Between the Buried and Me – Coma Ecliptic Review
By Trevor Leavell
I’m now losing count of how many times that Between the Buried and Me have outdone themselves in terms of quality. In 2005, they released Alaska as their third effort and it was an album that deviated from their raw sound and made for a cleaner, and crisper sound; to follow Alaska, they released Colors in 2007, which today is considered a progressive metal masterpiece. The years to come, they haven’t declined at all. The Great Misdirect is considered to be on par with Colors as is Parallax II: Future Sequence, but both never seemed to have as much power; although they were pretty damn great, they weren’t as great when compared to Colors. With their seventh record releasing, fans were wondering: how would Coma Ecliptic hold up? As a long term fan of BTBAM, I can say they definitely have out done themselves. Coma Ecliptic not only exceeds everything they’ve done, but it blows everything else in the progressive metal genre out of the water.
Coma Ecliptic tackles a very different tone compared their previous works. The album does have a concept, but it stands alone from The Parallax I and II. In this album, the concept follows a man in a self-induced coma and he’s able to have visions of his past lives. He goes through them and finds his life incredibly mundane compared to them. He then contemplates whether to end his life, and move onto another, or live on with the one he has. The lyrics are smart, and clever, but no lines are really considered memorable; this isn’t exactly negative. The most memorable parts of the album lies all within the musical collaboration. Between the Buried and Me is able to shift tones in music so subtly and smoothly in Coma Ecliptic. One moment, you’re listening the some pretty heavy riffs and bobbing your head; then the next moment, you’re tapping your foot ever so slowly to the smooth jazz rhythm of the guitar of Paul Wagoner and Dusty Waring.
The vocals of the album are a huge plus too. Tommy Giles does incorporate more cleanly vocal work than previous BTBAM albums; however, his harsh vocals feel rawer, but they fit perfectly. With this perfect mix of vocal work, Coma Ecliptic feels more accessible, but without scaring off BTAM’s more hardcore fans. In fact, I feel the hardcore fans will enjoy this album most out of anyone else due to the fresh direction they take that doesn’t feel like “more of the same” feel that previous albums have suffered from. Returning fans may be disappointed in the finale at first, as it isn’t a 10 minuet plus epic like “White Walls” on Colors or “Swim to the Moon” on The Great Misdirect; but as they let the finale “Life in Velvet” sink in, they will find it as pleasing as previous albums’ finales.
Coma Ecliptic will probably be remembered as Between the Buried and Me’s magnum opus. It may be hard to believe, since Colors has held that title for the longest time, but this album is just so gripping with its sound that you wouldn’t want it to end ever. One “Life in Velvet” ends, you’ll be wanting to start all over again with “Node”.