They Say :- The next step in BTBAM’s musical journey involves a new label home in Metal Blade Records and another trek into boundary and genre defying song-writing that is their new album, The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues.
The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues serves as the first installment of a two-part story. Hypersleep introduces two human characters who live in different planes of existence, separated by millions of light years. We find that each of them is confronted with similar personal issues that they need to reckon with. Both characters make decisions that will change their lives, and perhaps the course of the universe, forever. The follow up album will pick up the story with our two main characters, with the help of near light speed travel, meeting each other and realizing together their purpose in the universe.
Musically, of course, it sounds like Between the Buried and Me. Hypersleep has elements of aggression, beauty, quirkiness, and pure cacophony. Vocalist Tommy Rogers adds, “For Hypersleep, we establish several themes which I’m sure will be revisited in the next album, which is something we really look forward to. We love to expand on simple ideas and see where they take us.”
We Say :- Have you noticed that most of the reviews of North Carolina quintet BTBAM almost, to a scribe, deal with the following two issues: 1) this is a difficult band to pigeon hole (as if pigeon-holing was a key objective of any music review) and 2) how “clever” they are (guys, we know rock music is dumb but it doesn’t need to be stupid- lets face it, Van Halen are the smartest dumb band of all time).
I’d rather try and write about what it sounds like and whether I like it or not, if that’s ok with you. Thanks.
The Hypersleep Dialogues is scheduled as the first of as two part suite (hello, is that Rush fans’ ears I can hear collectively pricking up?) with a more substantial second part due for landing in 2012. So what do we get with these three tracks? Before you lot all start going “stop gap EP” let’s deal with a fact- this three track is longer than Slayer‘s classic “Reign in Blood”. It may be three tracks but within this work there are so many ideas, so much creativity and so much chutzpah going on, that it almost feels like a double album from a 1970s prog supergroup. With a side order of brutality and a seasoning of ferociousness, obviously.
There are a spectacular number of musical ideas at play here; on Augment of Rebirth for example, there are some extraordinary blast beats, weird yet hypnotic time changes, exemplary guitar soloing and, naturally, Tommy Roger’s voice which runs the gamut of emotion and passion like never before. On Lunar Wilderness, the most introspective track here, you get a much more straightforward (if that’s possible with BTBAM) exposition- its the sound of a band completely at ease with themselves, both in their technical prowess and aesthetic.
Despite this, Hypersleep does feel like the first episode of a wider, bigger piece yet to arrive: I want more. It’s not dissimilar in this sense to Back to the Future Part Two– loads of stuff going on: some of it brilliant, some of it bewildering, some of it barking mad. You leave, like Marty McFly, wondering just how this all works- and eager to find out. Don’t get me wrong, The Hypersleep Dialogues loses none of the band’s inherent aggression or brutality; for the most part, they’ve managed to harness it whilst indulging in a myriad of musical ideas, many of which work brilliantly. As an exercise for a band in “what can we do next?” it’s a pretty superlative experiment. As the soundtrack to your summer? I suspect you’ll be reaching for something else first. Roll on 2012 then.