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01. Goodbye to Everything
02. Astral Body
03. Lay Your Ghosts to Rest
05. Extremophile Elite
07. The Black Box
10. Melting City
11. Silent Flight Parliament
12. Goodbye to Everything Reprise
Between The Buried And Me put out a landmark release in 2005 with Alaska. Their first album with the lineup that has held steady to this point, it was a jaunt, progressive metal album that only seemed like a distant possibility given their two previous releases, their self-titled debut and The Silent Circus. Colors was and still is their masterpiece, an hour-long track divided into eight tracks that was the turning point of their career. The Parallax II: Future Sequence won't be a mystery to those who have followed the band since Alaska, but it still finds a way to be engrossing and rich in detail that warrants at least a dozen play-throughs to achieve critical mass.
Building off the story started with last year's The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues EP, The Parallax II: Future Sequence is a 70-plus minute trek through millions of light years and the destruction of humanity. It's a concept album that has more value with its lyrics on hand, though one doesn't need to engulf themselves in backstory to enjoy the album. It's simply a nice bonus for those that like to dig deeper into their music.
"I wonder if I'm alive" is the first line on The Parallax II: Future Sequence crooned by vocalist/keyboardist Tommy Rogers, who has transformed over the years into a top-tier vocalist. His harsh screams bite with the viciousness of a Rottweiler while his eccentric clean tones bask in wonderment and poise. He gets plenty of chances to use both, though he really stands out on the quirky "Bloom," where he gets caught in the wake of a surf rock breakdown that sounds like a coked-up Beach Boys.
The album moves its way through twisting modern prog and brief interludes that tie the space between tracks together. It's a formula that is fit for a whole album; when split up individually, the electronic noise of "Autumn" and the low-key "The Black Box" don't hold up as well. Those looking for the next "Swim To The Moon" or "White Walls" will be left in awe at the 15-minute "Silent Flight Parliament," which generously employs the calmer dynamics that BTBAM has improved upon with each successive album.
These guys are superb musicians, and that was never in question before The Parallax II: Future Sequence, and it still isn't after one listen. Jamie King returns as producer, and he yet again gets the best sound out of the band. Of special note is the best guitar solo John Petrucci never wrote in the closer "Goodbye To Everything Reprise," in addition to bassist Dan Briggs' total domination of his instrument on every single song.
Just when we all think we know what Between The Buried And Me is gearing up for, they pull out a few new tricks. The Parallax II: Future Sequence has many of the characteristics of past albums, but feels more natural than some of the more forced melodic sections heard previously. The band is comfortable in this prog metal field, while making sure not to abandon the more death metal-centric side of earlier records. The Parallax II: Future Sequence won't win back the old fans who were dumbstruck by Colors, but the fan base that has grown steadily since that time will accept The Parallax II: Future Sequence as a terrific addition to Between The Buried And Me's catalog.
Bottom Line: Between The Buried And Me further positions themselves as one of the best progressive metal acts today with the exhilarating The Parallax II: Future Sequence.
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