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I'll say this straight off: 'Coma Ecliptic' is the most progressive album, thus far, in Between the Buried and Me's canon of work. It's also their most prog album. The former's conveyed through BTBAM's naturally and genuinely innovative proclivities, which is what's always made their albums a fresh and exhilarating listen amidst a myriad of self-imitative, generic metal acts regurgitating the same old clichés (however well those clichés might be executed). This remains true on 'Coma Ecliptic'. However, it's undermined, compromised and abated ever so slightly by the album's more traditional prog flavours that rear their head during proceedings... some might say, a little too often. As such, we're left with a record that's constituted by new, innovative compositional territory; sonic echoes of BTBAM's own progressively fuelled past; and traces of the prog scene's erstwhile idioms. The good news is that it all works totally seamlessly. The marginally bad news is that 'Coma Ecliptic' is not BTBAM's most radically innovative album. They seem to have reined in (or, simply refined, depending on your perception) the passages of crazily cacophonic extremity. These are still present, just more fleeting rather than sustained... and perhaps not quite as aurally deranged as on previous albums. This, however, I don't mind. BTBAM are, after all, one of the scene's most innovative acts, and to criticise them for progressing would be contrary to their essence. It's more a case of BTBAM's unpredictability edge is not quite as sharp as before. There still are a whole gamut of unpredictable twists and turns throughout the album, but when that unpredictability veers into trad-prog territory, it feels more like a minor shortfall than an exciting twist. Further, 'Dim Ignition' comes across a little more Thomas Giles than Tommy Rogers, so perhaps a little misplaced within BTBAM's aesthetic. Or perhaps not...

One thing I will say, despite my reservations about BTBAM's sporadically compromised innovation this time around, is that 'Coma Ecliptic' is an album with so much depth and diversity. So much so, that each new listen revels previously unnoticed sonic twists that evidently cannot be digested all at once through its diverse essence. And it's not only compositionally diverse but also attains a disparity through the complexly layered nature of the songs (which have been mixed to perfection by the ever reliable Jens Bogren). The overall affect is one of incessantly changing moods... which is apposite for the album's concept of "an unidentified man, stuck in a coma, as he journeys through his past lives." Further, each of the musicians play their respective arses off - it's the usual high level of musicianship one has come to expect from BTBAM. If you can, however, get over the prog mimicry that characterises certain passages of music (albeit, I hasten to add, still flavoured with a melodically original impetus), or actually welcome the more traditional prog flavours more than I have, then you'll undoubtedly hail this as amongst the band's finest work, if not their finest. For me, it's another strong BTBAM album, although falls just a little short of the innovative might of 'The Great Misdirect' and 'The Parallax II: Future Sequence'.
Metal Blade
Review by Mark Holmes
10th July 2015
1) Node
2) The Coma Machine
3) Dim Ignition
4) Famine Wolf
5) King Redeem - Queen Serene
6) Turn on the Darkness
7) The Ectopic Stroll
8) Rapid Calm
9) Memory Palace
10) Option Oblivion
11) Life in Velvet
"...a record that's constituted by new, innovative compositional territory; sonic echoes of BTBAM's own progressively fuelled past; and traces of the prog scene's erstwhile idioms."