Boundaries are made to be pushed. Doing so keeps life fresh. It’s innovation. It’s evolution. One group that is known to consistently challenge the tenets of Metal is BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME. With each of their releases, the group has managed to break the mold, producing a sound that is astoundingly vibrant and diverse. And with their seventh full-length release, out now through Metal Blade Records, they have made their boldest statement yet. Coma Ecliptic is the group’s answer to the modern day rock opera, moving far beyond the realm of concept records, a field in which the band has shown it’s mastery on previous efforts.
So what, you ask, sets this disc apart from prior concepts? The writing, the imagery, the delivery and the interpretation. Overall, the feel is far more expansive, with the group branching out into dimensions of sound nary touched by other Metal acts. One could argue the songs to not be as heavy as previous efforts, but that wouldn’t be entirely correct. The disc does feature far more clean vocal from Tommy Rogers than any of its predecessors. Also, the singer’s addition of keyboard and synth, which have steadily increased with each release, are more prominent. But, the essence of the group’s sound, pertaining to high speed, technical guitars and drums, is still in high detail.
The story told encompasses every facet of the record, allowing the lyrics to have a more intimate relationship with the instrumentation. It begs the thought that the words were written far before a single note was played. Despite my speculation, one cannot deny the bewildering narrative enveloped within. As the title suggests, Coma Ecliptic follows the experiences of a man trapped in the catatonic state. Through his subconscious, the subject travels through his past lives. As the plot progresses, the man continues to pass up each life in search of something better. Upon finding the world with which he is content, the man is commanded to choose between life or death. After choosing life, he awakens to reality, finally accepting the beauty held all along. Unfortunately, he then dies, for real.
Where the climax of this epic may be a bit of a bummer, keep in mind it is metaphor, designed to inspire us to be appreciative of the world around us. It’s a message to squeeze every last drop out of life. Further, it’s the reason for one to push boundaries; because, after all, if we aren’t pushing boundaries, we may as well be pushing daisies. And as I come around full circle, I will offer that such an explorative venture may alienate some long time fans of the band; however, I only see that being for those who fail to approach this disc with an open mind. Besides, I am one to believe this is what any fan of BTBAM should expect, to be confronted with material that challenges our thoughts of the genre. BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME have evolved and they are, now, inviting us to join them. So on July 10, grab a copy of Coma Ecliptic. If not, be sure to give my regards to the missing link.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM