01. Sleep Shake
02. Reverb Island
03. Mr. Bird
04. Catch & Release
05. Hamilton Anxiety Scale
07. Reject Falicon
09. Suspend the Death Watch
10. Armchair Travel
[02/01/2011 | Metal Blade]
When we got word that Tommy Rogers of Between the Buried and Me was going to be putting out a solo album, I was both confused, excited, and somewhat skeptical. Tommy’s other first solo album (released under the name Giles) was a tongue in cheek forray into techno and electronic music that, while amusing, wasn’t exactly all that musically creative and fulfilling. I had my fingers crossed that Pulse was going to be a more serious endeavor; the fact that Tommy had chosen to not release Pulse under Giles was a good sign. Not long after pressing play, my hopes had been realized; this time, Tommy was wanting to make an actual record that could stand up to his work in Between the Buried and Me. Mission accomplished, Tommy.
Pulse is a diverse and genre-defying record that spans territory from Nine Inch Nails influenced industrial rock to Bob Dylan-territory acoustic ballads. While there is nary a metal song to be found outside of the short-lived “Medic”, fans of BTBAM should no-doubt appreciate the exploration and experimentation taking place that shows Tommy’s true colors as a serious songwriter. After listening to Pulse, go back and listen to BTBAM’s “Fossil Genera.” That song suddenly makes more sense now, doesn’t it? While electronic music is the strongest aspect present on Pulse, elements of progressive and psychedelic rock creep through and clash to give the album a slight avant-garde feeling. Somewhat expected, but this somehow still managed to catch me by surprise.
In that regard, Pulse shows Tommy’s true diversity outside of the realm of vocals and keys. Tommy wrote and performed everything himself, from the mountains of synth to the bass grooves and guitar. There’s even a jazzy acoustic guitar solo in the dark piano-centric track “Mr. Bird” that shows off some of the previously untapped skill at his disposal. It would no doubt be interesting to see some more of this multi-instrumental talent used in Between the Buried and Me. He is definitely a jack of all trades.
The vocal work on Pulse shies away from the low growls Tommy is most known for, as well. While that side of him does shine through in the aforementioned “Medic” and “Catch & Release,” the main flavor is found in his diverse singing voice. He can obviously take on metallic growls and screams, but his endearing and honest voice on “Scared” and “Armchair Travel” is a truly heartwarming side to Tommy we’ve never heard before. He truly shines the brightest when the only thing sitting in the mix with him is his acoustic guitar.
Admittedly, Pulse needed time to grow on me, but my enjoyment grew with each listen. Managing to quirky, yet serious, Pulse was a well-crafted solo record that will go down as one of my first favorite records of 2011. While it’s obvious that I’m a huge of his work in the realm of metal with BTBAM, I’d love to hear more solo work from the immensely talented Thomas Giles in the future.
Thomas Giles – Pulse gets…