June 29, 2015 Between the Buried and Me – Coma Ecliptic (Album Review)
The cohesive chaos of Prog-Metal virtuosos Between the Buried and Me has become an immortal dynasty founded upon humility, hard work, and inhuman talent. Dropping their seventh studio album July 10th via Metal Blade, Coma Ecliptic is a Sweeney Todd-meets-Prog-Metal slaughter of two immensely different themes fusing to innovative perfection. Highlighting eccentric synth theatrics with organic precision, Between the Buried and Me molds the multi-faceted angles of stage and story as only they can. (And who knew they could?)
Bestowing the hint of a new album on twitter in September 2014, the band used a surprise hashtag to set the rumor gears grinding: Rock Opera. Alas, the reign of cosmic, space-themed Between The Buried And Me had officially come to an end. A mighty, superb, incomparable end. Derived by lead vocalist Tommy Rogers’ inspiration from shows and films such as The Twilight Zone (1983) and The Truman Show (1998), Coma Ecliptic illustrates the perspective of a man who places himself in a purposeful coma.
The album surges and folds in the ripple effects of lives the protagonist believes he is living. His original plan to escape an unsavory world is interrupted by the fact that nothing is real; the coma is indeed another coma, and even more within the next. Amidst Inception-esque elite, Coma Ecliptic embraces multiple elements of style and theatrics in order to convey the reality of the protagonist’s world inside many worlds, which are ultimately all fake. While the concept may be a mouthful, its directional shadow is cast upon every song. Unlike the osmosis of 2012’s Parallax II’s seamless blend, Coma Ecliptic emphasizes a new importance to story, individualism and…Rock Opera.
Simple keys and clean vocals begin the haunting lullaby of first track, “Node.” Building in gauzy synth layers, the track focuses on a lyrical introduction to the premise of the album. After a detonating instrumental climax, listeners return to the shadowed quiet of ending as simply as it had begun. Easing out of “Node,” “The Coma Machine” bursts into animated Rock Opera sorcery. Drummer Blake Richardson owns a strong rhythm game as guitarists Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring keep perfect time with Rogers’ thespian keys. A bit of galactic-era Between The Buried And Me reveals itself around the two minute mark, but is quickly sprinkled with Coma-appropriate bizarre vocals; impeccably bizarre, that is.
Transitioning straight into “Dim Ignition,” the eerie synth returns with a mesmerizing vengeance. A hypnotic groove escapes the confines of the band’s instruments, going borderline macabre with Roger’s vocal effects. Capping off a little over two minutes, “Dim Ignition“ is the shortest song on Coma Ecliptic. Still, once listeners get their hands on this creepy little track, it is all repeat button from there. While this abrupt gem seems to be an intro to “Famine Wolf,” the lively, odd tune deserves to stand alone. If any song deserved the seven-minute tradition, it is “Dim Ignition.”
Summing up the whole album in one song is easily awarded to “Rapid Calm.” The irony of “Rapid Calm’s” title, sound, and structure is where Between The Buried And Me’s genius lies. Chunky melodies spill across a vaudeville piano, where Roger’s side-show vocals writhe about. Bassist Dan Briggs sinks his Jazz-influenced teeth deep into a heaving bassline, marrying the copious elements of such a precisely scattered song. This will be the song to see live. Tapering off into the calm of guitar and keys, a few finger-snaps can be heard keeping time. Such simplicity echoes brilliance, and in true Between The Buried And Me form, the song picks right back up where the frenzy left off. Ending in ultimate disassemble, “Rapid” Calm emulates Rock Opera, coma-induced realities, and the glorious “structure” that is Prog.
Fans will find favor in Coma Ecliptic’s largely clean vocals, theatrically-influenced synth, and the unrivaled talent Between the Buried and Me continues to offer. The band will be headlining the Coma Ecliptic Tour in early July, with supporting acts Animals As Leaders and The Contortionist, so do not miss it. CrypticRock gives Coma Ecliptic 5 out of 5 stars.