When I heard that Between the Buried and Me were woking on a new album I was suitably excited for it. Having really enjoyed their previous albums, in particular The Parallax II, I was curious to see whether they would build on the sounds created in that album or take a completely different direction. Like their previous albums, this is once again a concept album and focuses on the story of a man stuck in a coma journeying through his previous lives.
Production wise, It feels a lot more polished than the previous album. Everything is audible, the harsher section have more punch to them and the cleaner sections feel a lot calmer than they did on the previous album. That’s not to say the previous album was badly produced. Far from it. It just didn’t really fit the album as well as the production does on this album.
Opening the album is the track, “Node”. Starting out with a 90’s inspired synth pattern with some clean vocals it provides a suitable opening to this rather varied album. Bringing in more instruments at the 0:50 mark before cutting back to just the synth and voice again provides a good contrast between the more energetic parts. The full band then comes in at the 2:42 mark playing a similar melody to what the synth was playing. It then once again strips back to just a piano for the final 17 seconds. In short a good opening track to the album and is very reminiscent of the track “Goodbye to everything” from the last album.
Up next is the track “The Coma Machine” . Keeping a similar sort of melody to the previous track for the first minute before switching it up a bit and then smashing in with the harsh vocals at 1:51 really changes the mood of the track and helps to tell the story of the track. Kicking into one of my favourite riffs of the whole album around the 3:14 mark, the track then comes full circle back to the original riff before once again changing into a new section. It’s a little different from the opening track, but that’s to be expected with this sort of album. It’s still an awesome track and one of my favourites from the album. At the end of the track, it completely changes to become some kind of early 90’s synth based pop song with real drums over electric drums.
The next track then continues on with the interesting synth pop idea, with the vocals from Tommy creating a very dark and sinister mood throughout the whole track. The synths add to this dark mood with flowing melodies and pad based backing chords making this one of the darker tracks of the album. Once again, it’s a stand out track just for being so different to the rest of the album.
Carrying of the synth chord pads from the previous track on is the track, “Famine Wolf”. Adding in the guitars, and then inserting counter melodies alongside them with synths continues the atmosphere introduced in the previous track. Chucking harsh vocals into the mix at 1:10 and having them alongside the clean vocals before kicking into a fast grooving section at the 1:58 mark really shows the skills of the vocalist well. It also shows off the stellar musicianship of the rest of the band featuring an awesome bass-line from Dan. Cutting back into a synth pop style section around the 4:08 mark once again provides a change of mood to the track and provides a nice interlude from the ‘chaos’.
Next up is the track, “King Redeem – Queen Serene”. Opening with an acoustic guitar and clean vocals really sets it apart from the previous tracks and help to create a completely new atmosphere. Once again the track changes instrumentation a few times and creates new moods to help tell the story of the track. This track once again features clean and harsh vocals together but blends them in a totally different way. It’s also safe to say that this is a harsher track than the previous ones. That just due to it having more harsh vocals that the previous tracks. It’s also more chaotic featuring more changes of instrumentation and melodies. These all suit the track very well and make it a standout track for me.
“Turn on the Darkness” opens with a very dark melody on acoustic guitar and piano before transitioning around the 1:18 mark into the similar multi-instrument ‘chaos’ as heard throughout the album. As reflected in the title, the song has a much darker feel than the rest of the album and provides a nice contrast from the happier songs of the album. Featuring synth strings in parts also adds to the darker feel of the track and makes it one of the more interesting tracks on the album.
Opening with a ragtime inspired piano melody is the track “The Ectropic Stroll”. Adding the whole band into the picture at the 00:8 mark doesn’t change the character of the song and I found myself unable to take the smile off my face. It’s quite a fun track to listen to and like the others has multiple changes in mood. Like many of the other tracks on the album, it’s a stand out track for me.
“The Rapid Calm” then plays and I’m reminded of a 80’s synth pop song throughout the opening 40 seconds before it changes into backing overdriven guitars with a melodic synth line creating a counter-melody to the vocals. Opening into a spaced out section with various electronic backing sounds and a harp around 1:52 makes for a brief interlude before the whole band comes back in and the ‘chaos’ ensues once more. Like “King Redeem” this track tells the story really well and also has multiple changes in instrumentation to keep the energy going.
Onto the longest track and the first single from the album, “Memory Palace”. Coming in at just under 10 minutes it’s strangely reminiscent of an Old school rock song for the first few seconds. It then smashes that away with the rest of the band coming in and creating the usual multi-instrumental melodies with Tommy singing over the top in his usual mix of clean and harsh vocals. When I initially heard this track a few weeks ago, I wasn’t sure what to think. I’m happy to say that it’s now one of the strongest tracks on the album and is definitely a stand out track. You can listen to it by following this link.
“Option Oblivion” continues the multi-instrumentation introduced in the previous song and builds open it the mixed vocal melodies heard across the whole album. Being one of the shorter tracks of the album, it doesn’t have as many changes as the previous tracks. That’s not to say it doesn’t have some awesome riffs, in fact it has one of my favourite riffs of the album and is one the standout tracks of the album.
Opening with a piano melody is the final track of the album. Transitioning to a the full band with guitar counter melodies here, there and everywhere it provides a suitable ending to this weird, wacky but wonderful album.
In terms of a recommendation, I’d recommend this album to fans of the more experimental end of metal. Fan’s of bands such as Shining (Nor) and more progressive stuff such as Opeth might like it. It’s suitably different from them, but like those bands it features some seriously good musicianship.
Standout Tracks: The Coma Machine, Dim Ignition, King Redeem – Queen Serene, The Ectopic Stroll, Memory Palace, Option Oblivion.
- The Coma Machine
- Dim Ignition
- Famine Wolf
- King Redeem – Queen Serene
- Turn on the Darkness
- The Ectopic Stroll
- Rapid Calm
- Memory Palace
- Option Oblivion
- Life in Velvet
Coma Ecliptic is out via Metal Blade records on the 10th July 2015. You can listen to the first single, “Memory Palace” by following the link above and watch the music Video for “The Coma Machine” below.
Between the Buried and Me: [betweentheburiedandme]