It's a mark of quite how exceptional BTBAM’s songwriting skills have become that the first noticeable seam in The Parallax II – the first point you can tell one episode ends and another is beginning – is the electronic interlude, Autumn. That’s four tracks and nearly 20 minutes in.
The furious, cheerfully catchy and quirky-without-being-annoying trademarks are all here, as are the switches between vicious heavy metal, prog complexity and pure hook deliverance. The unpredictability quotient remains high – Extremophile Elite veering into xylophones, Telos switching from Meshuggah-esque assault into jazz into a bombastic melodic refrain and Bloom breaking out into 12-bar blues.
But it’s the degree to which the bonkers tangents make sense that makes The Parallax II such a joy. A record that bombards the ear with ideas at what should be an unintelligible rate and has a mammoth running time seems to zip by in the blink of an eye, one section flowing into another to form one cohesive opus that ends far too soon. It’s mighty clever and fabulously fun.