It seems like Between the Buried And Me regain power with every new album; one of those situations where the whole “YOU THINK THE LAST ALBUM WAS GOOD” theme comes into play. Yeah but really. Parallax II is amazing, but something about Coma Ecliptic will emerge BTBAM out of that “proggy space pothole” thing into something much more mature and imaginative. In other words, this is the BTBAM that BTBAM always wanted to become. So you squealed and cried with every other BTBAM album? Yeah you’ll definitely do the same with this one.
I will say this album takes a couple of listens. Like every work by this band, they experiment with different styles that’s off-putting at first. When I first listened to it I thought, well this is different. Then set it aside a few days. I come back to it so I can write this review, and I realized that everything this album is really works well. Hint: listen to this album after a good workout. You’re really tired but your mind and body are still wired. Yeah, you’ll get it if you’re in that mood.
The listener is sucked right in with the first song, Node. Like just about every BTBAM album, it begins with soft Tommy Giles singing. While it’s not a typical BTBAM godly metal orgasm until the end of the song, you can’t help but immediately be diagnosed with the fact that your body is ready for all that BTBAM will offer you.
That’s where The Coma Machine comes in. This is the song that will immediately hook all BTBAM fans. There are several reasons why: it could be the heavenly grooves that emerge in every part of the song, the significance of the slow parts because they immediately lead to exalted deleterious parts, that one part at the end that just radiates music-sex, the distinguishable BTBAM sound amidst it all, and the fact that every member of BTBAM are supernatural figures and not really human. Overall, this is a really polished and well-done song. That was my proper journalist review. My BTBAM-fan review is that not even mac ‘n’ cheese can be this magnificent.
Some of the songs on the album are much slower than most expect to hear from Between the Buried and Me. An example of this is King Redeem – Queen Serene. The song starts out very slow, with Tommy’s signature croons overtaking the whole song. About a couple of minutes in is when the classic heaviness of BTBAM kicks in and releases proggy brutal goodness. The rest of the song takes you on a rollercoaster ride; through the plunging drop of odd time signatures, harsh turns of swift shredding, all while looping around complex Blake Richardson drumming and harsh grooves.
The Ectopic Stroll is a song that showcases the new musical direction BTBAM is taking. “Ectopic” means “occurring in an abnormal position or in an unusual manner” (yes, I had to look it up) and this word itself describes this song. First listen, Tommy unleashes some interesting vocalizing: almost that heroin-addled rocker raspy tone. And met with jazzy piano with signature prog rock techniques, this is a definitely an abnormal BTBAM song. But with just about everything else, they pull it off.
Rapid Calm is another inventive BTBAM trait: using a synthesizer. This plus Tommy’s vocals make this song sound like something out of an 80’s sci-fi film. Yet, with the atmospheric elements the intricate drumming makes this song heavier than what will be first perceived.
Memory Palace is the song that made you all care about the fact that BTBAM has new music. I mean, you can say “BTBAM has new music” and about half of the metal community would immediately turn into fangirls. But something about the rock-n-roll glory of this song really hits the fan hard. This song combines all of BTBAM’s new fun sounds, and doing so in the most perfect manner. While still maintaining that “BTBAM sound” this song also combines the synthesizer-like effects, the prog-rock-influenced melodies, suddenly turning into a dream-like lucid state with Tommy-singing overtaking your mind, the random bursts of insanity, all-encompassing the fact that BTBAM always finds new ways to be BTBAM.
The album ends with Life in Velvet. It sounds like this song should be performed on Broadway. Well, only for a musical riddled with acid. A piano tune kicks in that’s eventually met with more Tommy singing. The glory then immediately explodes in Paul Waggoner/Dustie Waring monumental guitar playing duo. This epic proportion of theatrical musical goodness continues until the song’s – and ultimately album’s – end.
So this band somehow becomes more amazing with every album. Why? We will never know their secrets (I still don’t think they’re human) but as long as they keep releasing incredible material I don’t think we’ll be questioning them much. Like I mentioned before, it will take a couple of listens; but it won’t be long until Coma Ecliptic takes over your mind. Take it upon BTBAM for releasing one of the best albums of the year.
The Coma Machine
King Redeem – Queen Serene
Turn on the Darkness
The Ectopic Stroll
Life in Velvet
Genre: Progressive Metal
Label: Metal Blade Records
Playing Time: 67 Minutes
Tommy Giles – Vocals/Piano
Paul Waggoner – Guitars
Dustie Waring – Guitars
Dan Briggs – Bass
Blake Richardson – Drums