The 25 Best Metal Albums of 2010 – 2019, #16: Between the Buried and Me, The Parallax II: Future Sequence
MetalSucks recently polled nearly 180 prominent metal musicians and industry insiders to determine The 25 Best Metal Albums of 2010 – 2019! (You can read all about the voters and the methodology behind the poll here.) Over the next few weeks, we’ll be counting down the entire list, one entry per day.
The countdown continues today with The Parallax II: Future Sequence (Metal Blade Records), the 2012 release by Between the Buried and Me!
Between the Buried and Me released five albums between 2010 and 2019, the years eligible for this poll. Why, then, did our panel of nearly 200 voters select The Parallax II: Future Sequence, the band’s 2012 entry, above the other four? They’re the second such band in our countdown to present such a conundrum.
It’s not as if there are any obvious clunkers in the bunch; Between the Buried and Me always deliver a quality product. On top of that, given that five albums is the most any band on this list released in the past decade, it’s impressive that Between the Buried and Me’s own albums didn’t cannibalize each other to the point none of them made the cut! What I’m saying is that it’s no coincidence Parallax II ended up here over the band’s four other ’10s releases.
My best guess as to why comes down to timing. Parallax II came out a full year and a half after Parallax I despite being part of the same conceptual story arc. What I’m referring to as Parallax I — full, proper name The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues — is technically classified as an EP, and while its total running time clocks beyond the 30 minute mark, that’s short by BTBAM standards and only consists of three songs, perhaps leaving diehards craving more. Beyond that, I think a large cadre of BTBAM fans were slightly disappointed in The Great Misdirect, which came out in 2009. That was a fantastic album, in my opinion, but coming after Colors — which many consider to be the band’s masterwork — anything was gonna be a disappointment. See where I’m going with this yet? By the time Parallax II came out it had been more than five years since Colors, and fans were amped for a true, full-length BTBAM album to sink their teeth into.
And indeed, Parallax II has everything that any Between the Buried and Me fan could want, all together in a 72-minute adventure comprised of 12 tracks. “Telos,” only the album’s fourth-longest song with a 9:45 running time, is perhaps the perfect microcosm of the record as a whole, combining the heaviness of the band’s early years with both the extended prog breaks and spaced-out psychedelic sections that have become hallmarks of their later work. In true Between the Buried and Me form, the band effortlessly weaves the myriad parts of the song together into a cohesive narrative that tells a story, not just lyrically (it’s part of a concept album, after all) but musically, a carefully constructed journey that reminds us why we were all so drawn to this band in the first place.
I’d argue that any of BTBAM’s eligible releases are worthy of inclusion on this list and that Parallax II fits just as well here as the others would’ve. Really, I’m just happy to see Between the Buried and Me represented no matter the release, as they will undoubtedly go down in metal history as one of the most important bands of this era.
The 25 Best Metal Albums of 2010 – 2019:
#25: Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas, Mariner (2016)
#24: Triptykon, Eparistera Daimones (2010)
#23: Pig Destroyer, Book Burner (2012)
#22: Yob, Clearing the Path to Ascend (2014)
#21: The Black Dahlia Murder, Ritual (2011)
#20: Mastodon, Once More ‘Round the Sun (2014)
#19: At the Gates, At War with Reality (2012)
#18: Meshuggah, Koloss (2012)
#17: Gorguts, Colored Sands (2012)