I can remember the shockwave sent through the "heavy" music scene when Between The Buried And Me released their 2007 masterpiece Colors to critical acclaim. The incorporation of progressive elements into the technical metalcore the sound had begun refining around 2003 was quite a refreshing listen. The crazy tempo changes and outright departures into different genres, if only a couple minutes, was a remarkable experience during the first listen through. BTBAM have released two more albums since then, and I admittedly haven't given them the listening treatment of the aforementioned Colors.

Whether i'm driving or hanging out with friends and listening to tunes, its usually stuff that's short, fast and to the point. I need to be in a certain headspace to really sit and listen to long form, progressive metal and really appreciate everything that goes into it. While I'm not too familiar with BTBAM's last two albums, I understand they further pushed the boundaries of progressive elements in their sound, and vocalist Tommy Rogers began transitioning to more clean vocals. The latest entry in the band's catalog, Coma Ecliptic, sounds like a more focused representation of the last three albums. Transitions within songs are a lot cleaner, and aren't so extreme that it sounds like 3 songs sandwiched into one song title.

Album opener, "Node", is a piano driven track with Rogers' clean vocals dominating the mix. This is very reminiscent to the introductory track on Colors so I was anticipating a slow burning transition into an aggressive mosh part, but that part never came. The sound I've come to know is best represented on the nearly 8 minute "The Coma Machine", which has twists and turns from chuggy verse riffs with strong melodic vocals, to Rogers' vintage growl over frantic drumming and guitar sweeps. A great attribute to most of BTBAM's albums are the seamless transitions from track to track. The songs are typically composed to come across as one large track, which a lot of band's don't take the time to do in our short attention span world.

While a commonly seen criticism of BTBAM's later work is the increase in progressive elements, Coma Ecliptic can stand amongst the back catalog and definitely SOUNDS like a a BTBAM album. I also noticed how much more prominent keyboards/synths are in the band's sound, frequently appearing across an entire song versus being used on the "weird parts". On a side note, I really don't like typing "BTBAM" because I encounter people who refer to the band by that acronym, but say it like "BT BAM". I just don't feel like typing much more than I have to, but I digress.

It simply comes down to the simple fact that if you were a fan of BTBAM in the past, this album will satisfy you. As somebody who took a break for 6-7 years, I was into the album from front to back. Although I would recommend listening to the album straight through for the full experience. Coma Ecliptic is out now via Metal Blade Records.