Between the Buried and Me

The Parallax II: Future Sequence

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Between the Buried and Me's 2007 album, Colors, marked a departure for the band from the expansive technical death metal of its earlier career into more progressive rock-influenced territory. Released in 2009, The Great Misdirect refined BTBAM's new approach, and their split from Victory Records that year afforded them the freedom to further push the limits of progressive death metal. The companion piece to last year's The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues, The Parallax II: Future Sequence is the slickest and best-paced of their latter-era releases -- and at over 70 minutes in length, the sugary-sweet choruses and serene jazz-rock interludes are necessary to break up the relentless energy of tracks like "Astral Body." Conscious of making the record flow more seamlessly, The Parallax II begins with "Goodbye to Everything," a short intro piece on acoustic guitar that sees frontman Tommy Rogers sing a layered melody so sickly sweet it could almost be lifted from a fun. record, while interludes like "Autumn" and "Parallax," as well as the "Goodbye to Everything Reprise" outro, proceed along similar lines. The meat of the album is closer to what we've come to expect from the North Carolina five-piece -- ten-plus-minute death metal epics, of which "Melting City" and the sci-fi-themed "Extremophile Elite" are the picks. Rogers' guttural growls sound more menacing than ever, and what the album lacks in originality it makes up for with feverishly inventive riffs and melodies, making The Parallax II: Future Sequence the band's most inspired release since Alaska.

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