Ink Complete

SKU: MK1301
Label:
Mr. Kitty
Category:
Technical Metal
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Watchtower guitarist Ron Jarzombek's insane math metal sideproject.

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  • Vocalist Silje Wergeland has been fronting The Gathering since 2009.  She has developed into a more than able replacement for Anneke Van Giersbergen.  The Gathering's music is far removed from the early death and gothic metal days.  They have firmly moved into the post-progressive rock genre.  Their music deals more with mood and tension - textures and atmosphere.  Think of a more rock oriented version of Portishead. 
    $15.00
  • Limited edition digibook has a bonus DVD featuring a "making of" documentary.Riverside vocalist Mariusz Duda returns with his fourth Lunatic Soul project.  Duda plays all the instruments except drums which are handled by Indukti's Lawrence Dramowicz.  The last Lunatic Soul album, Impressions, was an all instrumental effort that explored ambient and post-rock territory.  Walking On A Flashlight Beam is a bit similar but Duda does provide vocals from time to time.  Like all of the Lunatic Soul albums that preceded it, WOAFB has a very dark and mysterious vibe to it.  Duda is moving away from exclusively using acoustic instruments.  Textural electronic keyboards predominate and I'm pretty certain he plugs his guitar in as well.  This is another one of his albums that will suck you in.  Highly recommended." I'll come right out and say that Lunatic Soul's new album "Walking on a Flashlight Beam" was my most anticipated album of 2014. Why? Well, Mariusz Duda (of Riverside fame) has created such a brilliantly natural sound in his side project that it has become one of my favorites, not to mention my family's, as well. We simply can't get enough of the acoustic, airy atmospheres combined with the dark, throbbing feelings that swing between transcendence and despair. Lunatic Soul's first three albums are masterpieces of emotion and epiphany, and so any follow-up would have to be something special. Duda, however, has delivered in the most unexpected, brilliant ways possible."Walking on a Flashlight Beam" (WOAFB) is an experience that is as much about lyrics and feelings as it is about music. You need the whole picture in order to understand it truly. Duda has been very forthcoming with theme for this album, as it seems to be rather personal. This album is about those people that prefer to shut themselves in their rooms/homes in order to immerse themselves in the creations of others: films, books, music, games, etc. I think it strays between this setting, however, and the same type of person that shuts themselves up, preferring to create art in private.Like I said, this theme is important to the music. WOAFB is full of bleak tension, cold sublimation, and beautiful simplicity. Duda was inclined to create this album with a wide variety of ethnic instruments, tones, and sounds; from cold trance beats contrasted against radiant acoustic guitar to world music influences combined with a new addition to the sound palette of Lunatic Soul: a subtle, heavily distorted electric guitar that crafts some charging, tumbling grooves. Duda has really expanded the sound of his pet project, and it impressed me to no end to hear the vast variety of sounds that were able to come together into a unified, cohesive mix. Sometimes it feels like Duda has gone post-rock, such as in the opener "Shutting out the Sun". Sometimes Duda simply sings a beautifully wrought melody, as in the spectacular "Treehouse" or one of my favorites, "Gutter" (the chorus will be in your head for weeks). Yet, sometimes Duda just wants to lay down an incredible bass-driven instrumental section, as in the winding, complex "Pygmalion's Ladder".Every track really feels just right. "Cold" feels, well, cold. It feels bare and desolate, with a simple melodic line added to enhance the stark feelings present. Duda is so good at expressing emotion in his music. Yet, this album has really impressed upon me how good he is at creating instrumental sections, as this album is full of them. The supremely subtle title track is an amazing example of this, as Duda builds and builds layers and layers of melody, harmony, tone, and effects. In the end, this album is so concentrated and makes so much sense from track to track that I can barely pick a favorite.This might be my album of the year. Don't be surprised if it is. I know I sound like a Duda fanboy (which I kinda am), but this album reaches the heights of the last three, and then expands on them. Incredibly catchy, wonderfully complex, and darkly eclectic, "Walking on a Flashlight Beam" is a journey into a confined consciousness of creativity, privacy, and enigmatic genius. Duda has once again proven his capabilities." - ProgArchives
    $9.00
  • "The successor to "Obsessions" (2011) was mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen at Hansen studio in Denmark (Volbeat, Pretty Maids, Amaranthe a.m.m.)Beside band leader Samuel Arkan, the following vocalists and musicians contribute to"Fantasmagoria": Tom S. Englund (Evergrey) Henning Basse (ex-Metalium, ex-Sons Of Seasons, Mayan) Ida Haukland (Triosphere) Matt Marinelli (Borealis) Tezzi Persson (Between The Silence) Mike LePond (Symphony X) Léo Margarit (Pain Of Salvation) Julien Spreutels (Ethernity) Simone Mularoni (DGM)The quite unusual thing is that all these guests came to the Noise Factory studio (Belgium) to track down their parts. Nobody recorded his/her parts at home, like with some many other projects."I wanted the whole thing to get a real "band" feeling", Arkan says. "Therefore having all vocalists and musicians here was very important to me. We got to know each other better and better while spending time together. The new material sounds very fresh, dark, heavy, modern and "true" with "straight in the face" guitar riffs, intense voices and melodies, massive work on progressive atmospheres and orchestral parts. All the artists who participated in this album gave their soul to it, gave their best, they travelled deeper into sensitivity and sincerity. That's probably the best words which define this next album... sincerity & spontaneity! This album comes from the heart of each musician and vocalist who worked on it, and you can feel it when you listen to this new EPYSODE album."Compared to the debut "Obessions" the new material is a step forward in every way, with even better songwriting, a massive sound, powerful production and an intensity you rarely find these days.With the top notch vocalists that are gathered here (a.o. Evergrey’s Tom S. Englund, who is contributing to 5 songs) the "Fantasmagoria" concept story comes to life in a very intense and thrilling way, with lots of facets, expressive singing, deep & dark emotions. Englund’s duet with Ida Haukland (Triosphere) on the album’s title track especially gives goosebumps to the listener. There is also a plot to the "Obsessions" album and many fans of concepts will have their pure delight in discovering the story behind the story.The "Fantasmagoria" recordings took place from December 2012 to end of April 2013. Responsible for all keyboards, piano, arrangements was again Julien Spreutels, "my brother in crime, without him Epysode would not be as it is", Samuel says. "He did one more time an outstanding job and gives magic to Epysode, It's always a pleasure and very inspiring to work with him". "
    $15.00
  • Prospekt are a British Progressive Metal band influenced by bands such as Dream Theater, Symphony X, Opeth and Circus Maximus, as well as film scores and fusion. Prospekt combine the fierce technicality of progressive metal with the symphonic elements of contemporary prog.From brutal riffs coupled with odd time-signatures, to majestic melodies, the principle of Prospekt’s music is to create an intelligent and atmospheric mix of melodic, modern progressive metal. Incorporating passionate higher ranged vocals, frenetic guitar work, haunting orchestration and solid grooves, every composition remains both interesting and original.The Colourless Sunrise was mixed by  Adam "Nolly" Getgood of Periphery and mastered by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street.
    $13.00
  • "Since a long time I have stored in one of the synapses in the very deep part of my brain some information about a small country named Andorra somewhere in Europe. By its name I would assume that it would be close to Spain if I ever need to recall that information for further processing. In 2011 that information surfaced back into my brain when I found out (thanks to my dear friend Vagelis) that not only it exists but it a band from that country kicks serious ass. That was the time that I found about NAMI. Upon further inspection and research I found that while NAMI was at their first album there was another band that had already released three albums and they were also into kicking arse. That band is PERSEFONE. Two years later and back into present I was really excited to hold the promo for their brand new release “Spiritual Migration” and indeed the only two words that came out of my mouth from the first notes were “Fuck” and “Yeah” with lots of exclamation marks.“Spiritual Migration” is the fourth progressive death metal album follower of the “Shin-Ken”, a conceptual story that unfolds in 13 tracks. The album starts with the instrumental “Flying Sea Dragons” creating an epic tone before the first blast of highly concentrated progressiveness strikes with “Mind As Universe”. Riffs high as the sky, terrific solos, crazy drumming, kick arse bass, raging and beautiful clean vocals and on top of all keyboards that dress and bind everything into one solid entity. Nothing gets into standard forms but instead the band is insanely unpredictable changing tempos, styles, brutality and whatever else you name with amazing ease making each part flow into the next one effortlessly and naturally. The duration of the compositions is varying, having four out of them clocking over seven minutes (“The Majestic of Gaia”, “Inner Fullness”, “Spiritual Migration” and “Returning To The Source”). There are also four instrumental tracks that are very beautiful and add to the overall atmosphere of the record.PERSEFONE continue to evolve the sound that has defined in “Snin-Ken”. They continue based on the soul recipe of progressive and very technical Death Metal that is fused with atmospheric parts that enhance the overall outcome of the record. This time the lyrics deal with Buddhism, meditation and spirituality and it is really cool to see bands that deviate from the classical hate god / praise Satan stereotype (sic). The songs are heavier than before and the brutal vocals tend to be a bit deeper than those of the previous records. Concerning the performance of the band all the band members are delivering astonishing performances using the best of their instruments. The brutal vocals might estrange some (I quickly got used to them) but they serve their purpose more than well while the clean ones contradict perfectly with them and offer moments of tranquility amongst the Death Metal onslaught. The artwork has been done by none other than Travis Smith and is another great work by him. Finally the record was mixed by Jacob Hansen in Denmark who also has worked with VOLBEAT, PESTILENCE and DESTRUCTION.It is surprising, in a good way, that Andorra has very cool bands which deliver very good records. PERSEFONE being one of those bands, has delivered an amazing record that is full of complex structures, unpredictable riffing, epic atmospheres and sheer raw brutality and a very intelligent concept. Put the speakers on, sit down comfortably, close your eyes, open your mind and get ready for “Spiritual Migration”." - Metal Temple
    $13.00
  • "When multiple members of a sextet juggle recording and touring responsibilities for known entities such as Kreator, Turisas, and Moonsorrow, rest assured that new studio product isn’t going to hit the streets for a little while. Finnish progressive melodic doom/death metal act Barren Earth face their biggest challenge though to date beyond scheduling issues since their beginnings in 2007, as their third full-length album On Lonely Towers represents the vocal debut of Faroese native Jón Aldará – for Swallow The Sun requires Mikko Kotamäki’s full attention at this point in time.To those unfamiliar to this band’s approach, these musicians offer up a heavy slice of Scandinavian death/doom, while also injecting a love of 70’s progressive rock in a lot of their piano/organ passages, spirited instrumental sections, and outside the box epic arrangements or left-field saxophone use. Early on they may have been considered sons of Opeth meets Amorphis, but not anymore. When they choose to be straight ahead doom in the closing sections of “A Shapeless Derelict”, the mid-range operatic bellows and evil heavy riff combination are classic Candlemass trademarks. Sami Yli-Sirniö and Janne Perttilä excel at layering guitars plus emotive, meaningful lead sections as the supplementary keyboards, bass and drums move in an alluring cadence that you can’t help but be swept into its melancholic majestic splendor – even at a close to 12 minute timeframe as in the title track.Jón can gurgle from the swampiest lands (check out his Christian Älvestam register on the culturally adventurous “Set Alight”) but deliver these chill bump clean textures that recall the best work of Dan Swanö on “Howl”. And take a microscopic aural approach to the saxophone passages during “Sirens of Oblivion” – exotic, jazzy and occasionally syncopating to the churning guitars (2:36-2:51) but then free flowing in a lighter, progressive context during the subsequent instrumental section.Barren Earth stands head and shoulders above a lot of the progressive doom/death pack because of their solid songwriting chemistry and ability to never push technicality over the limit to lose the human feel that makes On Lonely Towers special. Given North America’s proclivity to applaud foreign metal over much of the domestic product these days, you would be wise to add these 9 cuts to your playlist immediately." - Dead Rhetoric
    $12.00
  • Withem is an up and coming Norwegian progressive metal band, inspired by the likes of Symphony X, Pagan’s Mind, Dream Theater and Circus Maximus.The band started to take shape in 2011 when Øyvind Voldmo Larsen (guitars) and Ketil Ronold (keyboards) met the gifted drummer Frank Nordeng Røe. Soon they were joined by the vocal talents of Ole Aleksander Wagenius and bass duties were taken care of by the special guest Andreas Blomqvist from Seventh Wonder.Withem’s debut offers varied sonic landscapes for the listener to explore, ranging from guilty-pleasure choruses permeated with memorable vocal hooks, to symphonic epic themes.  The unique vocal range of Ole Aleksander Wagenius gives the band a distinctive touch to tackle the overcrowded progressive metal scene.The passion and dedication put into the album is emphasized by the countless hours spent in studio perfecting each individual performance and making sure that the end result is a world class blend of progressive, symphonic and power metal.The Point Of You was mastered by Markus Teske (Vanden Plas, Saga, Spock's Beard)
    $13.00
  • The madcap French jazz metal trio return with their sixth album.  Morglbl consists of guitarist Christope Godin, bassist Ivan Rougny, and drummer  Aurelian Ouzoulias.  The band has toured extensively around the world – USA, Europe, Russia and even China!  They have shared the stage with Liquid Tension Experiment, Bumblefoot, and Umphrey’s McGee among others.These three virtuosos are also well endorsed clinicians and have developed a following individually but when they come together the fireworks really start.  Tea Time For Punks doesn’t deviate from the tried and true Morglbl formula.  Take equal parts fusion and crushing metal power chords, then inject a healthy dose of tongue in cheek humor and you’ve got the perfect Morglbl album. The band is often described as Primus meets Steve Vai and Allan Holdsworth, with flavors of Frank Zappa! 
    $13.00
  • Superb return to form from these German masters of melodic progressive metal. Beyond Daylight exhibits many similarities to The God Thing and may well prove out to be their best effort yet.
    $15.00
  • Digipak edition - limited to 5000 for the world."Prophets Cynic are not, yet they did see the writing on the death metal wall around the mid-90’s, so that counts for something. At that particular point in time, the death metal scene was swelling to uncontrollable proportions, with creativity at an all-time low and labels signing anyone who could mimic Cookie Monster and palm-mute some diminished chords. Pair that with the then-burgeoning black metal scene, and death metal circa 1994 to 1997 essentially had no chance. As it stands, Cynic officially broke up in 1994 and formed the short-lived Portal, which is the point of discussion for this review.Comprised of the core members of Cynic’s Focus lineup (drummer Sean Reinert, guitarist/vocalist Paul Masvidal, guitarist) Jason Gobel, bassist Chris Kringel), Portal added vocalist/keyboardist Aruna Abrams, who was the benefactor of the band’s new-found “trippy” sound. And that’s really the defining term when it comes to Portal – they’re very light, not so metal or technical…just trippy and highly atmospheric.One could see where Cynic wanted to go with Portal for their eventual reformation album, 2008’s Traced In Air. The lush dynamics of “Endless Endeavors,” “Costumed in Grace,” and “Road to You” demonstrate the band’s ability to take prog rock and make it flow like a river, a cerebral river at that. Abrams’ vocals are suitably poised and reserved, blending in seamlessly with supple keyboard strokes and ambient uh, ambience. There’s a dearth of the progressive metal flair the band showed on Focus, as the songwriting mode of “Karma’s Plight” and “Crawl Above” showcase a jazzier, more free-form side to Cynic that was practically itching to come out a few years prior.Cynic’s new-age crowd might find something of value with The Portal Tapes, as it’s a direct reflection of Traced In Air and last year’s Carbon-Based Anatomy EP. The old death metal crowd that helped break the band won’t have anything to do with this, and methinks had they heard something like this in 1995, then they’d be running back to their Broken Hope and Monstrosity albums almost instantly." - Blistering.com
    $15.00
  • Long awaited 5.1 remix of the classic Rush album in a limited  "super deluxe" edition comes housed in a hardbound book.  Here is what you get...CD:1. Remastered edition2. 3 previously unreleased live tracksBLU-RAY:1 5.1 remix in 24/96 PCM and DTS-HD2. Stereo mix in 24/96 PCMEXTRAS:40 page comic book by story artist Tom Hodges (Star Wars "The Clone Wars," The Simpson's "Treehouse of Horrors #17") and a 24 page book with expanded artwork, liner notes, lyrics and unreleased photos. New liner notes written by David Fricke, Rolling Stone.
    $69.00
  • 2CD edition comes with a bonus live disc recorded at the Loud Park 2010 festival."Taking a cue from where post-psychedelic and hard rock left off in the seventies before our hard rock heroes either went disco or into questionable directions, Spiritual Beggars’ picks up the pieces, just like Grunge did in its heyday; but adding a little more balls to the mix as an authentic force to be reckoned with. A supergroup featuring members of Arch Enemy, Opeth, Firewind, Carcass, and other extensions, the amped up sound of this Swedish powerhouse throws the pretentious mannerisms of out of the mix, gaining them a status that has created a solid dichotomy between them and many other stoner rock bands.Even as these guys are native to extreme and symphonic metal bands, the tunage gets to the point, reflecting Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Blue Oyster Cult and early-Priest, as the heavy blues & R&B flavored upbeat moods have always raised the roof. Inflamed by grinding riffage and screaming Hammond organ, Earth Blues again sees Spiritual Beggars taking no retreat from their enigmatic rock and roll feast. The opening track “Wise as a Serpent” immediately spurs the dark groove into power pop territories, yet more intricate sides are heard on the multi-faceted “Sweet Magic Pain” & the dark 1-2 punch of “Kingmaker,” both offering up a salvo of to a Sabotage-meets-Agents of Fortune attitude. Without reckless abandon, these guys also explore a psych/funk mindset on “Turn the Tide,” plus you have “One Man’s Curse” which could have been a long last tune from Come Taste the Band.Even on the ballad “Dreamer” and the low key rocker “Dead End Town,” the band flexes their ideology the same way Zeppelin did at times; and that ideology is further expressed by way of  a set of live tracks on a bonus disc, proving they can hit the road with the attitude to kick ass. Still, whatever way you hear Spiritual Beggars, there will be no denying that their solid foundation of hard rock possesses intrigue, forgoing all the poser musicianship and letting the songs, the true grit of emotion, and the conviction to simply rock out speak loud for Earth Blues. Heavy, commanding, & sophisticated, Spiritual Beggars continue to map out their presence with bold, sharp, & gripping, metallic grandeur, affording no shame whatsoever." - Ytsejam.com
    $14.00
  • "In case you’re actually a dog and I don’t know about it, I’m going to begin this endeavor with an explanation of why Leprous is so important. Leprous are a progressive metal band; they are extremely good and their last two albums (Bilateral and Coal) are among this decade’s best prog/avant garde releases. While Bilateral lead us into strange, trumpet-infested Mars Volta territory, Coal took a completely different approach, pairing exceptionally strong melodies with endless drones and subtle drumming that provided counterpoint for Einar Solberg’s unparalleled voice. Coal also bequeathed to the world the best song ever written, “The Cloak.” So The Congregation has some pretty grand expectations around these parts. Thus, contrary to his finite but arbitrarily large wisdom, and as a direct result of his finite but arbitrarily small amounts of spare time, Angry Metal Guy has deigned that I inform you of what you don’t already know, unless you have lived within a few blocks of me in the past few months, which is that The Congregation is pretty damn good.“The Price” introduces a post-Coal Leprous with an even stronger sense of melody but retaining a minimalist core. While Einar’s choruses are impossible not to fruitlessly pantomime, the song retains the measured drama and reductionist sensibilities that made “The Valley” the nine-minute epic that it is. “The Third Law” and “Rewind” retain these traits but are the album’s weakest tracks by far. They’re not boring, but come off as a bit superfluous, especially in an album that’s over an hour long. Luckily, “The Flood” turns things around, preluding a phenomenal mid- and late-album stretch. The song’s extreme repetition of a two-note anti-swing rhythm builds a prog metal lullaby over which measured crooning and burst of exuberant motion play out a complex game of tic-tac-toe.Of course, just like Coal, the centerpiece of The Congregation is its shortest and strongest song. “Within My Fence” gets better and better as it goes along riffing on its syncopated opening bars. Einar’s vocal performance is wincredible here as well, and even more enjoyable because of how perfectly it slides into the synth-heavy, mechanical march of the song. Also of note is Baard Kolstad’s contribution to the album; his drumming, though not quite as distinctive as Tobias Ørnes Andersen’s on Coal, continues in the less-is-more vein that the last album established and is incredibly tight.After “Within My Fence,” the album cools off, but doesn’t perceptibly decrease in quality. It’s still infectious and emotional and cements Einar Solberg’s place as prog’s best vocalist – a well-deserved but easy win, given that Darroh Sudderth doesn’t seem to be active at the moment. My main issue with The Congregation is, unsurprisingly, its length. “Third Law,” “Rewind,” and “Triumphant” could have easily been cut from the album and it would be much better. The songs aren’t bad, but Leprous has a lot more to show off than these lukewarm affairs.While part of me is disappointed with Leprous‘s lack of editing here, the part of me that has listened to the album dozens of times has more sway over my decisions. The Congregation will give you just the scratch behind the ears you need after disappointing half-year of metal, and while it’s certainly not the equal of its predecessors, it wont tarnish the band’s growing legacy. Go fetch it." - Angry Metal Guy
    $13.00
  • "With the release of its sixth LP, The Parallax II: Future Sequence (the sequel to the Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues EP), in 2012, American progressive metal quintet Between the Buried and Me set a new benchmark for its genre. Sure, both 2007’s Colors and 2009’s The Great Misdirect are incredible records (the former was a breakthrough in terms of both approach and commercial appeal, while the latter was more polished, accessible, and vibrant), but Parallax II took the epic-suite-broken-into-sections format Colors introduced and perfected it. With its dramatic chronicle, seamless flow, hypnotic singing, inventive instrumentation, and self-referential continuity, it easily ranked not only as BTBAM’s best effort to date, but as one of the greatest progressive metal albums of all time.Naturally, expectations skyrocketed when the band announced its follow-up, Coma Ecliptic; fortunately, it surely satisfies them. Another seventy minute odyssey into imaginative soundscapes, mind-blowing arrangements, affective storytelling, and remarkable tonal shifts (both musically and vocally), the full-length retains everything that made their past few opuses so unique, breathtaking, and rewarding. However, as astounding as it is, Coma Ecliptic doesn’t quite surpass its predecessor, as it’s slightly less varied and daring; nevertheless, it comes very close to matching Parallax II, making it another absolutely extraordinary entry in their discography.Billed as another “modern rock opera,” the concept of Coma Ecliptic actually shares similarities with that of The Mars Volta’s debut, De-Loused in the Comatorium. As bassist Dan Briggs explains, the plot “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 [sic]. 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.’”  To reveal any more of the tale would ruin its surprises and most affective elements. Suffice it to say, though, that the quintet’s moral intention is to help listeners “make the best of [their lives]. People are constantly searching for something better without taking the time to appreciate the things they have. What we need may already be here . . .” Because of its coherent storyline and meaningful themes, Coma Ecliptic actually contains BTBAM’s strongest narrative yet.Along the same lines, it also features one of their best opening tracks to date: “Node”. Vocalist/keyboardist Tommy Giles Rogers plays an ethereal piano pattern as he sings beautiful yet mournful judgments. Eventually, harmonies, strings, biting guitar riffs, and thunderous percussion explode around him, culminating in a regal and dense declaration of the trauma to come. In typical Between the Buried and Me fashion, Giles’ voice even interlocks with itself a couple times; likewise, the composition alternates between calmness and catastrophe with exceptional build-ups. It’s a fine way to begin, and it demonstrates how the band continues to evolve with each new release. Like most of the “episodes” on Coma Ecliptic, “Node” segues into the next section, “The Coma Machine.”With its fluctuating structures, absorbing melodies, and exceptional musicianship, “The Coma Machine” follows a familiar template; nonetheless, it’s still a fascinating and creative venture. From the way Giles’ infectious chorus (“You teach us what was, out there”) complements the mechanical riffs, to the way the song’s essence moves from hellish to heavenly several times, this track is a stunning beast that never lets up. Of course, their trademark frantic rhythmic changes are in full force here, with gripping stop/start breaks on occasion. Similarly, the sharp intertwining patterns of guitarists Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring are as overwhelming as ever. Without a doubt, though, the single best moment of “The Coma Machine” comes at around the 3:15 mark, when an electrifying new riff crashes in, joined by bells and pounding drums. It’s wholly invigorating and awesome; in fact, it’s one of the best moments on any BTBAM creation. Finally, Giles’ closing bridge is subtle yet very moving.Like a lost gem by Dutch prog metal band Ayreon, “Dim Ignition” sneaks in with an ominous synthesized loop. Essentially, it’s a brief psychedelic interlude in which Giles proclaims foreboding notions over spacey effects and beats. It serves its purpose well and definitely adds to the thematic quality of Coma Ecliptic, but what’s really cool is how the loop bleeds into the introductory, sinister riff of “Famine Wolf” at its conclusion. As for “Famine Wolf” itself, its opening is also among the highlights on the disc. In general, its dynamic juxtapositions aren’t as striking as on some other tracks, but it still balances Giles’ screaming and singing well. The most interesting aspect appears about two-thirds of the way in, when the aforementioned loop returns as Giles evokes the peculiar accent that he used on past LPs. In this way, Coma Ecliptic feels connected to its precursors.Another transition takes place next, as “King Redeem/Queen Serene” starts with a lovely acoustic guitar arpeggio supporting arguably the most touching melody and lyrics Giles has ever sung (“I can’t hear a thing / These waves crash faster”). Every measure comes with more luscious layers until the arrangement breaks into one of the most “prog” moments BTBAM has ever had. After some more heaviness, an essential rhythmic breakdown from “The Coma Machine” comes back, which is very cool, followed by more frantic transformations. Ultimately, the piece ends as it began, so it feels like a self-contained observation.Although all of “Turn on the Darkness” is astonishing in how moves around its various formations, the best part is the chorus, during which Giles brings the concept to the forefront. Following some warm and atmospheric passages, he seizes command by saying, “Welcome to our journey / Please walk with me / I’ll put your mind at ease.” Aside from this, the ways in which the guitar and keyboards echo each other from time to time also help the track stand out. Really, this selection feels like something from The Great Misdirect, which isn’t bad at all.“The Ectopic Stroll” possibly includes the most experimentation aspects on Coma Ecliptic, as Giles’s odd piano chords, coupled with his menacing crooning, make the main parts feel like a malevolent 1940s jazz excerpt. He screeches, “Whoa, can’t get it right!” while sing-a-long harmonies concur, and at first, it’s a bit toounconventional to feel appropriate; but, after a few listens it feels more fitting. Equally, the percussive spasticity and quality feel akin to some of the wilder tones used by Dream Theatre or Devin Townsend. Truly, these risks also show how fearless BTBAM still is in trying new techniques, so they deserve praise for that alone.As its name suggests, “Rapid Calm” is transcendent and lively, with keyboard and guitar outlines dancing around each other as more soothing melodies signal the beginning of the end. In particular, this song is a strong example of how Coma Ecliptic features the strongest emphasis on clean vocals of any Between the Buried and Me record; there’s still plenty of growling throughout, but Giles has never allowed his natural style to shine so densely or prevalently. During the chorus, for instance, he conveys dread and sorrow powerfully, realizing, “They don’t want you there / They don’t want me here / Remember my name / The machine is crumbling.” It’s an exceptional moment, as is the moody intermission near the end, whose somber timbres recall parts of the most recent Opeth collections.Beyond being the standout track on Coma Ecliptic by a mile, “Memory Palace” may be the single best Between the Buried and Me song ever. Each element is just about perfect; from its towering opening riffs and soaring lines to its meticulous and clever shifts, every second is spectacular. The group has never before moved between such drastic deviations with such silky expertise; above all, the leap into what’s likely the band’s most surreal segment yet (“Focus on melody / The sounds under my eyes / Dreaming inside of this / World inside my mind”) is amazing. Furthermore, the way they bring back past moments near the end is sublime. If ever there was a track that single-handedly proved why BTBAM is so special, it’s this one.Luckily, the reprisals continue during the final two tracks, “Option Oblivion” and “Life in Velvet.” The former bursts in from its predecessor with more spellbinding arrays. Brilliantly, Giles brings back a phrase that was first mentioned on “Rapid Calm”:  “A choice of gold or velvet / Do I go on, or follow the crown in the smoke?” A bit further on, he also references “The Coma Machine” by lamenting, “Looking back through the painful tunnel / They taught us what once was.” As for “Life in Velvet,” it continues the symbolic theme of velvet (as a catalyst for spiritual transformation) that runs throughout the album; it’s also lead by a modified version of the chord progression from “The Coma Machine.” Like “Node,” it features Giles singing softly while playing piano, and in doing so, it brings Coma Ecliptic full circle. As a final burst of brilliance, the aforementioned electrifying guitar riff and closing bridge from “The Coma Machine” also makes an appearance. Because of these numerous references, Coma Ecliptic has the most alluring, suitable, and clever conclusion of any Between the Buried and Me record.Coma Ecliptic is an exquisite masterpiece. As with most opaque works, it takes many listens to fully appreciate everything here (including multilayered production, parallel structures, and callbacks to prior parts); however, once listeners understand all that’s going on, they’ll be utterly blown away. Between the Buried and Me have proven time and time again how distinctive, ambitious, capable, and important they are within its genre; no other band can do what they do as well as they do, and this effort just proves that once again." - Pop Matters
    $16.00