It’s been roughly 3 years since Between the Buried and Me have released a new album, and they’ve just announced the release date for their newest, which is about average when it comes to space between album releases. Set for a release on July 10th, under the affect of the newly established shift for global release dates to Friday, the album titled Coma Ecliptic is framed to be a ‘modern rock opera’ and a pretty ambitious concept album from the band. At least, anything that can be compared to something as grandiose as an opera has to be ambitious to some degree. Dan Briggs commented on how the band ended up landing on such a big sound for this particular endeavor, saying:
"Spending the last year immersed in a world of Quadrophenia, Operation Mindcrime, The Wall- as well as Sondheim and Lloyd Webber musicals, Stravinsky and Mussorgsky symphonic suites; writing an over the top, dramatic and forward thinking rock opera was the most natural thing to do.”
The band also offered a description of the concept for this album online:
“The story follows the wanderings of an unidentified man, stuck in a coma, as he journeys through his past lives. Each song is its own episode in a modern day, sort of The Twilight Zone-esque fashion. The unidentified man enters each world and is offered a choice: stay, or move on to the next in search of something better, something more ‘perfect.’ The man does find his ideal life, but then is offered the ultimate choice of life or death. He chooses life and wakes up to his own actual reality.
It’s at that moment he realizes that he had been in a coma – everything that happened had been dreams and false memories. After awakening, we find the man outside finally experiencing reality, and he sees what he has been missing: the world is beautiful, the air is fresh, and the people appear to be happy, and then he falls over dead. The take away from this is to make the best of your life. People are constantly searching for something better without taking the time to appreciate the things they have. What we need may already be here, and is hopefully real. We may all be in a coma in another life.”
And with that, the band offered a song from the album. At a hefty 9 minutes long, the song definitely seems grand, at least from the outside:
The song is a lot to process altogether, being 9 minutes long, but if you take a step back, it becomes much easier to wrap your head around. Instrumentally, it’s quite clear that the song takes a lot of elements from early prog rock, with the organ-like synth constantly complementing the lead guitar, and the church-choir like vocals on the chorus. Structurally and stylistically, the song seems to move in a very narrative-focused structure, which is to be expected for a concept album. It’s also worth mentioning how often styles are changed in the songs: the percussion is often switched to feature some cowbell, the vocals shift rapidly between growling, manic high pitch rambling, and monotone chanting, as well as the guitar leads, which frequently break away from a slower more melancholy style into something more aggressive, and fast-paced.
Overall, the song is very strong for a single, and feels like some of the band’s most expansive material yet. Whether it lives up to the work of someone like Stravinsky or other prog rock operas, however, is up to the individual to decide Only time will tell how the full album turns out, but for now, this is a great start.