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THOMAS GILES – PULSE (Album Review)

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51aMLi0MlaL. SL160 THOMAS GILES’ PULSE (out February 1, 2011 via Metal Blade) is a curious record, a nearly unclassifiable sonic oddity. The latest solo effort from BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME frontman Tommy Rogers (Tommy Giles Rogers, Jr – hence, THOMAS GILES) is nothing like BTBAM in terms of execution, but is exactly like BTBAM in terms of composition. Most that could get past his band’s metallic crust to see the beauty often hidden under layers of crunch and thunder would appreciate the complexity of BTBAM on every level (think 2007’s COLORS album). In that, PULSE is a similar beast, but one that sounds completely different.

Traditional metal fans are likely to have one of two reactions: A) They’ll absolutely hate it, or B) They’ll give it a few listens and realize that what they’re holding is something special.

PULSE is not a metal record, but an ambient-electronic-pop-rock album – an ever-shifting soundscape with elements of industrial music, acoustic folk, and sinister, yet beautiful melodies joining the march along the way. The closest you’ll get to a BTBAM song on PULSE is on the guitar-driven “Medic,” and this is a song that has more in common with MELVINS that BTBAM. Some of the shifts that come in (such as that around 2:45 on “Hamilton Anxiety Scale”) recall the ambient aspects of MR. BUNGLE’s DISCO VOLANTE, while the acoustic prowess displayed on songs like “Scared” and “Armchair Travel” blows away most of the flavor-of-the-moment indie rockers that show up on countless “top 10” lists every year, never to be heard from again. There’s so many elements that surface, even making a proper comparison is inaccurate.

On PULSE, Thomas Giles establishes himself as a new torch-bearer for the type of artistic expansion that fellow musical auteurs like TRENT REZNOR and THOM YORKE displayed as they traveled the road before him. PULSE is simply a beautiful record.

Rating: 4.5/5

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