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Between The Buried And Me - "The Parallax II: Future Sequence" (CD)

Between The Buried And Me - "The Parallax II: Future Sequence" CD cover image

"The Parallax II: Future Sequence" track listing:

1. Goodbye to Everything
2. Astral Body
3. Lay Your Ghosts to Rest
4. Autumn
5. Extremeophile Elite
6. Parallax
7. The Black Box
8. Telos
9. Bloom
10. Melting City
11. Silent Flight Parliament
12. Goodbye to Everything Reprise

Reviewed by on December 11, 2012

"'Parallax II' engages the audience in the way that a good fantasy novel does."

It’s evident from the very first note of “Parallax II” that this is not an ordinary album: it’s a rock opera that weaves a tale, and has many influences from classical music structures that are definitely a change from any metal album I’ve heard.

The album begins with an acoustic guitar and a clean chorus of vocals, even some chimes, in an uncharacteristically sweet sound with “Goodbye to Everything,” an exposition of the story about to take place. This intro blends into the much more characteristic extreme and dark guitars of “Astral Body.” But there is still a whimsy to it, coming from the nearly symphonic-style melody, and what I think are very low volume glockenspiel notes hidden in the mix to add a lightness to it.

Sporadic vocals are added by Tommy Rogers as he growls a few lines, remains silent, and then cleanly sings a few echoing bars, but the focus is definitely on the guitars by Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring. They furiously scale up and down the instrument at a speed that possibly only Herman Lee of Dragonforce could beat. “Lay Your Ghosts to Rest” is full of harsh screams and the guitars are not so flouncy until just less than a minute in when a very Renaissance breakdown ensues. The guitars bounce to a classical melody before the music fades into a few piano notes, and then comes back to a lamenting piece.

There is an unconventional use of keyboards, also by Tommy, with the very 1970s sci-fi intro to “Extremeophile Elite.” The namesake song of the album is an interlude song with ambient and echoey guitars and keys and some spoken words. A long piano introduces the next song “Black Box,” with clean and rock-operatic vocals when the guitars begin to play the melody too, along with keyboards. “Bloom” opens and it sounds like this is the beginning of the final action scene. It’s a keyboard playing a hectic and tense monotone melody, then some circus style guitar riffs and bass lines playing into a frenzy. I can’t reveal how the story ends, but there is a short symphony before the reprise.

The album is reminiscent of a Devin Townsend release in that the album is best enjoyed as one unit and tells an epic story throughout. “Parallax II” engages the audience in the way that a good fantasy novel does.

Highs: The symphonic structure is a fresh idea.

Lows: There was so much going at times that it was almost overwhelming.

Bottom line: A great concept and great listen.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)