Between the Buried and Me’s 2012 concept album The Parallax II: Future Sequence is one of the band’s best albums to date. The follow-up to the band’s 2011 album The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues, it proved to also be one of the best new metal and hard rock albums of that year. Earlier this year, the members of BTBAM went into a studio in the band’s home state of North Carolina to record a live in-studio performance of The Parallax II: Future Sequence. The end result was the band’s new live recording Future Sequence: Live at the Fidelitorium. Future Sequence: Live at the Fidelitorium is not the first live recording from BTBAM. Regardless, it is still a great addition to the collection of any fan of this band. The central reason for the success of this new release is the very fact that it is a live recording that is live without actually being live in the traditional sense. Another reason for its success is the recording’s audio and video mix. It doesn’t leave audiences feel like they are just watching a band record in a studio space. And last but most definitely not least of all worth noting is the very fact that Metal Blade Records has presented this recording as a bundle pack with both Blu-ray disc and an audio portion only on separate CD. Of course that isn’t to take away from the recording’s bonus interviews with the band and the “Behind-the-Scenes feature. The interviews show just how much thought and planning went into the process of recording the presentation here. The Behind-the-Scenes featurette that accompanies the bonus interviews lets audiences follow the process of recording the performance, from the initial planning process to the final rehearsals before the actual recording began. These bonuses round out the whole thing, showing why this recording is a dark horse candidate for any critic’s year-end list of the year’s best new live recordings.
Future Sequence: Live at the Fidelitorium is, as noted, a dark horse candidate for a spot on any critic’s year-end list of the best new live recordings. The main reason for that is that the members of BTBAM have crafted in this recording a presentation that is live without being live in the traditional sense of the term. It is a live in-studio recording rather than being a live recording in front of thousands of fans. Bassist and founding member Dan Briggs explains in the bonus interview segments that the band consciously made the decision to take this route instead of the traditional live route as it would give a different feel. He could not be more correct in that evaluation. BTBAM isn’t the first band to ever record a live recording in studio verses at an actual live venue. However, the number of music acts that put out releases in this format is not as large as some might think. Keeping that in mind, it makes this performance all the more enjoyable. Adding even more enjoyment to the performance is that fact that it also isn’t just some run-of-the-mill making of the album presentation. It’s better than those all too often used featurettes used to sell records. What audiences get in this recording is the band in studio performing its hit album in its entirety. It is like seeing the band record the album without all of the constant stop-start process and useless banter. Keeping that in mind, the recording itself is made that much more wonderful of an experience for viewers. It shows even more why this recording stands out in this year’s crop of live recordings as a must see.
The performance recorded by BTBAM in Future Sequence: Live at the Fidelitorium is central to the success of the recording’s presentation overall. It isn’t just some run-of-the-mill in studio piece that documents the making of a band’s album. It is actually a full performance of the band’s album The Parallax II. The performance just happens to be held in a studio space rather than a live venue. Being that the performance was recorded in a studio space, the initial thought pattern among audiences might be that the audio will be hollow and that the video might be recorded in somewhat guerilla style. The reason for that is that so many in-studio documentaries end up presenting exactly such audio and video. Luckily for viewers the audio and video mix in this recording are collectively and completely unlike those more raw presentations. The audio in this recording sounds just as good as that of the originally released album. And the quality of the recording’s video is just as laudable. What’s really interesting about the recording’s video is that while presented on Blu-ray, it presents a certain grainy quality. It’s obvious that said effect was used intentionally. It adds a certain depth of emotion to the presentation especially when taken into consideration with the music itself. That wise use of video effects and equally impressive audio mix works in combination with the rather creative format of the recording to make Future Sequence: Live at the Fidelitorium even more enjoyable for the band’s fans.
The format of Future Sequence: Live at the Fidelitorium along with its production values (its audio and video) both play pivotal roles in the success and enjoyment of the recording. Having examined both of these factors, audiences are left with one more factor to examine in this recording. That factor is the presentation’s packaging. The recording is presented to fans both on Blu-ray and CD in one package. Combining both the audio-only and the AV presentation together in one package presents audiences with a complete musical experience. As noted previously, the audio portion of the performance is just as solid as that of the original album on which this performance is based. So listening to the performance on CD whether in the car or at home will leave listeners feel like they are actually listening to the album in question. The inclusion of the Blu-ray disc is the center of the experience. It brings everything full circle. It reminds audiences that they are taking in the album in full and that they are experiencing it in a setting that is rarely used by any musical act when releasing live recordings. Together with the other previously noted aspects of the performance, it rounds out the recording proving once more just why this recording deserves to be not just a dark horse candidate but a viable candidate for any critic’s year-ender list of the best new live recordings. It isn’t to discount the bonus material included on the Blu-ray, either. The bonus interviews show the members of BTBAM as not just another group of metallers, but a group of talented musicians. The companion bonus “Behind-the-Scenes” featurette follows the band from pre-planning to final rehearsals before taking on the performance presented in the final product. It runs just shy of the thirty-minute mark. Throughout that time, audiences see that preparing for a live in-studio performance takes nearly as much work as prepping for a performance in a traditional live venue. It makes for even more appreciation of this recording and proves to be the proverbial icing on the cake or the show. Together with everything else noted, everything noted here collectively makes Future Sequence: Live at the Fidelitorium a must see by any member of the Metal Nation worldwide.
Future Sequence: Live at the Fidelitorium is available now on Blu-ray/CD combo pack in stores and online. It can be ordered direct online via Metal Blade Records’ website at http://www.metalblade.com/us/releases/between-the-buried-and-me-fidelitorium/. More information on this and other releases from BTBAM and all of the latest news from the band is available online at:
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