88.1 WKNC’s Pick of the Week 4/6
Time has seen this band shift from a pure metalcore band into prog-metal masters. Every album of theirs has shown a shift and change in not only the band’s talent, but also in their songwriting skills. This EP, while it only contains three songs, holds a wealth of material contained in them.
From beginning to end, he Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues will take more twists and turns that 24 does in an entire season. What truly sets this album apart from the band’s previous endeavors, however, is the seamless blending of past and present elements.
We get a sense of what is to come from the start of the record as Thomas Giles ominously plays his keyboards, as if he were summoning the ferocious beast Godzilla from the depths of the ocean for “Specular Reflection.” Just as the piano crescendos into a climax, the guitars and drums kick in, pummeling you with frantic riffs and erratic blast beats.
All throughout this barrage, Giles’s vocals berate us with a harshness seen in many death metal bands. As he screams his heart out, the guitars take a gradual change from intense pummeling to a firm massaging, blending intricately with the harshness of the vocals, before breaking down completely into a serene progressive interlude.
Giles’s vocals adapt to this change as his vocals take on an ethereal aspect, seeming to float over the air, as guitars hold a sustain over a constant drum beat, that slowly builds up into a melody that would make Muse jealous.
Seamlessly transitioning from the first song, “Augment of Rebirth” sweep picks its way into BTBAM history as being quite possibly the heaviest song the band has ever written. Constant stop-go guitar riffs litter the song from beginning to end, as keyboards seem to sneak in ever so slightly, intertwining themselves with the riffs and gutteral vocals.
Seeming to draw inspiration from The Dillinger Escape Plan with regards to insanity, the band constantly switches between intense fast playing and heavy breakdowns that seem to beat into your very soul.
But true to BTBAM style, they refuse to stay constant as they inject a polka interlude reminiscent of the bards of old as they entertained kings, before merging into a polka metal fusion blasting its way through your speakers.
In what could be my favorite song written by the band, “Lunar Wilderness” encapsulates everything that makes BTBAM, well, BTBAM.
It starts off beautiful and chill before suddenly kicking in with harsh vocals and catchy guitar riff that sticks with you for the rest of the day. The vocals take on a dual aspect as they shift between gorgeous clean vocals and harsh yelling.
Known mostly for their intricacies in guitar work, the band spares no expense as they unleash solo after solo, sometimes undercutting the vocals and creating a vacuum of intensity. Suddenly, as if the heavens decided to part and spare us from this destruction, the song drops into a peaceful ending interlude, letting the listener down from the chaos.
Combining all these songs together into one long, conceptual piece, these North Carolinians show they can fuse the beauty with the brutal and the calm with the chaotic, forming a tornado that will sweep you off your feet before putting you back down.