For Fans Of
If there’s one thing you can be sure of, it’s that when you pick up a Between the Buried and Me release you’ll get bang for your buck. While only three tracks long, their EP, The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues, still weighs in at an astounding thirty minutes – the goods are jammed in there alright, compact like corned beef. It’s been some time since their last full-length, The Great Misdirect, and while their next record is still in the ether, this bite-sized taste will act as a prelude of greater things to come with The Parallax being a planned two-part album suite.
All I know, for certain, is that it’s great to hear some new BTBAM. They work hard at their trade, and it shows with each release. While I maintain Colors is their greatest achievement to date, if Hypersleep Dialogues is any indication – we might be in for quite the ride with their next full-length, but this EP doesn’t quite sate my need for a BTBAM epic.
The guys don’t really fly off the handle as they did with Colors, but diversity remains the group’s strong suit. While it doesn’t feel as though they put their capabilities to the test, like previous outings have demanded, they still drift seamless between brutality and beauty. The EP, to me, did have an overall feel to it that called to mind The Great Misdirect, and with two songs exceeding the ten minute mark, the songs do tend to lose their way at points. But in typical BTBAM fashion, they do recover and manage to redeem the flatter sections.
“Specular Reflection” opens the Hypersleep Dialogues and you get an immediate sense of the bizarre. It’s almost something you’d expect Darth Vader to chill out to, as the rattling of low end piano and haunting choir chants speak volumes of what is to come. This song crams everything BTBAM are known for into eleven minutes, almost to the point of delirium. Tommy Rogers showcases his effortless transformation from growler to choir boy in a number of obscurely placed bridges. If I may borrow from a nursery rhyme, this bowl of BTBAM seemed a touch too hot.
As expected, not even a second of rest can be afforded as “Specular Reflection” ends, “Augment of Rebirth” begins. Almost as if stripped straight from “Ants of the Sky” from Colors, guitarist Paul Waggoner dives into a helping of what he does best – get the man a broom, cause he sweeps the shit out of this intro. Sadly, the fun ceased to be for about five minutes as BTBAM kind of lost their way, recovering with about four minutes to spare as they leapt into a characteristic ‘bop section’ – all that was missing was the jug player. Returning to my earlier metaphor, “Augment of Rebirth” went missing throughout the middle minutes and, so, is cold.
“Lunar Wilderness” concludes the EP, and is undoubtedly the best track on Hypersleep Dialogues. Each member shines at some point during the final track, which is the shortest of the disc at eight and a bit minutes.
Dan Briggs takes the spotlight first, as Waggoner and Waring take it down a notch, stomping their sound to clean to open proceedings. It’s almost “Viridian” like in how he weaves through the bars, complimenting the guitar work perfectly, not over doing it to steal focus. He’s a very modest bassist, and his work constantly drifts below the radar as a result. Blake Richardson is a monster in this final track, too. His blast work and fills act as proof that he is worthy of upper echelon status in the field of drumming – the man can work a kit. In the scheme of things, this bowl was just right, and ended things on a really good note.
Even if this EP’s only purpose is to keep the group’s name out there, and expand their library for live shows, there is enough here to perhaps hold over the average BTBAM fan. Hypersleep Dialogues may be a big tease to a guy like me, but it acts as a vessel for their standard brilliance; though at times, it does fall flat, particularly the beginning of “Augment of Rebirth”. As far as being a sign of things to come, I just hope the guys don’t keep us fans waiting too long before the next taste.
1. Specular Reflection
2. Augment of Rebirth
3. Lunar Wilderness