Release Date: Oct 9, 2012
Record label: Metal Blade
Between the Buried and Me's 2007 album, Colors, marked a departure for the band from the expansive technical death metal of its earlier career into more progressive rock-influenced territory. Released in 2009, The Great Misdirect refined BTBAM's new approach, and their split from Victory Records that year afforded them the freedom to further push the limits of progressive death metal. The companion piece to last year's The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues, The Parallax II: Future Sequence is the slickest and best-paced of their latter-era releases -- and at over 70 minutes in length, the sugary-sweet choruses and serene jazz-rock interludes are necessary to break up the relentless energy of tracks like "Astral Body.
With this, the full-length follow-up to its 2011 EP, The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues, the North Carolina progressive-metal quintet crafts a 72-minute concept album that includes some of its freshest material yet, but also some of its dullest. “Lay Your Ghosts to Rest” is an epic piece that showcases the band’s trademark sonic diversity, and concludes with an unforgettable outro. Nevertheless, much of the heavy material on the album sounds like a less-than-inspired rehash of the group’s previous work.
Many have accused prog for being the genre equivalent of a Catholic wedding: it just goes on and on without any end in sight. Tell a prog fan that a seven minute song is long and she’d probably laugh at you. Between Dream Theater’s “Octavarium” and anything in Neal Morse has ever written, the mean length of a given song on her iPod is probably somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes.
You know what you're getting into when you buy (download, stream or whatever your preferred method of listening is) a Between the Buried and Me album. Which is to say, you really don't know at all. The versatile group have been shredding metal's conventions for 12 years, and their abandonment of expectations only grows as they do. The Parallax II: Future Sequence — a mouthful of a name for an earful of an album — continues this trend.