Between the Buried and Me have again managed to warp all preconceived notions of the metal genre with their new EP The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues. The word ‘progressive’ comes to mind when first listening to this album, but categorizing the EP as progressive metal couldn’t be further from the truth. The three-song, 30-minute long EP displays BTBAM’s ability to move seamlessly through different musical genres, all the while making each of them their own.
In contrast to their last release The Great Misdirect, Hypersleep Dialogues brings back the classic heavy sound BTBAM grew famous for in earlier works like their self-titled EP and Alaska. Critics of the last album complained that the quintet were ‘going soft’ with their more progressive and lighter approach to songwriting – upon listening to this EP all such allegations are immediately shot down.
The album begins with an eerie orchestrated entrance that sounds like it belongs in an old-fashioned movie theatre – almost something one would expect from Devin Townsend. Within seconds we are thrust directly into the fury that is BTBAM, complete with melodic undertones and abrasive power chords.
As in Colors, Hypersleep Dialogues was masterfully crafted to switch back and forth from the testosterone-fueled blast-beats to the slower, more melodic parts of songs in a seamless manner, so as not to sound choppy or misplaced. Any avid BTBAM fan will be able to pinpoint parts of songs that are heavily influenced by ‘Swim to the Moon,’ ‘White Walls,’ ‘Ants of the Sky’ and ‘Informal Gluttony.’
And if you thought that BTBAM had already integrated every musical genre under the sun into their music, think again. In Hypersleep Dialogues there are parts that, if isolated, would make you think you were listening to a black metal band from Norway’s church-burning peak. At other points the listener is transported through a gypsy world in which mass confusion, chaos and magic are transparently portrayed between metal breakdowns. Their love of classical music and auxiliary percussion is prominently displayed in all three songs, with slow sections that will leave you feeling refreshed and vitalized.
It’s almost impossible to overlook the influence their older material – specifically Colors and The Great Misdirect – has had on their songwriting in this EP, though this is nothing out of the ordinary for BTBAM. After all, Alaska had similar sounding songs to The Silent Circus, and The Great Misdirect took breakdowns and chord progressions directly from Colors and warped them slightly to change the sound. Hypersleep Dialogues is only different in that the influences are more obvious.
It’s better to think of The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues as a supplement to BTBAM’s last two albums rather than a follow-up. It’s not extremely fresh, but it’s sure to rock your face off. If anything, Hypersleep Dialogues will turn you into an insomniac for a couple of days from listening to the EP repeatedly. The Between the Buried and Me boys have again released music that is true to their sound and origin, along with incorporating some new material. Judging by the sound of their supplemental EP, we’ll all hopefully be blown away by their next album.