Between the Buried and Me – Coma Ecliptic (Metal Blade)

Genre: Progressive Metal

Between the Buried and Me’s 2012 masterpiece, The Parallax II: Future Sequence, will always take some beating, such was its grandeur and breathtaking scope. The follow-up, Coma Ecliptic, doesn’t quite match its illustrious predecessor, but it comes close. And written as a rock opera (following BTBAM’s immersion in the works of everyone from Pink Floyd to Sondheim) it’s nothing if not ambitious.

The opening 20 minutes certainly see the quintet on exhilarating form: there are moments, for instance on The Coma Machine or Famine Wolf, when the many elements that make up BTBAM coalesce to create pure musical bliss.

Although their seventh full-length drags a little towards its conclusion, this band can still hit heights that few of their peers can ever reach. It helps when they have a singer as talented as Tommy Rogers on board, and a guitarist as revered as Paul Waggoner to back him up. However, the North Carolina act are much more than the sum of their parts, and as they veer from extreme metal to cinematic soundscapes, to calmer, melodic waters, you know that they’re following their own, unique path. Awe-inspiring. Richard Holmes

RUSHONROCK RATED: 8.5/10 Awakening