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Between The Buried And Me - Coma Ecliptic CD (album) cover


Between The Buried And Me


Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.87 | 343 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars No Need For Our Sanity

Between the Buried and Me knows what they're doing. They've experimented plenty while still delivering quality albums, and they've actually improved over the years, unlike so many other bands. With Coma Ecliptic, they chose to release a concept album, and began to tweak their sound even further.

I haven't had good experiences with rock operas about comas. I hated Ayreon's The Human Equation, though I could appreciate how well Arjen whatshisname was able to tell the story. Like The Human Equation, CE also revolves around a man in a coma, who relives his past lives before he gets the chance to decide whether or not he should return to the waking world. Fortunately, Coma Ecliptic is musically better than Ayreon, but its storyline is unclear, the lyrics ambiguous. There is also a lot more clean singing than usual on here, and I'm unsure if its purpose is to make the lyrics easier to understand, or if it resulted from the band's mild movement away from metal.

Yeah, it's not as heavy. Heard on previous albums are skullcrushing assaults with the occasional switch-up into softer territory. Memory Palace is just about the only track from Coma Ecliptic that demonstrates this idea, the nearly ten-minute single that attacks with a barrage of metal, entering several spacey, psychedelic breaks reminiscent of Pink Floyd, which make the song work because they catch the listener completely off-guard.

On most of CE's longer songs, BTBAM opts for more variation by changing the pace and level of heaviness more often, instead of defaulting back to facemelting harshness. This new technique produces a weirder, more diverse and interesting composition, though it can make the transitions somewhat jarring. Coma Ecliptic is teeming with variety: the ominous intro to Turn on Darkness, keyboard breaks inserted seemingly at random into songs, and perhaps most notably the piano-based beginning of Ectopic Stroll. It is difficult to pin down a genre description for the latter, but it's kind of dancey (not in a sell-out way) and unlike anything the band has ever done. And then there are the album's softest parts, like the first half of King Redeem/Queen Serene and all of opener Node, save the guitar solo (though having a soft first song/album intro is kind of a BTBAM tradition by now).

Node's guitar solo sets up the album as being dramatic, a feeling that carries through to the chorus of The Coma Machine. This is easily one of the album's most memorable moments, catchy and with a piano line that captures the theatrical, regal essence of a band like Queen or Muse. The last two songs, Option Oblivion and Life and Velvet pick up the dramatic, epic sensation to properly close Coma Ecliptic. It's a good effect, one they've used before, and it's fitting, especially to wrap up a concept release.

CE, while less metallic than earlier albums, is easily on par with everything from Colors and beyond. Engaging with highly varied, unpredictable, and progressive songwriting, it will make it onto lists of top albums from 2015. The story is difficult to follow, but the music is great.

9/10, rounded up to five stars.

Insin | 5/5 |


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