After the release of their progressive metal masterpiece Coma Ecliptic in 2015, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME have toured extensively across the world since, in support of it. April 2017 marks the release of their live album documenting this, Coma Ecliptic: Live. It was recorded in its entirety at The Observatory in San Diego, in October 2016.
BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME are no strangers to the live album – this is their third, having released Colors_Live in 2008 and Future Sequence Live at the Fidelitorium in 2014. This live album marks a departure from the style of Future Sequence Live at the Fidelitorium, in that it is a full live concert rather than a live studio recording. It is easy to be sceptical about an album such as Coma Ecliptic being translated well in full into a live setting, due to its sonic variety and conceptual nature; however the band waste no time in smashing this preconception into pieces.
From powerful the intro and opening track combination of Node and The Coma Machine all the way to epic closer Life in Velvet, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME deliver an astonishingly tight and technical performance on Coma Ecliptic: Live. Highlights especially come from the vocal performance of frontman Tommy Rogers, whose clean vocal range contrasts impressively with his aggressive death-metal uncleans. However, the true stars of this live performance were the musicians. BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME‘s music is complex, progressive and highly technical regardless, however the fact that bassist Dan Briggs, guitarists Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring and drummer Blake Richardson all completely nail their parts on every song is a testament to the skill of this band.
Blake Richardson’s technicality in changing time signatures and polyrhythms shines through on faster tracks such as Famine Wolf and Memory Palace, while guitarist Dustie Waring delivers a beautiful and atmospheric solo at the end of The Ectopic Stroll that really is a testament to how accurate this band’s live sound is to their studio recording. Another important point of note is that BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME did not lose the feeling of this performance being in a live setting – throughout the recording you can hear the audience clapping along and people whistling, whilst the instrumentals and vocals are perfectly crisp.
Overall, Coma Ecliptic: Live is an utterly stellar live album, perfectly capturing the soaring epic soundscapes and story of Coma Ecliptic – a truly landmark progressive metal album. As bassist Dan Briggs said for Metal Blade Records: “It’s such an important record for us and our progression as a band and the visual representation captures the moods of our tragic tale so well.” It should be noted that Coma Ecliptic: Live is released primarily in video format, as the band intended the full live experience to be translated through the use of GoPro cameras placed throughout the venue and on the band’s instruments. However, it goes to show how impressive the album is that even just in the audio format, their live performance more than does justice to the studio recording of Coma Ecliptic.
Coma Ecliptic: Live is out now via Metal Blade Records.
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