on October 27, 2005
A while back, a good friend of mine recommended that I give Coheed and Cambria a good listen. Knowing my penchant for progressive rock and my fondness of thematically unified materials (i.e., the frequently maligned "concept albums"), he thought that the C&C albums would be right up my alley. So I took his advice and purchased a copy of IN KEEPING SECRETS OF SILENT EARTH: 3. To my delight, this was a satisfyingly complex and technically brilliant production. To my ears the band sounds like a mix of The Mars Volta , Dream Theater (both of whom I love!!!!) and some of the better bits of Rush. This CD got pretty regular play and I always enjoyed the music, but for no reason I can put my finger on, it never became one of my favorite albums.
Then came GOOD APOLLO....I saw it for sale and decided it was worth a listen. What an experience!!! I feel as though I've won the lottery! This is a brilliant album that transcended all of my expectations in every way. The music opens with a lush orchestral intro leading into the deceptively mellow, acoustic song KEEPING THE BLADE. It sounds almost like a love song until you listen to the lyrics that sweetly proclaim "I'm still waiting here, my dear, to kill all of you!" Then the album really starts to move with driving rhythms, stunning musicianship and simultaneously compelling yet inscrutable lyrics that propel the multi-album story line even further. (I haven't quite figured this unique world all out yet, but it's fascinating to study and ponder.)
Claudio Sanchez's vocals have been toned down a bit, losing some of that Geddy Lee quality that I occasionally found to be an irritant on the previous album. It seems to me that the already stunning craftsmanship of the song structures and musicianship has been taken up another notch to a consistently high level. This is an excellent album on every level. I have formed a new appreciation for the previous SILENT EARTH, and I have ordered the first album, THE SECOND STAGE TURBINE BLADE, so that I might put all the pieces together and get a deeper appreciation for this massive musical adventure. I regret that I didn't start at the beginning - but as I said, I finally get it.
To conclude, I'll just mention the beautiful artwork found throughout the booklet and jewel case covers. Artist Christopher Shy has produced some absolutely stunning paintings that are as much of a delight for the eyes as the music is for the ears. This is a must buy album for any fan of progressive rock music!
on December 13, 2005
If you're reading this review you already know that Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV: Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness is a 5 star completely amazing CD. The CD is phenomenal and I've already written a review of that, so this review is going to be about the bonus DVD that accompanies this CD.
The bonus DVD is well worth the money, and that's what I have to say! The videos for "The Suffering" and "Welcome Home" are cool enough, but all the bonus material on this DVD is awesome. The best part is the behind the scenes of the making of Good Apollo. There is some excellent funny and enlightening footage of the band as they wrote and recorded this awesome CD, and that footage in and of itself is worth the price of admission.
The Favor House Atlantic movie....um....has to be one of the funniest things I've ever seen! It's really just Travis walking around to all of the other band members asking them if they think Good Apollo is going to be a good album, but it's definitely hilarious to watch the antics and everything that takes place as he goes around doing it. From Claudio singing about "incense and flowers," to Mike "wrecking" as he falls into the kitchen. For some reason there are bloopers, but the movie itself is basically a blooper of the band, and it's great.
And the animated vignettes definitely have a very epic and awesome feel to them as they place the albums songs over animated versions of Christopher Shy's amazing album artwork.
This is a very cool and worthy purchase for any and every Coheed fan.
on September 20, 2005
Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Volume I: From Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness. One word sums it up: Wow. I didn't think they could do any better than their last album, but they somehow did. This one is most definitely for the fans, though. Whereas the first two albums had songs that could be released as singles and appeal to the averge listener, the entire CD stands on its own as a single piece. Yes, it's got some catchy tunes, but you need to listen to the whole thing straight through with headphones to really get the full effect. The first 11 songs tell the story of The Writer, the man who is writing the story of C&C. The interesting part is that Claudio Sanchez created The Writer, and The Writer created Claudio Kilgannon, the story's protagonist. They all have similar characteristics, and are essentially the same person. All of their lives seem to intertwine, and it shows on Good Apollo. Similar lyrics and musical elements reappear on The Writer's segment as well as on Claudio's, and even the songs from In Keeping Secrets, to symbolize how events going on in The Writer's life parallel and affect what happens in Claudio's story. I usually don't care much about song lyrics, but the depth of these is staggering. Now as for the music itself, as I mentioned earlier, this is for the fans. After an orchestrated verison of the usual Coheed intro, the first song is actually a light accoustic piece. Then you're thrusted into the explosive guitar of "Welcome Home", an epic metal song with guitars remeniscent of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir". The next few songs are difficult to describe, as they are the usual Coheed fare, but much more carefully crafted than before. It might take a few listens to pick up on the intricacy of some of them. Two especially noteworthy tracks are "Apollo I: The Writing Writer" and "The Suffering". Even if you're not an avid Coheed fan, you've got to love these songs. Finally, we return to the story of Claudio and dive into the final four tracks, which make up the half hour long finale, "The Willing Well". Each movement is... as corny as this sounds... a rollercoaster ride of emotions, shifting from one style to another. "III: Apollo II: The Telling Truth" is the second half of "The Writing Writer", which revives the song with a heavier feel and angrier, more brutal lyrics. And just when you think you've reached the height of this rock opera (as some have called it), the song abruptly ends, and we enter the last part, "IV: The Final Cut". This is one heavy song, in the original sense of the word. You'd swear you were listening to Pink Floyd. This goes beyond anything I could have ever imagined Coheed achieving. It's simply amazing. And when that finally ends, you're treated to a little hidden bluegrass song, a nice and unexpected finishing touch. As awesome as this all sounds, you'll appreciate it more if you hear the band's previous two albums The Second Stage Turbine Blade and In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3 first. In fact, if you haven't heard them, half of what I said about the storyline probably didn't make sense to you anyway. But all in all, this is a magnificent album, and perfect for the next step of the journey. I can only imagine what the series' conclusion will be...
on August 17, 2006
A few months ago, one of my friends recommended Coheed and Cambria to me and I took him up on the offer and downloaded one of their songs to listen to. I didn't like it all, mostly because of Claudio Sanchez's, the lead singer, very high voice. Then, I gave them a try again about a month ago and I absolutely loved it.
Coheed and Cambria is now my favorite band, and I sometimes can't believe that I didn't like them. Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV was the first Coheed CD I bought because most of the songs I liked from them were on that album. I can't begin to describe how awesome the music on this CD is.
The album starts off with a quaint instrumental theme, Keeping the Blade, progresses to Always and Never which at first appears to be a love song before the twist ending. Afterwards, we go to one of the most amazing songs on Good Apollo, Welcome Home. The whole CD can be attested to being a prog rock opera, but Welcome Home definitely can be called this. The guitar playing in this song is only surpassed, in my opinion, by one other song on the CD and it ends with an awesome guitar solo by Claudio Sanchez.
From there on out, the song quality does not decrease but only at some times gets better. Ten Speed (of God's Blood and Burial) is the most metal the band has ever gotten and is also one of my favorite songs they're ever made. After that, we go to Crossing the Frame, which is has the same musical melody as Ten Speed except it's toned down a bit. Apollo I: The Writing Writer is a great song, but what I really like about it are the amazing lyrics in this song.
Once Upon Your Dead Body also has some great lyrics, though not as much as Apollo to me. Wake Up is probably my least favorite song on the album, mostly because it has a soft tone and I was really in a rock tone by the time I got to this song. The Suffering has more of a pop tone and is the closest to a G-rated song we get to on this CD, besides Wake Up. Lying Lies and Dirty Secrets of Miss Erica Court, is one of the least memorable songs on the album, although it has a gigantically long title. In no way is it a bad song, I just liked most of the songs better. Then we go to Mother May I, which holds the prize for best lyrics on the CD for me.
The finale of the album is the four part series of the Willing Well. Each song is over seven minutes in length, and Fuel for the Feeding End is a great start to the quadrilogy. It has good, thoughtful lyrics with a catchy musical tone. Fear Through the Eyes of Madness is probably my least favorite of the four, though it has an exceptional ending. Apollo 2: The Telling Truth is essentially the same as Apollo 1 with slightly different lyrics and a remix of the musical tone. Still an awesome song even if it is part of a rehash.
Finally we have the grand finale of Good Apollo, and oh what a finale it is. With some of the best guitar playing I've ever heard in a song before, The Final Cut tops all the competition on this album as the best played. There aren't many lyrics, though the infamous "I'd shut your face in the door" is in this song. The lack of lyrics is doubly made up for with the amazing guitar solo between Travis and Claudio at the end of the song and the "nature" ending is quite a surprise.
If that's not enough to convince you to buy this wonderful CD, then Good Apollo just isn't for you. Even if you don't like this album somehow, you should try the other two, In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 and the Second Stage Turbine Blade, as they are very different from Good Apollo, musically.
on December 25, 2005
If you like the sound of Coheed and Cambria in general, you'll more than likely enjoy this CD. However, many of the early tracks such as 'Welcome Home' have a very unique and excellent sound. I think that the band in general demonstrates an amazing amount of variation in their rock sound, they style of rock, and the instrumentals. The lead vocalist has in my opinion one of the best voices in modern rock because of how unique it is. The album itself is a continuing installment in the story that the band chronicles. Though all of the tracks are pretty good, with some excellent ones, there aren't as many exceptional tracks as there were in 'In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth 3'. As a musical work, Coheed and Cambria have done some amazing things in terms of originality. This is a very good and unique musical sound that most rock fans should enjoy, and most C&C fans will likely appreciate.
on March 21, 2016
I bought this album for a second time because my first copy from years ago was worn down and skipped horribly. I love the album, and the different sound and texture of the songs. They are a unique sounding band and I enjoyed that factor then and still do now. I like the fact the songs are in tandem with the sci-fi comics written by Claudio Sanchez and although i havent read any of them yet, i still like the IDEA of there being a veil dropped down over the lyrics and the albums. The reason I am rating this 4 stars has nothing to do with the album itself, but because I didn't receive this when I was supposed to. For some reason the mp3 rip you get for buying from Amazon indicates whether each song is "clean" or explicit, some of the x ray lyrics are wrong, and the sound quality of the rip is sub par. Overall, the album is great and unique, I just felt Amazon dropped the ball a little bit on this one for me.
on November 19, 2005
When I first saw Coheed and Cambria's Second Stage Turbine on the listening station at my local record store, I couldn't help to listen...and I was impressed. Then came along Keeping Secrets...and this is when I became a huge fan of the band. A lot of people like to throw the "emo" label at them. I, for one, am an avid hater of emo music and style trend. I'm not one for whining and whatnot, but Coheed is different. They are a concept band focused around the visions of Lead Singer Claudio Sanchez.
I think what sets this album apart from the other two studio outings is that Travis (Lead Guitar) and Mike (Bass) seem to have put more effort into it then Claudio did. Some of the bass lines are really groovin, and Travis incorporates his own signature lead style. While Claudio is not the worst guitarist in the world, I think his forte lies in vocals and lyrical work rather then guitar and song writing, instead of trying to forge a copy of David Gilmour's (Pink Floyd) tone and even using a name of one of Floyd's albums for a song title (The Final Cut). The reason I enjoyed In Keeping Sectrets as much as I did is that I had never heard anything like it, and that originality is a little lacking in Good Apollo.
The album as a whole is a decent outing that I enjoy listening to, I just happen to be a bigger fan of In Keeping Secrets. This is not an album I can see being in heavy rotation on my iPod, while In Keeping Secrets has found its way back to my ears consistently since I purchased it. For me, it just seems like a weaker outing, though not weak in the least.
on September 25, 2005
If you ask me this still sounds more like Braid, Piebald, and Cap'n Jazz than any of the classic rock references that constantly come up in relation to this band. This is definitively modern music. The conceptual ideas behind the music are interesting, but I'm not too caught up in all that. The bottom line is the tunes rock in all the creative, complex, catchy ways you expect from Coheed. Constant unexpected tempo changes, key changes, melodic twists, more "whoa-oh"s than ever before, and they still manage to never waste an opportunity to throw one more killer hook into a song. Crossing The Frame is the stand-out for me. Always And Never has such a warm rich acoustic guitar tone which reminds me of Mark Kozelek. I think The Final Cut is their first song to ever have an actual guitar solo, and the Santana-esque playing is a total departure from their usual style of guitar melodies. Maybe it's Travis' doing? I'd love to know whether Travis actually writes any of his guitar parts or if Claudio just assembles the entire songs for the most part. It seems impossible that there could ever be two guitarists in one band that could both have such complex ideas yet be able to make them compliment each other so well. I'm banking on Claudio being the lone guitar genius behind Coheed, especially after Travis' blah Fire Deuce side project. Despite the shortcomings of Welcome Home (the only Coheed song I've ever not liked) and Wake Up (too similar to The Light & The Glass off the last album), this is probably my favorite album of 2005. I'm still hanging for the new Rainer Maria though.
on May 8, 2007
Yes C&C is an acquired taste, everything written in other reviews for all the albums pretty much spells out what people like about them. They are just what the current scene lacks, and bring back melodic, powerful, catchy metal in spades.....call it emo(the stupidest label ever coined bar none) or any other dumb term you want.....these guys simply rock.
The reviewer below is more interested in the album art, if thats your concern stick with cereal boxes or bazooka joe wrappers, this is rock n' roll. He also claims "sub par musicianship", which is an amazingly naive statement by someone who must know little about that which they speak. Grab a guitar and write tunes anywhere near this level. Sub par my a**. These guys are at the top of their game.
on October 21, 2005
I can't believe this is the first Coheed & Cambria album I've ever listened to some one should punish me for this. Good Apollo is a welcome surprise and is exactly the kind of music I've been starving for lately. If you have been dissapointed with most of todays mainstream Rock this album will make you feel better. I think Claudios' voice is a little weird, but that's cool I'll get used to it and one day love it. Just like I did with The Mars Volta. This CD makes me feel that maybe their is now a light at the end of the tunnel for Rock music. If only more of todays bands could be as talented and original. I am also very impressed with the production of this album the whole CD is extremly tight and crisp. Never before have I been so quick to throw a band new to me to the top of my favorites list.
Here are my two cents on this Emo debate im reading in other reviews.
1. Emo is worse than Country and tarnishes the music industry.
2. This is absolutely not Emo for crying out loud, its Great Prog Rock!