Between the Buried and Me began their 'Parallax' journey with the 2011 EP 'The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues.' Although the EP was a great piece of music, the 30-minute runtime left a sense of urgency within BTBAM's sonically baptized fans, who have long since sewed the consecutive epics 'Colors' and 'The Great Misdirect' deep into their flesh. Fortunately, the EP now offers a great deal of context as a precursor to 'The Parallax II: Future Sequence,' as Between the Buried and Me have delivered yet another marathon masterpiece.

Clocking in at over 72-minutes (BTBAM's lengthiest offering to date), 'The Parallax II' is perhaps the band's most cohesive record yet, boasting experimental, trippy and progressive metal which revolves around a story set in outer space, alongside the album's central thesis, "Goodbye to everything."

Between the Buried and Me have already treated fans to two 'Parallax II' tracks, 'Astral Body' and 'Telos,' the latter of which guitarist Paul Waggoner described as "the meat" of the album in our recent interview with the axe-master. The two tracks offer a small peak into 'The Parallax II,' but with the unique and brain-scrambling progression offered by BTBAM, the two quality tracks barely scratch the surface of the album, which contains another hour of unpredictability.

Since BTBAM released their debut self-titled album in 2002, much fan adoration has been directed towards the ultra-technical instrumental side of the band. Between the Buried and Me boast some of metal's finest musicians, and despite the many talents of frontman Tommy Rogers, he never quite soared over the combined prowess of his bandmates. 'The Parallax II,' however, has redefined Rogers' role in BTBAM, as he delivers the most notable and spotlit vocal work of his career.

The most memorable fragments of Between the Buried and Me's discography have almost always been guitar-based. The dual attack of guitarists Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring has produced some of the most gigantic, alluring, addictive, beautiful and precise performances in modern metal since the band's 2005 album 'Alaska,' but in 'The Parallax II,' it's Tommy Rogers who blasts those characteristics into newly discovered dimensions of the cosmos.

Going back to our claim that this is BTBAM's "most cohesive record yet," when you compare 'The Parallax II: Future Sequence' to their previous conceptual efforts, 'Colors,' 'The Great Misdirect' and 'The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues,' the overall product is infinitely more focused. Between the Buried and Me still succeed in keeping things weird and unexpected, adding experimental aspects that could come from no other band, but 'The Parallax II' feels like a light-speed launch with a bit of turbulence, rather than the still-genius audio roller coaster that was 'Colors.'

'The Parallax II' is an incredibly challenging piece of Between the Buried and Me's catalogue, and won't allow any type of full comprehension without multiple listens. Due to the creative success BTBAM achieved in writing a record about outer space, you'll find yourself 'spacing out' to the most complex hypnotism you've ever encountered, but as the album begins to reveal its many nuances, understanding will begin to creep in, allowing for an incredibly rewarding listen. 'The Parallax II' is quintessentially brilliant, and is a contender for the best metal album of 2012; a case we'll surely be making as the year comes to an end.

'The Parallax II: Future Sequence' is available for purchase here, and be sure to enter our Between the Buried and Me 'Parallax II' prize pack giveaway!

5 Stars

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