Between The Buried And Me Return With The Complex 'Coma Ecliptic'
Between the Buried and Me’s latest release is an album that is both crushingly heavy and beautifully melodic. 'Coma Ecliptic' is progressive metal in the truest sense of the word.
It is fitting for a band whose recent music has an air of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds to go ahead and release a modern rock opera. Dan Briggs (Bass) comments "Spending the last year immersed in a world of Quadrophenia, Operation Mindcrime, The Wall- as well as Sondheim and Lloyd Webber musicals, Stravinsky and Mussorgsky symphonic suites. Writing an over the top, dramatic and forward thinking rock opera was the most natural thing to do."
This concept album follows the journey of a man stuck in a coma traveling through his past lives and each song is its own episode of the story. In each world he is offered a choice. Stay or carry on to try to find something better. Certainly an ambitious concept and one that would be very difficult to pull off, but Between the Buried and Me have managed to do it with apparent aplomb.
The band’s eclectic style of progressive metal draws from a range of genres which were excellently displayed in their previous outing 'The Parallax II'. 'Future Sequence' is back as strong as ever before, albeit with the far less distinct Jazz-fusion flavour seen on that album.
Boasting highly technical, long and meandering tracks that maintain a strong melodic core without it ever reaching a point where it seems that the band have lost their way, the latest sonic offering from Between the Buried and Me has successfully married heavy sections with softer, almost ethereal passages without either being overpowered. It is not just the lyrics here that tell the emotional tale.
The album comes in at just over an hour in length and the standout song has to be "Coma Machine".Technical and sharp riffing intercut with slower and more delicate moments, the track is very reminiscent of early bands such as Uriah Heep and Yes.The juxtaposition between the two extremes lends the track the all-important quality of staying engaging throughout, a quality which is constant for the duration of "Coma Ecliptic".
Another track to take your time over is "Famine Wolf", which comes in with a barrage of bass and growls before flowing into a more minimalist section led by Tommy Rodgers vocals, culminating with the band’s signature complex guitar work. "Life in Velvet" is short by this group’s standard but is an excellent closing track. Managing to be upbeat and melancholic in equal measure, the whole song has an unmistakable Queen-esque sound.
'Coma Ecliptic' takes the listener on a journey, the peaks and troughs in the music driving the story forwards. Filled with gloriously complex instrumentation alongside a strong range of vocal styles, this album simply does not allow you to become inattentive. Between the Buried and Me have ensured their legacy as one of the most interesting groups in the modern musical landscape. This is an album they should be proud of.
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Words by Adam Dernie