Between The Buried And Me Coma Ecliptic

2015 Metal Blade

Coma chameleon...

Between The Buried And Me - Coma Ecliptic


Outside of “The Anatomy Of“, nearly every Between The Buried And Me release has been a massive endeavor. As age has added years to the band, so to have they passed on that weight and wisdom to their musical output.

Their latest expression of that is a dense, full-blown rock opera that finds them exploring the concept of a man in a coma traversing through his past lives. Each song represents another tale in the saga, giving the group the freedom to pursue countless directions, while remaining unified by a central theme.

It’s a concept that they approach with few limitations—if any—and in many ways, use to shed their past skin. Sure there’s all the underpinnings of heady prog, vivacious classic rock and brutish metal sewn together. But if the band were sending off space expeditions in the past, this time they’ve sought out to launch an entire space station.

Coma Ecliptic” is almost an ecosystem in its own right, a dysfunctional mind trying to right its fractured sense of self through reflection and experimentation. As such it should come as no shocker that there are some conflicting personalities. “Dim Ignition‘ is buoyed by a synth that would fit in just about any 80’s John Carpenter movie and feels cut from the same rich tapestry as frontman Tommy Rogers‘ output as ‘Thomas Giles‘.

Famine Wolf” steers close to the heavier nature of the bands craft, yet ends in a somewhat cartoony vocal performance complete with tongue rolling r’s that suggest satire, or at the very least, some type of schizophrenic episode. “King Redeem/Queen Serene” opens with a vocal part that sounds subliminally lifted from Cave In‘s “Youth Overrided“, before being swallowed up in a wave of engulfing distorted darkness and heaving bellows that find themselves at war with King Crimson-like weirdness.

Turn On The Darkness” is another conflicted sonic adventure, where raw nerve aggression and an assertive bass performance seem intent on chasing down a much more nimble prey. Stopping for air during the latter half, traces of Alice In Chains‘ lurking grunge are left to peer in through acoustic tinged melodies and powerful soloing.

A personal standout though has to be the penultimate number, “Option Oblivion“—a tumbling aural descent that finds the band aided in their intent by some gripping keys and a rather diverse display of emotional depth.

Unfortunately, not every venture is a rousing success. The sneering vocal persona and rollicking keys adopted on “The Ectopic Stroll” will likely be a bit too theatrical for most, even while serving a thematic purpose. There’s also a lot of meat on these bones with the general length of songs clocking in at over six minutes. What this means is that unless you are mentally prepared for it, the girth of this album can quickly become more than you can chew.

As with any Between The Buried And Me release, “Coma Ecliptic” is an opaque, all-consuming experience. Deciphering its nooks, crannies and interwoven texturing requires much careful study and repeated listening. Intricately cryptic and unremorseful in it’s own indulgence, it represents a band operating at peak creativity, even if the concept does get in the way of the songwriting here and there.