Thomas Giles

Pulse

Written by: PP on 20/09/2011 06:12:46

Thomas Giles is the moniker selected by Between The Buried And Me vocalist/keyboardist Tommy Rogers to represent his alter ego solo career, which was launched with the release of his debut album "Pulse" earlier this year. Why not just roll with Tommy Rogers for his solo project as well, I hear you ask, but that the story does not tell, although one can only assume it is to deliberately set distance between his main band and his solo career, two vastly different entities with few elements in common - at least sound wise.

We can all agree on the ingenuity of BTBAM material, but how does Mr. Rogers fare in a solo environment? Well, "Pulse" is an interesting album in that it may sound oddly incohesive and unfocused for a man whose main band is known for its structural complexion and unfathomable attention to detail. After enough listens, however, I've become quite certain that it feels like that on purpose, as if he is making a point out of "give me a genre, any genre, and I'll write a great song in that style" because he's just that talented. Lets take opener "Sleep Shake", which dives head first into dreamy but complex experimental rock similar to dredg's last few efforts, but does it in such devilishly complicated and rewarding manner that manifests in an explosion of beautiful melody during the chorus. Directly after, "Reverb Island" sounds like a Muse track from "Black Holes And Revelations" with its keyboard/synth-driven melody and Matthew Bellamy-esque singing, and the piano-driven experimentation of "Mr. Bird" certainly sounds nothing like Between The Buried And Me, sans their Queen-inspired covers album "The Anatomy Of".

"Catch & Release", on the other hand, drives Giles into the murky realms of industrial Nine Inch Nails, resulting in a track that wouldn't feel out-of-place in a crazy rave in some gothic cave/club in Central Europe. "Scared" is a singer-songwriter track with an acoustic guitar, but then "Hamilton Anxiety Scale" returns to the bombastic experimental rock of the album opener, once again giving dredg a run for their money and unquestionably triumphs over anything on their latest album. This and the opener are also the tracks where the clean vocal melody sounds most like the softest parts of "Colors"-era BTBAM, but the harmonies aren't as robotic and effect-laden as on that record, instead demonstrating that Rogers has a pretty fuckin' amazing talent for vocals, whether it's growling as an instrument or by singing in beautiful falsetto.

In fact, he uses the vast majority of "Pulse" to showcase his amazing voice and ability to compose extremely varied and progressive pieces of music that sound nothing at all like his main band. Yes, "Medic" as a lone song could be a BTBAM song given it's heavy, complex and brutal set up, but it is but one out of eleven tracks on a record that's more fit to experimental rock, progressive rock and singer-songwriter than anything metal. You can also argue that "Reject Falicon" directly lifts off its vocal melody from a famous BTBAM song and tries to cover up for it by making it darker, but it's one of the best melodies on the album so I'm not going to complain. Overall, "Pulse" is an ambitious project, and one that sets into stone what should've already been clear: BTBAM are amazing, and just because Rogers is only singing and on keyboard doesn't mean that he isn't as talented as the rest of the band. Perhaps it's the contrary.

Download: Sleep Shake, Reverb Island, Reject Falicon
For the fans of: Muse, dredg, Trent Reznor, Between The Buried And Me
Listen: Myspace

Release date 01.02.2011
Metal Blade

Sleep Shake by Thomas Giles

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