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Between The Buried And Me

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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Between The Buried And Me Coma Ecliptic album cover
3.87 | 343 ratings | 5 reviews | 35% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2015

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Node (3:31)
2. The Coma Machine (7:35)
3. Dim Ignition (2:16)
4. Famine Wolf (6:50)
5. King Redeem / Queen Serene (6:58)
6. Turn on the Darkness (8:26)
7. The Ectopic Stroll (7:02)
8. Rapid Calm (7:59)
9. Memory Palace (9:54)
10. Option Oblivion (4:22)
11. Life in Velvet (3:38)

Total Time 68:31

Line-up / Musicians

- Tommy Rogers / vocals, keyboards
- Paul Waggoner / guitars, vocals (6)
- Dustie Waring / guitars
- Dan Briggs / bass
- Blake Richardson / drums & percussion

- Emma DunlapGrube / cello

Releases information

Artwork: Corey Meyers with Aaron Strelecki (photo)

CD Metal Blade Records ‎- 3984-15392-2 (2015, US)

Thanks to infocat for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME Coma Ecliptic ratings distribution

(343 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(35%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME Coma Ecliptic reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Wicket
5 stars (If you want a quick recommendation on this album, please check the very end, the adjust in style will not appeal to everyone, and I'll clarify if you're not sure what to expect or whether to buy or listen to this album)

It would probably have helped if I wrote a review to "Future Sequence" before I get started on "Coma Elliptic" (which I will soon), but that's not really the worst thing in the world.

To be brief: "Parallax II: Future Sequence" is the pinnacle development of BTBAM's sound. It's more melodious than ever, but still brutal as always, and even more and more memorable phrases and breakdowns that keep me coming back to again and again.

Dare I say it may be one of the best albums ever conceived? Bold as it may, it's no different than critics claiming Wagner the best composer ever after witnessing his "Der Ring des Nibelungen" operas. Even better than Beethoven? Critics today still debate.

Perhaps it's the storytelling, the motifs and themes that reprise and reoccur, and the memorable spectacle that it is, a description that easily characterizes BTBAM's catalog since "Colors". Maybe it's that bold step that the band took to make "Future Sequence" that gave me anxiety when cracking open "Coma Elliptic" for the first time. Surely the first worrying step is the fact that for the first time since "Alaska" has no song breached the double-digit mark.

It starts off promising though with "Node", a sort of quiet intro familiar to BTABM fans, echoing "Mirrors" and "The Backtrack". And it really does feel like an intro, with a bombastic overture-like sound. It doesn't quite segue into "The Coma Machine", but like "Mirrors" did to "Obfuscation" on "The Great Misdirect", it sort of leaves it out there as a single, the catchy tune that people will remember, and it surely does. The main theme alternates between 4's and 5's, and places a quite catchy melody ascending chromatically over a syncopated beat. The most notable factor here is singer Tom Giles', with even more melodic singing than ever before. The screams are still present, just not in abundance on this particular track. It really feels like a single (which is in part because it was), but it leaves a lot of the hectic and spastic breakdowns and heavy bridge sections fallen by the wayside. It's still a good track, mind, one of the few BTBAM songs that you can listen to that might not actually give you a headache (maybe), but despite that, the chromatic ascending phrase punctuated by the keys is such an ooey, gooey line, a real feel-good progression.

So, as I listen for the first time, the album has so far presented a more melodic BTBAM, not quite as heavy, but it still sounds like the band that produced "Colors", "The Great Misdirect" and "Parallax I & II". And as "Dim Ignition" floats by as a sort of bridge that echoes "The Black Box" from Future Sequence, I'm tripped up from the cut to double time as "Famine Wolf" kicks in underneath the synth segue. And the crazy guitar licks as well. So I expect more of a focus on singing and more complex melodic phrasing than just simple meathead breakdowns, but even though drummer Blake Richardson doesn't kick the band into serious get-up-and-mosh mode, roughly two minutes in the screams and heavy breaks kick, and the gang reassures us that "Yes, we still know how to melt your faces".


My worst fears abated (and I'm sure many loyal, direhard fans). It's a shift in style, but not a warning of sell-out mode. Less of "let's make a catchy song to get on the radio" and more "Let's try and evolve melodically, not stick to the same tried-and-true boundaries that held us together. Let's try to even be more radical in sound, style and singing."

Sounds ambitious, but "Famine Wolf" appears to have done just that. It still sounds like BTBAM without feeling constrained, but rather held back, not because they don't have the ability to go nuts like usual, but rather, they don't WANT to. Some could argue that taking a normally complex idea and massively simplifying it is even more radical than the vice versa. Karlheinz Stockhausen was praised for composing "Gruppen", a piece for 3 (3!) orchestras, each with a conductor, filled with tone rows and never-ending complexities in 1957. Yet 7 years later, Terry Riley comes out with "In C", the first piece widely regarded to have started the phenomena of "minimalism", and he received complaints and hate mail for doing so! Minimalist composers like Steve Reich and Philip Glass have been mocked by contemporaries for 'going the opposite direction', but their responses have been to the effect of "there's no need".

"King Redeem - Queen Serene" solidifies this remark. The sounds we all come to expect are there, but the abrupt jump-cuts to different rhythms and key signatures seem to have vanished. A loss in style? Perhaps, but to my ears, rather, smoothness. It's clean, it's effortless, it's transitionally brilliant. Any prog fan in their right mind will agree that if it doesn't flow together, that's a "No go, Joe". Perhaps if it's a bit of criticism, it's that Giles chooses to sing, rather than either scream or even whisper during one section with roughly a minute and a half left to go when it's a bit quieter and mysterious. Still, rather than just sounding like 4 songs in one, it really does feel like 1 song. In fact, that's part of the reason why I never much cared for "Prequel To The Sequel"; it felt too abrupt, too many jump-cuts, not enough cohesiveness.

So on we march, into "Turn On The Darkness", which, not to be rude, is more of the same song-and-dance. Not in a boring way, but it still sounds like BTBAM (quite a lot more screaming in here, in my mind, as well). One thing I did happen to notice, though, by this point is that even though no track exceeds the 10 minute mark, this album doesn't feel short at all. It feels deceptively long, in fact. "Famine Wolf" is shy of 7 minutes at 6:51. "King Redeem - Queen Serene" is 7 minutes at 6:59. In fact, no song falls below 7 minutes until "Option Oblivion", the penultimate track, hits 4:22.

So when you look back at the track times, again, it feels like a bit of restraint on paper, and at the end of "TotD", the screams should herald a classic Richardson blastbeat frenzy, but it doesn't. It's not an embarrassment, but rather just a little bit of restraint. Think of it like losing weight. Don't think of it as an "ONLY EAT LETTUCE" diet, but rather a "Cut back junk food, but make sure to eat all the different colors of the food rainbow, get all your meat, dairy and protein" approach. A gradual change in habit, but not so utterly radical it seems foreign to us.

"The Ecoptic Stroll" perhaps feels the most traditional of all tracks on this album. A weird stutter-step piano rag foreshadows Giles in a raspy tone, rather unusual, but actually quite refreshing, not at all like his monotone performance on "Colors" (one of the main niggles I had with that album, in fact). And yes, there are snippets of Richardson spaz-outs! The raspy verses are really quite entertaining, a unique sound you can really only expect from BTBAM, and before long, chessy and unusual synth licks bring out their always clever and playful side. "Stroll" by this point (roughly 4:30 into the track as I type this) is by far my favorite off the album, frankly because it provides the best of both sounds (the chorus is kind of forgettable, but meh, you can't win them all). FYI: The best part is clearly the guitar lick accompanied only by piano chords and the occasional finger snap. The finger snap makes it, honestly.

Just the title "Rapid Calm" hints that a major 180 degree turn is coming in relation to "The Ecoptic Stroll". And it surely starts off that way, with Giles gently floating on top a cloud of synths. Except, the drums kick in, and then the main verse sounds a bit heavier than you might otherwise expect. Still, it doesn't take long before a quick sentence of screams fades out, and a gentle waltz rhythm wafts you through a gentle croon of melodies sitting on top of an ascending bass line and the occasional flit of guitar and synth ditties. About 2 minutes from the end, though, the drums do fade out and a cloud of windchimes waft their way through a plethora of synth clouds (although 6 minutes doesn't really equal 'rapid' to me). Except that only lasts 30 seconds, and the track closes out with quite a nostalgic nod to hard rock guitar solo underneath a bunch of screams, ending on quite a nice melodic arpeggio. A good track if I say so myself.

If that doesn't impress though, "Memory Palace" will stun and baffle. It sounds like a corny hard rock intro, almost in nod to the "Rapid Calm" outro, but than Giles' brief vocal interjection almost echoes cries of Protest The Hero? What? The brief instrumental showcase though foreshadows a melodic and arpeggiated feast for the ears. Not necessarily in a fast, ballistic and virtuosic fashion, but again, in a more restrained manner that signifies more of a clean and smooth transitional process. Right before, in my mind, an abrupt drop to half speed roughly 3:40 into the song (meh, there's gotta be one, but there you go, all of BTBAM's signature tricks are still here!).

Although no track breaches the 10 minute mark, "Memory Palace" just barely slides under there at 9:55, and not only feels like the juggernaut of the album, but rather IS the juggernaut of the album, and frankly feels and sounds the part. It juggles all the typical influences and styles the band mashes up from album to album, and after that cut to half speed, from there it just picks up steam and, while it doesn't fly through at breakneck speed, it chugs along like an unstoppable steamroller, especially towards the end (with about 3 minutes to the end), echoing more blues rock phrases heard in "Ants Of The Sky" and "Fossil Genera". The half speed section comes back in at the very end, though, which clues to me and the listener that "THIS IS THE CHORUS". Well, duh. I wish it wasn't so abrupt, but now that I've heard the song the whole way through (including the guitar wah-wahs that bookend the song that sounds exactly like the James Bond theme [SO EPIC, not gonna lie]), it's definitely one of the best on the album. Catchy, action packed, and a hell of a lot of fun.

So now we hit the home stretch as the penultimate "Option Oblivion" sounds like a bit of a reprise, with a bit more spastic outbreaks and more soaring vocals from Giles (which is now frankly turning into a vocal showcase for him, my god). Only problem with this track is that, now used to the longer 6 tracks previously, it feels too short with not a lot of substance. It also feels like a finale, which doesn't make sense because it's not the last song on the album. But then all makes sense when that last track does come in, which essentially is a piano reprise of the "Coma Machine" riff with Giles once again providing fantastically beautiful lyrics over a haunting synth in the background to end the album. Right before the band comes right back in in triumphant fashion. Typed too soon, I guess.

VERDICT: So, what do we have then? An album that's still distinctly BTBAM, but as I suspected before even pressing play, it's more of an evolution and maturation of their signature sound. Nothing has vanished entirely (As Giles relentlessly screams at the close of the disc), but their spastic nature has been repressed to present a more polished and seamless album. Transitions are much smoother and less herky-jerky. Of course, that also means the heavy bridges and spastic blastbeats are reduced to a minimum, which will (I know) upset some faithful (then again, "Colors" pissed off all the old "Silent Circus" and "Alaska" faithful as well, so deal with it).

Which of course brings me to singer Tommy Giles' now more pronounced presence as, not just the frontman, but quite a talented tour de force. Granted, there are times I felt he was trying a bit too much (sang in sections he probably could've whispered or screamed), but overall it was a different change of pace and it still resulted in quite some good music and catchy tunes. (If it was boring it would've put ME in a coma. It didn't. Mission accomplished, 10/10 would listen again).

Now, I've given this 4 stars. At this time, I haven't given a review or rating of "Parallax II:Future Sequence" but I will give it a 5. It blends that traditionally chaotic sound with more elaborate rhythms and melodies and still catchy and melodic singing phrases and choruses. To me, "Coma Elliptic" just can't be compared to it at all. In fact, you really can't compare it to ANY BTBAM album at all.

(Seriously, don't even try. I did. It didn't work. It just made by brain hurt).

Still, it does lack a few tracks that are truly standouts, ones that just catch your ears and force you to put on repeat over and over again (like I did with "Extremophile Elite" and "Telos"). Even a diehard like myself, while not entirely disappointed, don't find myself listening to this as much as older albums. I will say, though, that it'll probably take MANY, MANY listens before it finally clicks. The same could be said with ALL BTBAM albums. One listen does not a proper conclusion make. It will take many listens for just one album to finally make sense, and it feels like the same will go for this, so we'll see if it stands the test of time, who knows?

LONG STORY SHORT: If you love BTBAM's heavier side only, STEER CLEAR AWAY. Yes, there are a few sections in here, but by and large, it's just not the theme of the album. In fact, it just may be considered the most progressive (in the most literal sense of the term). Yes, I love a big meaty face-bashing breakdown as much as the next simpleton, but sometimes it feels just a bit archaic, like it never really goes anywhere and just exists for the hell of it. It almost seems like a culmination from the band's very beginnings, from constant moshing on "The Silent Circus", to very little on "Coma Elliptic". Heartbreaking for loyalists, but for those of us of this generation whose attention spans equal that of squirrels, something refreshing and different like "Coma Elliptic" might be just what we need.

If you love the band's style, though, the melodies and harmonies and their occasional quirkiness, it's still a great album. Easily their most digestible. If you haven't or don't listen to BTBAM regularly, you'll enjoy this album thoroughly, guaranteed. For the regulars, it might not be so easy to accept the slight change in sound. Then again, if you've been a fan from the beginning, change and evolution in style is something you've lived with, and something you'll have to get used to for many years to come.

"Adapt Or Die". There's really no better musical representation of that phrase than this album.

Review by Dapper~Blueberries
3 stars It's that time of day again where I review another album from my favorite metal band. So in 2015 after their goliath 2 part epic of The Parallax, it seems the band were hungry for more and wanted to tell more stories. So that was when Coma Ecliptic was conceived, a concept album about a man who is in a coma and explores his own psyche and his past lives. A lot less complex and epic than the Parallax but definitely something that can really be good if done right. This is probably their most divisive album. Mixed reviews from many sites from many people. Some say it is good but others do not like this album at all. I will give my two cents for this album in due time.

First song is Node. This song is an introductory piece for the album moving forward. It is another track that is a staple for the band's music, something that sets the mood. It builds throughout, taking its sweet time to really set the stage moving forward. Here we see the comatose man's introduction as his mind drifts onwards to a light. As everything begins to set in, some awesome guitars start to play. This song is great for really setting the feel for this album moving forward. It's definitely not their best first song out there but it isn't bad by any means.

Next up is The Coma Machine, and I freaking love this song. It goes through some awesome riffs and melodies, with the prominent one being the chorus. We get some of the band's most prominent and clean riffs and vocals here. You can feel the intensity while not being too overwhelmed. It moves through a ton of great movements that just drive home the band's progressive nature. I do admit the ending should've been a little better, but looping back to the beginning is fine but a little cheap. There is also a distinct lack of growls. They are still there but it's mostly singing. The album is clearly trying to do something different and unique here, focusing more on melodies and less on growls and trying to bring the heat up. It is kinda like how Ghost Reveries by Opeth did things, but here it is less classically attuned and more tech metal based. Here the comatose man in his status goes through an imaginary building filled with velvet walls. He soon discovers a machine that can rewind his memories back to his past lives, this is called The Coma Machine. Therefore with no way out of the room he is in, he uses the machine to go to another life. An interesting start for the story, definitely intrigued.

After that is Dim Ignition. This band really loves to experiment with genres and with this track it is less metal, and more electronic. I can definitely hear some inspiration from Vangelis or Kraftwerk in this song. The vocals are also smooth as butter. Tommy really is a great singer no matter if he is screaming or not. I do admit that this track feels a little too short. It has a great melody and everything but it feels like it got cheaped out with it being two minutes long. It's nothing to really fester over but it does feel very small. Here we see the comatose man experience his first life as king of a castle who then gets sieged. It feels very interesting how they managed to make this feel both like a story driven album that also feels as though it is like a normal album with songs that aren't really related to one another. I gotta say, I really dig this approach. It's very new and exciting for the band to be experimenting a little bit more than usual with their albums.

Next up is Famine Wolf. This song is very interesting but hard to describe without sounding like a broken record. It is heavy and progressive, which are staples to the band's sound, so there is not much to talk about there, so instead I'll talk about the vocals. Tommy's voice is just so great, he is definitely one of the best singers I have heard from any metal band. He sounds so smooth and clean. You can feel his words magnificently and it all ends up being these amazingly performed melodies. Even when he is screaming it feels very smoothly done so I gotta give props to that. Here the comatose man (who from now on I'll just Name Coma) arrives in his second life where was a scavenging wolf in an abandoned city, feasting on the weak but then gets caught and put down. Kind of a dark song, but it's what you kinda expect from this band.

King Redeem / Queen Serene is up next and this is probably the album's most varied track. The first half is very calm and pretty but the second half feels intense and brutal. You can just feel the shift in the two songs perfectly and I love that. It has that immaculate shift in tone that I cannot get enough of. It rises to this awesome sound. It also doesn't feel sudden too, you really do get that anticipation and it is brilliantly done. It is like a punch that was being pulled for so long and as it releases, it feels very powerful. Here we Coma reflect on himself as he is at a crossroads in his decisions. He doesn't know how to feel about himself and his past lives. This is just a great song all around to be honest.

After that is Turn on the Darkness. We get a lot more progressive aspects from the band on this one with some string work on here with some variations of their sound. It is eight minutes of very proggy elements that makes this song feel very at home in the BTBAM catalog of work. I do however have to say that the lack of growls really makes this feel rather soft in my opinion. It doesn't excite, it doesn't have enough teeth, you know? It's a good song, but I feel like it shoots itself in the knee with the lack of any real heaviness besides in musicianship. The story now shows Coma in a void of other comatosed patients who also used the Coma Machine, however have died and lost their spirits. It continues that dark and underlying motif of death in a limbo-like state. A very interesting concept for a story to have.

Next song is The Ectopic Stroll. This is more of the same as the last song but with more of a bouncy feel to it. You can feel a lot more rhythm to the song's riffs and drum patterns. It has a fun melody and it pays homage to the more fun and wacky aspects of Prog rock that I do enjoy. The song shows Coma meeting a god of sorts who decides to help him out on his journey of exploration. Kinda similar to Night Owl in Parallax, perhaps some interconnected lore? Probably just a coincidence though.

Next up is Rapid Calm. This song is practically void of growls and screams which as I mentioned before kinda make these songs not feel very heavy. Well this song is true to its name, it is not their heaviest song, not by a mile. It is very calm, and that is both good and bad. On one hand it is a new and great way of exploring new sounds for the band, but on the other it feels cheap. I want my Between The Buried and Me songs to feel at least a tiny bit more edgy, even their calmer tracks in the past still had that distinct style the band has had for decades. I think this song does have some edge, especially in the story, but even then it does feel rather void of any real sharp attributes. I appreciate the band for trying new stuff but sometimes the experimentation can fall flat. Continuing from the last song, Coma and the godlike being discover that the Coma Machine is breaking down and the velvet room is soon turning white, signifying death. Coma decides to go to a dream-like state and fix this entire conundrum so he can live another day.

Up next is Memory Palace. This may be their most progressively adjacent song ever. With the lack of any real growls, this feels like a homage to the early Prog of the 70s with the more complex yet safely done song structure. This is also the longest song on the album, being 9 minutes long, so we get a lot more densely packed epicness here. Despite it being 9 minutes it feels like a first part of a suite of sorts, and the next two songs on the album are kinda like the second and third parts, sorta making this a Prog epic in a way. I won't consider it to be, but the cards are definitely available. So Coma finds himself lost in thought and dreams. He is dying yet he feels alive in his dreams, so feels almost obligated to live the rest of his days in his mind, away from the burdens of the world, but he does feel like there should be more. A delima sets upon him.

Next track is Option Oblivion and it continues the sound and styles of Memory Palace while being a lot more technical in scope. I can definitely feel the band putting their all into this track to make it sound the best that it can be. Heck it also kinda harkens back to Swim To The Moon a little bit with the lines 'Breathe underwater, swim without limbs' so there's that too. In Coma's delima he decides to stay in the dream world. He gets swept through waters in his mind as he reawakens in a new place.

At the end of it all is Life In Velvet. This reprises the theme of The Coma Machine while giving an epic ending to this album. Even after death and turning into a spirit of dreams, Coma finds happiness in his new state, yet exhausted by the journey he went through to find his new resolve. Likewise, this song feels very celebratory as it ends on a more happy sounding crescendo and melody, ending off with a bang. They clearly wanted to at least make this album feel rewarding and I think this song succeeds in that regard. Not the longest, or complex ending out there, but it is a good way to end this album off.

I will say that this album is definitely mixed for me. The story is great and some of the songs are really excellent, but other parts of it makes me feel very unsure. I will say this is a perfectly fine album and one that can be very fun to go through, so really I think it's more just a matter of what you want out of your metal acts. I recommend it to those who want a tiny bit more softer death metal in their lives. It can also be a pretty good way to introduce someone to this band, so that's a plus too. This is a good album, but not amazing.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I must say I really feel great about the new band's direction. The older sound was most of the times too harsh for me, and actually I had to make an effort while listening to it. With this album, I don't need to, because I really enjoy it. Despite being still a heavy record, with this outcome they h ... (read more)

Report this review (#1527351) | Posted by Apocalypse in 9/8 | Tuesday, February 9, 2016 | Review Permanlink

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 t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1445269) | Posted by Insin | Sunday, July 26, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The moment I've been waiting for has finally arrived. After several months of anticipation, I have finally wrapped my hands around Between The Buried and Me's latest release. Well, figuratively, because I downloaded it off iTunes. I couldn't begin to tell you how impatient I've been for this r ... (read more)

Report this review (#1443233) | Posted by crashandridemusic | Tuesday, July 21, 2015 | Review Permanlink

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