Metal Blade Sharp As Ever With New BTBAM, Fates Warning Live Recordings

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Metal Blade Records has two new live recordings out today, and they are recordings that both deserve a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new live recordings.  The recordings in question are Between The Buried and Me’s Coma Ecliptic Live and Fates Warning’s Awaken The Guardian Live. Both deserve one of those critical spots in part due to their set lists.  This will be discussed shortly.  The respective performances in each recording are just as important to note as the set lists.  The recordings’ production values round out the recordings’ most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right to the recordings’ presentations.  All things considered, both recordings prove to be offerings that fans of each band will appreciate and that, again, deserve a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new live recordings.

Coma Ecliptic Live and Awaken The Guardian Live are both recordings that are deserving of a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new live recordings.  That is due in no small part to the set lists featured in the recordings.  The set lists stand out because they are not just collections of songs.  Instead, each is a full album from its respective band.  For Between the Buried and Me, the album in question is the band’s latest album Coma Ecliptic.  For Fates Warning, the album is the classic album Awaken The Guardian. Both concerts were very recently recorded.  The prior was recorded during BTBAM’s October 4, 2016 concert at The Observatory North Park in San Diego, CA while the latter was recorded in 2016, too.  Regardless of whether one chooses the concerts’ 2 CD/DVD combo pack, Blu-ray, or deluxe edition, audiences will get both concerts on each platform.  BTBAM’s concert is also available in multiple formats, giving audiences just as much chance to enjoy that concert in various ways, too.  Having noted all this, it should be clear why the set lists featured in both bands’ new recordings are so important.  Sure, they are not the only bands to ever perform an album in whole at a concert.  How many bands or acts in general have ever released those performances for their fans?  Some have, yes.  But such recordings are not overly prevalent regardless of genre.  To that end, the set lists presented in these recordings gain even more importance in the recordings’ presentations.  Of course the set lists are only part of what makes each recording stand out.  The bands’ performances are just as important to note as the shows’ set lists.

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

The set lists featured in Fates Warning and BTBAM’s new live recordings are clearly important parts of each recording’s whole.  They are however, not the recordings’ only important elements.  The bands’ performances in each recording are just as important to note as the shows’ set lists.  In regards to BTBAM’s performance of Coma Ecliptic Live, the band takes little, if any, time between songs.  Rather, the band proceeds smoothly from one track to the next, keeping the album’s story moving from one song to the next.  The result is that even home audiences are pulled completely into the show, fully ensuring their engagement from beginning to end.  That is a powerful statement even for the concert’s audio-only presentation.  The performances put on by Fates Warning are just as impressive. The reunion of the band’s original lineup created an energy in its performance that is difficult to top from any similar act.  Original front man Jon Arch’s vocals soar while guitarist Jim Matheos and drummer Steve Zimmerman collectively pack their own musical punch throughout the shows.  The same can be said of bassist Joe DiBiase.  What’s more, the band wastes just as little time between songs in its performances, too, opting instead to let their performances do the talking for them.  That element of the performance, just as with BTBAM’s new live recording, keeps this band’s fans just as engaged as those of BTBAM or any other band.  Keeping that in mind it becomes fully clear why the performances put on by both bands are so critical to each act’s recording.  The performances are not the last of the recordings’ most important elements.  Their production values round out their most important elements.

The set lists and performances presented in both BTBAM’s new live recording and that of Fates Warning are both key to said recordings’ presentations.  That is evident in the fact that the set lists are made of one full album each rather than being random collections of songs.  The performances take audiences straight through said albums with little to no downtime between songs. Considering this, it is clear why each element is so important.  The noted elements are not the recordings’ only key elements.  Their production values are just as critical in their presentations as the aforementioned elements.  That is because it is those values that determine how well (or not) the recordings translate to home audiences.  Luckily for each band, the recordings’ production values stand out for the most positive reasons.  In the case of Coma Ecliptic Live, audiences are treated to expertly mixed audio, camera angles that take audiences up close and personal with the band and editing that just as expertly captures the energy and emotion of every song.  Much the same can be said of Awaken The Guardian Live.  Even in the case of the recordings’ audio-only platforms, the sound mixing is so well handled that audiences are pulled just as much into the concerts.  Between the expertly handled audio, the camera work and the recordings’ editing, the whole of the recordings’ production values form the foundation for each recording, a foundation on which the previously discussed set lists and performances rest easily.  All things considered, each recording proves to be enjoyable for the bands’ respective audiences.  They prove to be among the year’s top new live recordings.

Come Ecliptic Live and Awaken The Guardian Live are among this year’s top new live recordings.  They are presentations that fans of Between The Buried and Me and Fates Warning will all enjoy.  That is due to set lists that give audiences full album experiences and performances of said albums that will keep home audiences just as engaged as the audiences who attended the events in person.  The concerts’ production values across their varied platforms put the finishing touch on each recording’s presentation.  That is because they wholly pull audiences into the concerts regardless of platform.  Each element, as has been discussed already, plays its own integral part in the recordings’ presentations.  All things considered, they make each recording presentations that are memorable concerts; concerts that fans of each band will enjoy, leaving them agreeing each one deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new live recordings.  Each recording is available in stores and online now.  More information on each recording is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.metalblade.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/metalbladerecords

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MetalBlade

 

 

 

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Nova Collective Unveils ‘Dancing Machines’ Video

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

The Nova Collective unveiled this week, the video for the lead single from its upcoming debut album The Further Side, which will be released March 10 via Metal Blade Records.

The band—comprised of members of Between The Buried and Me, Haken, Trioscapes and Cynic—unveiled an in-studio video featuring a performance of the album’s lead single ‘Dancing Machines.’ The video can be viewed online now here.

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

The song’s arrangement is a composition that will appeal to fans of Scale The Summit, Liquid Tension Experiment, Trioscapes and others of that ilk.

The Further Side will be available on CD, black 180-gram vinyl, and limited edition clear-red marble LP as well as via digital outlets.  The record’s clear-red marble pressing is being limited to only 200 copies, so supplies of that pressing are very limited.  Audiences can pre-order The Further Side online now here.

Nova Collective was born in 2014 when bassist Dan Briggs (Between the Buried and Me, Trioscapes) and guitarist Richard Henshall (Haken) starting discussing music via e-mail.  The pair fleshed out some demos not long after discussions started. Drummer Matt Lynch (Trioscapes, Cynic) and keyboardist Pete Jones (ex-Haken) came on board not too much later, helping to finish the album.

The band was written and composed on both sides of the Atlantic.  Session files were shared between the band’s members until it was possible for them to rehearse and record the music together.

Those joint sessions began in early 2015 with engineer Jamie King (Between the Buried and Me, The Contortionist) at the helm.  Rich Mouser (Transatlantic, Spock’s Beard, Neal Morse Band) mixed the record.

More information on The Nova Collective’s new video is available online along with all of the latest updates on its upcoming album and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.metalblade.com/novacollective

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/novacollectivefusion

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Felix Martin Announces New Album’s Release Date, Specs

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Guitarist Felix Martin has new music on the way.

The virtuoso guitarist will release his new album Mechanical Nations on Friday, February 24.  The album was self-produced by Martin and mixed with Jamie King (Between The Buried and Me).

Martin said the music in the album was inspired by the people and music of South America. He added the album’s artwork was created by his own mother.

“The artwork represents South America “Mechanized,” Martin said. “Many of the songs on this album are inspired by South American traditional melodies and inspired by locations that were then “Mechanized” so to say in a progressive format.  “Barquisimetal” is a good example – it is a place in Venezuela that inspired melodies and the landscape brought out that creative spark. Many South American countries, especially places like Venezuela, are heavily industrial-based economies. The hard work of the people and how it shaped the countries themselves seemed fitting for a progressive rock record. In the background of the artwork, you can see “Petare”, it’s one of the poorest neighborhoods in Caracas, but one of my favorite places in my home country Venezuela.”

Martin said the album’s goal was to force himself to evolve and branch out as an artist.

“The overall goal with this album was to discover unique and new sounds from the electric guitar and to make an instrumental rock/metal record with a Latin spark that sounds band-based,” Martin said. “The music ended up being more melodic and accessible for a broader audience (from the metal, to pop, to jazz etc). I also challenged myself to not use distortion, play solos, or even lead-solo melodies, as I wanted to focus on what makes me different on the guitar and put the whole band under the spotlight.”

The track listing for Martin’s new album is noted below.

 

Mechanical Nations track listing:

1) Flashback

2) Carnatt

3) Eight Moon Headdress

4) Nomadic Tree

5) Da House Cat

6) Cosmo Basket

7) Bom

8) Bom Continues

9) Cardboard Roofs

10) Santos (feat. Angel Vivaldi)

11) Barquisimetal

12) King Zartman

13) Four Handed Giant

14) Canaima

15) Bridge Clock Disparity

 

More information on Mechanical Nations is available online now along with all of Felix Martin’s latest news, tour updates and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.felixmartin.net

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/felixmartinmusic

Twitter: http://twitter.com/felixmartin14

 

 

 

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Leprous Announces New Live Dates; Offers Update On Live DVD

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Leprous North American Tour 2017 Tour Poster

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leprous has announced a new, extensive, tour schedule.

The Norwegian prog-metal band has announced an extensive new tour schedule.  The tour includes a 23-date North American headlining tour beginning Tuesday, September 27th in Atlanta, Georgia.  The tour will take the band throughout both the United States and Canada and wraps Saturday, October 27th in Mexico City, Mexico.  The band is also scheduled to perform at a trio of festivals, one of which is in the midst of that North American tour.  The other two festivals come ahead of and following the band’s upcoming tour.  After the band wraps  its North American Tour it will take off the rest of the year in order to rest and recharge for its European tour with Between The Buried and Me and Devin Townsend Project.  That tour launches January 28th in Antwerpen, Belgium and runs through March 10th in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  Vocalist and keyboardist Einar Solberg discussed the European tour in a recent interview noting, “We’re very happy to be a part of such a fantastic tour package, and it will be pure joy to play together with both Between The Buried And Me and Devin Townsend Project! We believe this tour can help us up to the next level, and that there are many potential new followers to convince here!”  Both of the band’s upcoming tour schedules are noted below.

 

Here is a list of all upcoming shows for LEPROUS:
 
LEPROUS – European festival dates 2016:
08.11.2016 Josefov (Czech Republic) – Brutal Assault Open Air / www.brutalassault.cz
09.03.2016 Bryne (Norway) – Brynerocken / www.brynerocken.no
11.04.2016 Barcelona (Spain) – AMFest / www.amfest.es
LEPROUS – North American headline tour with Earthside, Binary Code and Dissona:
09.27.2016 Atlanta, GA – Vinyl at Center Stage
09.28.2016 Baltimore, MD – Cafe 611
09.29.2016 TBA
09.30.2016 New York City, NY – Gramercy Theater
10.01.2016 Niagara Falls, NY – The Rapids Theater
10.02,2016 Ottawa, ON – Mavericks
10.03,2016 Montreal, QC – TBA
10.04/05.2016 Quebec City, QC – TBA
10.06.2016 Toronto, ON – The Garrison
10.07,2016 Detroit, MI – Token Lounge
10.08.2016 Chicago, IL – Reggie’s
10.09.2016 Minneapolis, MN – TBA
10.11.2016 Calgary AB – Distortion
10.12.2016 Vancouver, BC – Red Room
10.13.2016 Seattle, WA – Studio Seven
10.14.2016 Portland, OR – High Water Mark
10.15.2016 San Francisco, CA – Brick & Mortar Music Hall
10.16.2016 Los Angeles, CA – Complex
10.17.2016 Phoenix, AZ – Club Red
10.19.2016 San Antonio, TX – Rockbox
10.20.2016 Fort Worth, TX – Tomcats West
10.21.2016 Kansas City, MO – Riot Room
10.22.2016 Mexico City, MX – Foro Indie Rocks * LEPROUS only!
LEPROUS – European tour with Devin Townsend Project and Between The Buried And Me:
01.28.017 Antwerpen (Belgium) – Trix * No BTBAM
01.30.2017 Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg) – Rockhal
01.31.2017 Paris (France) – Bataclan
02.01.2017 Bordeaux (France) – Rockschool Barbey
02.03.2017 Madrid (Spain) – La Reviera
02.04.2017 Barcelona (Spain) – Razzmatazz 2
02.05.2017 Marseille (France) – Le Moulin
02.07.2017 Milan (Italy) – Live Club
02.08.2017 Pratteln (Switzerland) – Z7
02.09.2017 Stuttgart (Germany) – LKA Longhorn
02.10.2017 Munich (Germany) – Backstage
02.12.2017 Zagreb (Croatia) – Tvornica Club
02.13.2017 Budapest (Hungary) – A38
02.14.2017 Vienna (Austria) – Arena
02.16.2017 Prague (Czech Republic) – The Roxy
02.17.2017 Leipzig (Germany) – Täubchenthal
02.18.2017 Kraków (Poland) – Kwadrat
02.19.2017 Warsaw (Poland) – Stodola
02.21.2017 Hamburg (Germany) – Grünspan
02.22.2017 Aarhus (Denmark) – Voxhall
02.23.2017 Göteborg (Sweden) – Pustervik
02.25.2017 Bergen (Norway) – Blastfest
02.26.2017 Oslo (Norway) – Sentrum Scene
02.28.2017 Helsinki (Finland) – The Circus
03.01.2017 Seinajoki (Finland) – Rytmikorjaamo
03.03.2017 Stockholm (Sweden) – Berns
03.04.2017 Malmö (Sweden) – KB
03.05.2017 Copenhagen (Denmark) – Amager Bio
03.07.2017 Berlin (Germany) – Columbia Theater
03.08.2017 Dortmund (Germany) – FZW
03.09.2017 Tilburg (The Netherlands) – 013
03.10.2017 Amsterdam (The Netherlands) – De Melkweg

 

Along with its upcoming tour dates, the band is also putting the finishing touches on its new live DVD, which is currently set to be released later this year.  Its title has not yet been revealed.  Solberg discussed the DVD in his interview, too noting what fans can expect from the recording in comparison to so many other live recordings out there.  “The recording of the DVD went great, and it was one of the best nights of our career so far!,” he said.  We just received the rough mix of the Audio, and we can tell that it’s definitely approved. On most live albums these days, bands are re-recording most of the stuff afterwards in the studio, to make it sound “perfect”. For us that’s out of question. We wanna keep the live feel, especially to give a big contrast to the rather “perfected” studio albums! Definitely more organic!”

Leprous’ new live DVD and its upcoming tour are in support of its most recent full-length studio recording The Congregation.  It is still available now in standard jewel case CD, digital download, limited edition Media Book CD, and 2LP platform.  The 2LP platform also includes a bonus track titled ‘Pixel.’  The album can be purchased in physical  form throughout Europe from the IOM web shop.  While audiences await the band’s upcoming live dates and live DVD, they can check out the video for ‘The Price’ now here.  It is one of the songs included in the body of The Congregation.  Audiences can also view the lyric video for ‘Slave’ online via the band’s official YouTube channel.  ‘Rewind’ is streaming in full now also via SoundCloud.

More information on Leprous’ upcoming tour, live DVD, news, and more is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.leprous.net

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/leprousband

Twitter: http://twitter.com/leprousband

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Slayer Reclaims The Metal Throne In 2015

There’s only a week and a half left in 2015 after this week. That means that the days are finally really ticking away. And as they pass by so do the year-ender lists from all of the critics. That includes this critic. So far this month, Phil’s Picks has revealed its top new EPs, World Music albums, County, etc. albums, Rap and Hip-Hop albums, Children’s albums, and Rock albums. There have even been lists for the year’s best new live CD recording and album re-issues. Now we come down to the last two lists of the music universe for this year. Today the first of those lists will be revealed. That list is the list of the year’s best new Hard Rock and Heavy Metal albums. The second and final music list of the year is the year’s best overall albums. That list will come alongside the list of the year’s top new movies later on. So for now, today brings the last of the music year-enders. And it’s quite a doozy. It was anything but easy to assemble. Slayer grabbed the top spot with its new album Repentless. Saxon is there, too as is Annihilator, Gloomball, Between The Buried and Me, and many others. As with every previous list, the Top 10 albums make up the main body of the list. The bottom five are each honorable mention as they simply could not be ignored. That brings the total list to fifteen albums. SO without further ado, here for your reading pleasure, dear readers, are the Phil’s Picks 2015 Top 10 New Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Albums.

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2015 TOP 10 NEW HARD ROCK/METAL ALBUMS

  1. SLAYERREPENTLESS

 

  1. TESSERACT – POLARIS

 

  1. SCALE THE SUMMIT – V

 

  1. BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME – COMA ECLIPTIC

 

  1. SEVENDUST – KILL THE FLAW

 

  1. GLOOMBALL – THE QUIET MONSTER

 

  1. ARMORED SAINT – WIN HANDS DOWN

 

  1. SAXON – BATTERING RAM

 

  1. LAMB OF GOD – VII: STURM UND DRANG

 

  1. MOTORHEAD – BAD MAGIC

 

  1. ANNIHILATOR – SUICIDE SOCIETY

 

  1. ATREYU – LONG LIVE

 

  1. ACT OF DEFIANCE – BIRTH AND THE BURIAL

 

  1. BATTLECROSS – RISE TO POWER

 

  1. HAMMERCULT – BUILT FOR WAR

 

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Native Construct Debuts New Video, Announces New Tour Dates

Native Construct has released a very special new video for its fans.

The prog-metal band has released a video featuring front man Robert Edens performing a rendition of the song ‘Empty Chairs at Empty Tables.’ For those that might not be familiar with the song, it is taken from Andrew Lloyd Weber’s beloved musical adaptation of author Victor Hugo’s book Les Miserables. The song in question is performed after Marius’ friends are killed during the revolution staged at the barricade. Its musical content reprises the song performed during an earlier scene in which the Bishop of Digne allows Jean Valjean to escape arrest. Audiences can check out the video online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqHRzZbE6Ek.

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

The band’s guitarist Myles Yang discussed the influence behind the performance, noting that much of the band’s sound is influenced by musical theater thus making this song a natural fit. “I’m sure you can hear the musical theatre influence in the music of Native Construct,” he said. He added in his discussion that Les Miserables is one of the band members’ favorite musicals, saying We’re big fans of it, and this is a tune from an old favorite of ours, Les Misérables. Yang also offered a thorough history on how Eden’s performance here came to be. The following is Yang’s explanation of how the current presentation goes all the way back to the band members’ days in college and didn’t fully come to be realized until now. I did this arrangement for Rob to sing on back in our freshman year of college, just for fun,” he said. “We did a little recording of it in a dorm room, and that was that.” From there, Yang went on to explain how everything progressed up to the point of the performance presented in the band’s new video. Yang’s explanation is as follows:

“Fast forward to a few weeks ago — our guitarist, Poh Hock, was competing in the .strandberg* Guitar Competition. A portion of the competition was decided by popular vote, and we called on our fans for assistance. Turns out we have a great little community going here; we received an outstanding amount of support, and Poh Hock ended up taking first place in the competition. So, as a token of our appreciation, we decided to dust off this old arrangement and make a new and improved version of it for everyone to enjoy.”

“We recorded all new vocals from Rob, and he also did a fresh mix and master of the whole thing. And Max Harchik (bass) directed, shot, and edited a video of it all, for your viewing pleasure. Thanks again, guys; hope you like it!”

Along with the premiere of its new video, Native Construct also announced this week that it will head back out on the road this fall alongside Enslaved and its label mate Between The Buried and Me. The twenty-four-date tour kicks off Wednesday, November 18th in Cincinnati, Ohio and runs through Thursday, December 17th in Charlotte, North Carolina. The band’s upcoming tour is in support of its debut album Quiet World, which is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct via the band’s page at Metal Blade Records’ website at http://www.metalblade.com/nativeconstruct/. The complete schedule for the upcoming tour is listed below.

Native Construct tour dates
w/ Between The Buried And Me, Enslaved, Intronaut

Nov. 18 – Cincinnati, OH – Bogart’s
Nov. 19 – Chicago, IL – House of Blues
Nov. 20 – Detroit, MI – St. Andrews Hall
Nov. 21 – Cleveland, OH – House of Blues
Nov. 23 – Minneapolis, MN – Skyway Theater
Nov. 24 – Lincoln, NE – Bourbon Theater
Nov. 25 – Denver, CO – The Summit Music Hall
Nov. 27 – Reno, NV – Knitting Factory
Nov. 28 – San Francisco, CA – The Regency Ballroom
Nov. 29 – Los Angeles, CA – Mayan Theatre
Dec. 1 – Scottsdale, AZ – Livewire
Dec. 2 – Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater
Dec. 3 – El Paso, TX – Tricky Falls
Dec. 4 – Lubbock, TX – Lonestar Pavilion
Dec. 5 – San Antonio, TX – The Aztec Theatre
Dec. 6 – Dallas, TX – House of Blues
Dec. 8 – Atlanta, GA – Center Stage
Dec. 10 – Toronto, ON – The Danforth Music Hall
Dec. 11 – Ottawa, ON – Bronson Centre
Dec. 12 – Boston, MA – House of Blues
Dec. 13 – Philadelphia, PA – Theatre Of Living Arts
Dec. 15 – New York, NY – Irving Plaza
Dec. 16 – Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage
Dec. 17 – Charlotte, NC – The Fillmore

More information on Native Construct’s upcoming tour and album is available online along with Edens’ performance of ‘Empty Chairs at Empty Tables’ and all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.metalblade.com/nativeconstruct

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NativeConstruct

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Coma Ecliptic Is Yet Another Impressive Effort From One Of Prog-Metal’s Leaders

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Between The Buried and Me is one of the top names in the progressive music community today and more specifically the prog-rock and metal communities. Ever since its formation in 2000, the North Carolina-based band has remained well under the mainstream radar but still managed to consistently build its fan base. It has built that fan base by consistently re-inventing itself from one album to the next over the course of its past seven albums. Now with the release of its eighth full-length studio recording Coma Ecliptic, released this summer, the band has re-invented itself yet again and once more proven why it has continued to build its fan base and reputation within the rock and metal realms. Much like its previous pairing of recordings released via Metal Blade Records–The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues (EP–2011) and The Parallax II: Future Sequence (2012)–the band’s latest effort is another concept record. While technically being only the band’s second full-length concept record, it is still completely unlike The Parallax and its “sequel” and any of the band’s other previous offerings. This applies both in terms of the album’s musical and lyrical content. Both elements are key to the album’s overall listening experience. Bringing everything full circle here is the album’s production and final mix. The work of those behind the boards resulted in an album that captures every nuance of the band members’ work from beginning to end. All things considered, Coma Ecliptic proves to be yet another impressive addition to BTBAM’s already impressive body of work and another work deserving of its own spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new hard rock and metal albums.

Between The Buried and Me’s latest full-length studio effort is one of the best of this year’s crop of new hard rock and metal offerings. It is also one more example of why the North Carolina-based prog-metal act is one of the leading names within the prog-metal and metal communities today. The main reason that it proves to be such an impressive record is its lyrical content. Long-time fans will be pleased to know that with this record, the band didn’t just go and make another album along the lines of its 2011 EP The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues and its 2012 follow-up The Parallax II: Future Sequence. Rather the band opted for something completely different. The concept behind this record is the story of a man who puts himself intentionally into a coma in order to escape a world with which he has become rather disenfranchised. The result of the decision is that the unnamed subject finds that he has lived many times before. As he travels through these past lives, he is faced with more than one tough choice along the way and a result that is just as interesting as the story itself. The premise itself is not the first time that a prog-rock or prog-metal band has covered such a topic. Audiences can find related topics in albums from Dream Theater (Metropolis 2000) and Ayreon (The Theory of Everything) just to name a couple examples. The concepts presented in those albums are similar to the one presented here but are still separate from that presented in Coma Ecliptic. It is a concept that is certain to really have fans and audiences in general thinking and talking on so many levels. Considering that, Coma Ecliptic’s lyrical content forms a solid foundation on which the rest of its positives sit solidly, making in turn an album that is one of the best of the year’s prog-metal offerings and hard rock and metal offerings in whole.

The concept behind BTBAM’s latest full-length effort does plenty to make the record a great listen for fans and audiences in general. It does so much in fact that it alone is more than enough reason for any critic to add Coma Ecliptic to their list of the year’s best new hard rock and metal albums. It is just one part of what makes the album such a success. The album’s musical makeup plays just as much of a role in its success as its lyrical content. Just as the band switched things up and re-invented itself lyrically so did it re-invent itself musically, too. That is because there is no way that the sound used as the backing for the band’s Parallax records could have possibly worked with this record. Most notable of the sound presented throughout this record is that front man Tommy Rogers’ death metal growls are used far less here than in the band’s previous records. There are more clean vocals utilized from start to finish than in any of the band’s previous offerings. That is not necessarily a bad thing. That is because it allows Rogers to show even more the range of his vocal abilities. Just as interesting to note about the record’s sound is its noticeable similarity to the work of Dream Theater. More specifically, one can hear hints of the band’s 2007 record Systematic Chaos at points throughout this record. The addition of the electronic sound exhibited in ‘Dim Ignition’ adds even more variety, and in turn interest, to the album. It sounds like something that one might expect from Daft Punk with its keyboards. And that’s not a bad thing, either. As a matter of fact, the mysterious tone established through this sound and the song’s musical content, which seems to hint that the album’s subject is experiencing one of his past lives, paint a vivid picture that will definitely keep listeners engaged and thinking. It is just one of so many examples of how the evolution of BTBAM’s sound makes the album in whole such an intriguing and enjoyable new record. Together with its overall lyrical content, Coma Ecliptic shows even more why it is one of the best of this year’s crop of new hard rock and metal albums.

The musical and lyrical content put on display throughout the course of Coma Ecliptic does quite a bit to prove just how impressive BATBAM’s new record is. For all of the positives exhibited through the record’s musical and lyrical content, neither would be of any consequence without solid production. Luckily, that producer Jamie King’s work behind the glass resulted in an album that expertly balanced every tiny nuance of the album throughout the course of its sixty-eight minute run time. The fact that King has worked with the band on a significant portion of its album is the most likely reason that the production values were so impressive on this latest effort. He and the band members (even with the band’s lineup changes through the years) have gotten to know one another well enough that they each know what the other thinks will work best in any given situation. Thus, he was able to pinpoint exactly where certain riffs and fills should go or where Rogers should rely more on one vocal style versus another or even where emphasis should be placed on one note or another. Through it all, the partnership between King and the band resulted in an album that maintains BTBAM’s signature feel without rehashing the sound of the band’s previous albums. That familiarity and originality coupled with the album’s overall original concept comes together to once more show why Coma Ecliptic is another impressive offering from BTBAM and another of this year’s best hard rock and metal albums.

Between the Buried and Me’s latest full-length studio recording Coma Ecliptic is one of the band’s best works to date. The original story that makes up the body of the record and its equally creative sound work in tandem to make it a record that both the band’s long-time fans and audiences in general will enjoy and appreciate in so many ways. The work of the band’s long-time friend and producer Jamie King on this latest effort rounds out the record’s positive. His familiarity and friendship with the band (and vice versa) results in an album that is expertly balanced from beginning to end with all the right emphasis placed in all the right spots while other spots are reserved just enough to have the utmost emotional impact right to the album’s end. All things considered, Coma Ecliptic will do anything but put listeners into a coma. Rather, it is an album that will keep listeners fully engaged right to the album’s end and will even have them talking on so many levels even after its finale. Having such a wide impact, it proves once and for all why it is yet another impressive effort from one of the leading names in the prog-metal and metal communities today, and why it is also one of the best of this year’s crop of new hard rock and metal albums. Coma Ecliptic is available now in stores and online and BTBAM is currently taking some much-needed and well deserved time off before hitting the road again next month in its continued support of Coma Ecliptic. The next leg of the band’s tour includes another stop in its home state on Thursday, December 17th. The full schedule for the next leg of the band’s tour is available online now along with all of the latest news from the band at:

Website: http://www.betweentheburiedandme.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BTBAMofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BTBAMofficial

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