To call Between the Buried and Me an incredible band in my eyes would not do them justice. In 2007, they released a little album called Colors, which totally changed my 16 year old self’s taste in music forever. It single-handedly got me into progressive music, and that mindset of being different permeates everything I listen to today. However, their album after that. Now, five years and an album and an EP later, we arrive at their first concept album: The Parallax II: Future Sequence. Picking up where last year’s EP The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues left off, it features the characters from that EP on a mission to save their worlds no matter what.
And to call this album a triumph would do the band injustice.
Putting in the record, you’ll hear this very soft intro, with Paul Waggoner trading in his lead guitar for an acoustic one, with vocalist Tommy Rogers playing his synthesizer, singing about this journey that the characters are going to undertake, ending on a striking message that repeats through the record: “Goodbye to Everything”. It then proceeds to the most uplifting sounding song I’ve ever heard the band write: “Astral Body”. “Lay Your Ghosts to Rest” features some of the best individual parts of the entire album (DE-DE-DE-DE-DE-DE-DEAD). “Extremophile Elite” ties into the EP in a very cool way. “The Black Box” makes previously released song “Telos” seem that much more powerful. In one of the most “Colors-era” song moments of the album, “Bloom” brings about a surf metal vibe that sounds rad. Then we get to the last three tracks, or the action sequence of the album: “Melting City”, “Silent Flight Parliament”, and “Goodbye to Everything Reprise”. And once you get to the end of “Silent Flight Parliament”, you’ll be hit in a spot you never expected to be hit in a BTBAM record. The album ends on the exact same note it started on: “Goodbye to Everything”. It’s incredibly striking.
It is the band’s most complete body of work in that it’s largely devoid of the random sections of genres that made up Colors and The Great Misdirect. Any shifts there are make sense in the songs, so you won’t be finding yourself moshing then square dancing all of a sudden. This is something that the band has sorely needed: musical direction. It’s here. Everything is here to make sense. The highs on the record are absolute highs. The dramatic parts fit that role of being dramatic. It’s all in the details: the small notes in the background make all the difference in the world. The small pieces of flair here and there make a big difference. Every note on this album is there for a reason, and that’s not something I’ve normally attributed to BTBAM.
This is the first album I’ve listened to in years that has given me goosebumps. I haven’t had that happen to me in such a long time. Thank you, BTBAM, for still writing some of the best technically proficient records of all time and showing all of the pretenders how it is done.