Between the Buried and Me – Coma Ecliptic (Review)

BTBAMBetween the Buried and Me are a progressive Extreme Metal band from the US. This is their eighth album.

If you haven’t encountered Between the Buried and Me before then you’re in for a treat. They’re one of the best examples of a band individualising what they do, and what they do is progressive Extreme Technical Metal. It’s a bit of a mouthful but it’s hard to describe this band in simple terms. Over the course of their career they’ve pretty much done it all, and over time they’re only getting more ambitious with their releases.

As with anything like this though, it’s not for everyone. If you favour music that has traditional song structures and predictable layouts, then move quietly along. If, however, you like the idea of listening to a band that can effortlessly combine the type of stuff you’d hear from bands like Queen, Deicide, Dream Theatre and The Dillinger Escape Plan, while simultaneously remaining entirely their own entity, then make sure you check this out.

This latest album is as ambitious and grandiose as always, more so in many respects. Piano and keyboards probably feature even more heavily than previously and add to the progressive structures in innumerable ways.

The singer uses both clean vocals and growls, although there seems to be a trend developing now that shows him using his clean vocals more and more. This is reflected in the music too, as the band use blast beats more sparingly than they used too as well. It may be less extreme than some of their other work, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any more accessible for the average listener. After all, there are more ways to be extreme than just playing fast.

The music is flawlessly delivered and the level of musicianship on Coma Ecliptic is staggeringly high; this is a band who know how to work their instruments. The compositions are long and involved, as usual, although the average track length is slightly shorter than some of their previous work.

Eschewing anything close to standard song structures, Between the Buried and Me are all about the song sections and how these holistically fit together. There’s a lot to take in over these 69 minutes and the album certainly requires multiple spins to give up its secrets.

All of the songs have their own personality, as you would imagine, and it’s easy to differentiate between them. They’ve always been a highly textured and nuanced band, and this only seems to be becoming more pronounced over time.

Anyone into challenging music that successfully mixes progressive music with extremity, heaviness and quirkiness should definitely check this out.

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