyone that dug Selkies (Meaning anyone reading this who likes this band) will find the most to love here with the tech metal ditched in favor of mellow space rock. This I can get used to. And while it does inevitably turn into the records hundredth tech wank out it all resolves nicely in a very tranquil Traced in Air kind of way.

Now, it sounds like I’m bashing the record and I’m not trying to. I think that Between the Buried and Me need to focus on writing some good four and five minute songs before they try tackling any bigger ones. Colors was an experiment and it worked. Everything else in their catalogue has given me points of interest but an ultimately unfortunate aftertaste. This mini record is by no means great, but it is a nice travel size version of the band. Like Rhapsody’s Rain of A Thousand Flames or Sigh’s Ghastly Funeral Theater some ideas are best said bluntly.

So, there I have finally decided that if I had to choose between liking it or disliking it... I guess I say I like it. I have the same complaints and praises I would normally have, but the thirty minute context really serves the material better. That being said, will you like it? If you love all of the band’s material then this is obviously already in your catalogue. If you never cared for the band before, anything “core” about them is really gone. It sounds nothing like metalcore but I can think of no other word to call it but I still care the least about it in the music anyways. So if you were like me and dug Colors I’d check it out. I’m not promising anything, but at least you might have something to listen to while doing homework.

Killing Songs :
Lunar Wilderness
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Other albums by Between The Buried And Me that we have reviewed:
Between The Buried And Me - The Great Misdirect reviewed by James and quoted 78 / 100
Between The Buried And Me - Colors reviewed by James and quoted 91 / 100
Between The Buried And Me - Alaska reviewed by Jason and quoted 69 / 100
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