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In my review of Between the Buried and Me's last album, 2015's Coma Ecliptic, I asserted it's "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." Nearly two years on, I still hold the same opinion, and stick by my 8.5 out of 10 score. Many hailed the work as the band's most accomplished and finest album ever. I, however, seemed to be in a minority. I could appreciate its merits within its own sonic space; and, perhaps, it is BTBAM's most accomplished work... but not necessarily their most original or radically innovative. It was the album's more traditional prog flavours, in places, that made this a little more regressive than progressive... at least, to my ears. More prog than progressive, if you will. Still, this was a minor criticism, as the album still succeeded in shitting on most other so-called "progressive" bands' works.

So, just under two years on and Metal Blade are releasing a live rendition of 'Coma Ecliptic', performed in its entirety, from a gig at The Observatory North Park in San Diego, CA. And, if record label press blurb is to be believed, said show took place on the 4th October 2017. Fucking remarkable! I had no idea BTBAM's musical talents extended to time travel! Also released in audio-visual formats (DVD; BD), it's just the audio that's been made available for review here... and it's all rather spectacular.

When I asked the band's sticksman, Blake Richardson, a few years ago in an interview, about the possibility of BTBAM performing their 'The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues' EP and its companion album, 'The Parallax II: Future Sequence', in their entirety at a live show, he responded with: "Physically, we know we could do it but I donít know if I could fit that much music in my head! Iíve already flushed some stuff out! When we do new material I have to let go of a bunch of other stuff!" So, it should in no small way be underestimated, or taken for granted, just what BTBAM have achieved through this live performance. To perform all of the 'Coma Ecliptic' songs so flawlessly, and with such a raw sounding energy; to affectively convey all of the album's shifting moods in such an emotionally heightened way... it's awe-inspiring stuff. So, kudos to BTBAM for this undertaking and its success.

I know that live albums can prove to be a bit divisive amongst music fans... some people love 'em, some can take or leave 'em. But, here's the bottom line: you want to hear organic, living, breathing, rawer versions of the 'Coma Ecliptic' songs with a nicely polished, yet fully live, sound? Buy this beauty as soon as it's released. I've even upped my original album score by a whole mark. The original album is its own beast. However, this live release is, for me, how the songs should be heard. Phenomenal.
Metal Blade
Review by Mark Holmes
28th April 2017
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
"The original album is its own beast. However, this live release is... how the songs should be heard. Phenomenal."