Ya'll gone get mad
MOST DISAPPOINTING ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Between the Buried and Me - The Parallax II: Future Sequence
The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues was up there with my favorite BTBAM releases and progressive releases of the new last 10 years. It seemed like BTBAM had really secured their sound, combining progressive rock, death metal, technical prowess and tons else to make some of the most interesting metal in a while. It also showed vast improvement in the song-writing department. Not once on the album did it feel like they were thinking “okay, heavy part, soft part, proggy part, heavy part, solos, break, soft part, crescendo, and ba boom”. That of course is hyberbole, but it did feel that way at moments on their 2009 LP, The Great Misdirect. On Hypersleep Dialogues, everything felt cohesive and blended well together to make an awesome progressive metal smoothie. And on top of all of that, they introduced a story for a two-part concept album. So with all these exciting things, I was extremely excited for the follow up, The Parallax II: Future Sequence. But after repeated listens, I was pretty disappointed with what they had come up with.
Let me start this off with saying that Future Sequence isn’t a terrible record. It definitely has its good moments. At first, I loved it, because I was blinded by a bad case of fanboy. When I heard Telos, I was pumped to hear them getting brutally heavy again, but it also felt chopped and pasted like some of the material on TGM. They start the song heavy, die down into a calm part, then heavy part ending with prog stuff. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it wasn’t nearly as strong as anything on Hypersleep. Then I got the album, and I went through initial fanboy reaction to everything good about the record. Astral Body sounded really bright and hopeful while still having the screamed vocals. They had a throw back to Specular Refection on Extremophile Elite. There were a lot of cool new sounds like what we hear on Goodbye to Everything, The Black Box, and Bloom. And on top of that, this is the record Tommy Rogers sounds most confident with his clean vocals, and really makes ‘em shine. His keyboard playing too. And the rest of the band is in tiptop shape. But there are quite a few things I can’t get behind.
It seems BTBAM have taken into account all the recent progcore bands they’ve influenced and borrowed from them… You have way more chugga-chugga crap since this line-up has been established on the record. It’s not everywhere, but it’s there. Not to mention that it feels as if they’re trying a little hard to remind that they’re a progressive band, with all the wank on the album, like the intro to Astral Body, the end of the album, and other moments. As I mentioned I earlier, it also seems that they’ve lost their touch with combining all elements of BTBAM into one passage. You either have a heavy section, soft section, or circus prog time. There are also a lot of stupid, short quirky moments, like the two seconds of surf rock on Lay Your Ghost To Rests, the stupid tuba/marimba/violin thing on Extreophile Elite. And a lot of it seems kind of half-assed, like many of the recent progcore bands. It seems that most of these songs are made of single passages they wrote and then put together like a puzzle to see what best complimented what, as opposed to writing songs that feel like one cohesive piece. There are many times a song feels like it could end, but it doesn’t, and that makes it drag. And it doesn't help that the record is already 72 minutes long.
While there were a few other albums I thought were fairly disappointing due to lack of innovation, I found this to be a disappointment because I feel it’s a step down from their previous work. I understand this isn’t the popular opinion, but that’s my take on this album.