With Between the Buried and Me confirmed for dropping their new single ‘Memory Palace‘ this Friday, anticipation is at an all time for the North Carolina-based prog metal titans’ new album Coma Ecliptic. The record, which follows the story of a coma patient reliving his past lives in search for something better, is being billed as a rock opera — a distinction that wasn’t extended to the highly conceptual and multi-character-driven The Parallax series. What does this mean for Coma Ecliptic? Will the band reach new theatrical heights that they have never before reached? Are the band following in the footsteps of acts like Opeth and Mastodon and moving further away from metal? It’s beginning to seem like it, judging by Revolver’s new interview with BTBAM frontman Tommy Rogers.
The interview, conducted during album recording sessions, briefly tackles the album’s musical direction:
As for why the writing and recording process has been so intense this time, Rogers says it is partly due to the fact that “the material is very different for us, and we’re pushing ourselves. I wouldn’t say it’s a new sound, but it’s not as heavy and it’s weirder at times. More grown-up. I think it’s the biggest stylistic change for us since the period from [2005’s] ‘Alaska’ to [2007’s] ‘Colors.’”
Musically, Rogers reports that the new material focuses “a lot more on melody.” And vocally, he found inspiration in an unlikely source: the fantastical soundtrack work of Danny Elfman, best known for scoring Tim Burton movies like ‘Edward Scissorhands’ and ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas.’ “A few years ago I saw Danny play with a full orchestra, and he was singing all his material from the Tim Burton movies,” Rogers says. “There was this certain intensity he had that I’d never seen before from someone who wasn’t screaming. That stuck with me and motivated me to try different things vocally—to be intense and aggressive without always going for the big growler scream.”
The excerpt paints a pretty clear picture: expect massive production (thanks in part to Jens Bogren’s mixing job), avant-garde theatrics, and less growling. A lot of people are bound to be upset by the idea (evolution under the guise of “maturity” is largely hit or miss), but if Coma Ecliptic is basically an hour of material like ‘Bloom‘ from Parallax II with over the top musical numbers and vocalizations, we certainly won’t be mad about it.
Still, you can’t judge music based on words alone. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for this Friday, when ‘Memory Palace‘ and Coma Ecliptic pre-orders go live. Coma Ecliptic will follow July 7th on Metal Blade Records.