on April 19, 2010
There are some people out there who simply don't like Coheed. Maybe it's Claudio's high-pitched singing, maybe it's his huge frizzy hair, but something about the band turns them off. Other people are obsessed with the band. These people tend to love pretty much everything the band releases, and these are the same people who have religiously read the comics that tell the story of the music.
On the other hand, I fall in between these two extremes. I think Coheed is a great band. In fact, I think that if history is fair, they would be regarded in the future as one of the premier bands of this era, much the same way that classic bands from the 60's and 70's are thought of now. I particularly liked Coheed's second and third albums, but I think their first exhibited "Debut Syndrome" where a band hasn't quite reached its potential, and their fourth release exhibits "Mid-Career Rush-To-Release Syndrome", where a talented and successful band pushes a release out the door without taking the time to make sure it's up to the standard of their previous releases.
Year of the Black Rainbow, however, is everything I've ever wanted in a Coheed album, for the following reasons:
1) FOCUS: A fair criticism of the band's past releases is that they lack focus. Sure, there is a cohesive story, but I'm not talking about that. What I mean is, everything from album titles, song titles, song lengths, and consistency indicate that the band tries to do too much. Compare the two Good Apollo volumes (for example, the first had a title with 15 words in it, and the second had a 5-song way-too-drawn-out closing epic), versus YOTBR. The album title, song titles, and song lengths on YOTBR are symbolic of the new focus of the band. Sure, you might say "Who cares about titles? And isn't it good when a band stretches out and frees itself of the conventions of radio-length songs?" To that, I say sure, titles don't matter much, but they can be symbolic of the band's approach to the underlying music, and "stretching out" can be great but only if it's done well, and Coheed has been guilty of doing it poorly in the past.
2) MELODIES: Melody in music is a funny thing. I like certain melodies, and I dislike others, and it's hard to explain why. On YOTBR, nevertheless, there are TONS of great melodies. Specifically, Claudio's vocals are very catchy and melodic throughout the album, and that makes it an addictive listen. Just the simple fact that there is so much melody on the album is great by itself; Coheed can be described as a metal band, although they certainly are a multi-genre band, and a lot of metal is often terrible because of its lack of melody.
3) DRUMS: As I get older, it takes more for music to keep my attention. I look more and more for technical proficiency, even though the most important quality in music, in my opinion, is good songwriting, which generally has pretty much nothing to do with technical proficiency. Finally, Coheed is moving towards combining the best of both worlds. They've always had great guitar work, a trend that continues on this album, but drumming has IMHO been weak up until now. Enter Chris Pennie. YOTBR is his first album with Coheed, and the guy is a freakin' virtuoso. I love his work on this album and can't wait to hear what he does on future Coheed albums. He was an excellent addition to the band and gives them exactly the kind of rhythm-section power they needed, much in the same way that Keith Moon and John Bonham made their bands exponentially better than they otherwise would have been. Just listen to Pennie's work on Guns of Summer and prepare for your mind to be blown.
BOTTOM LINE: If you have never liked a Coheed album, chances are you won't like this one either. But if you have liked anything they have done in the past, or if you have never heard any of their music, you need to give this album a chance. Also, VERY IMPORTANT: when I first listened to this album, I was disappointed. As I listened to it more, I realized that it truly is a masterpiece. If you don't like it at first, be patient with it, give it multiple listens, and I guarantee you will not be disappointed in the end.
on April 13, 2010
Year of the Black Rainbow is the fifth studio album from the concept rock band Coheed & Cambria. This album represents the prequel story to the saga and is intended to tell the events leading up to Coheed's first studio album The Second Stage Turbine Blade. This deluxe edition (which I would highly recommend) comes with the studio album + bonus tracks, a 350 page novel telling the story of The Year of the Black Rainbow, and a documentary DVD about the making of the album. Each component is reviewed briefly below. I'm sorry the review is so long but I had to review a CD, a DVD, and a novel! If you don't care about the details, to sum it all up - you should buy this album. If you already knew you were going to get the album but were curious about the deluxe edition - you should buy the deluxe edition. Details below:
Year of the Black Rainbow CD:
For their fifth album, Coheed and Cambria have continued the evolution of their sound. Several of the songs contain an electronic influence through the use of keyboards, but the overall sound is still undeniably Coheed. As the lead singer/songwriter Claudio Sanchez states in the documentary DVD, beginning the writing process with these electronic elements helped him to break through his writer's block and to make songwriting fun again. The use of the electronic elements isn't overdone at all and I think it really complements the sound of the album as a whole. In addition, this is the first album that new drummer Chris Pennie has recorded on. You can immediately hear the difference in style that he brings to the table on many of these songs. Chris is an amazingly talented and technical drummer and you can hear his skills in his unique beats and his quick and precise fills. In particular, the drumming on the track In the Flame of Error really stands out for me as being incredible. He weaves in and out of various beats and drops in and out of half time at a moments notice. In addition, the drums on Guns of Summer are just crazy and you need to hear them (possibly multiple times) to appreciate them. Pennie is clearly adding something to the band and not just playing generic beats and hiding in the background. I applaud the band for not being afraid to let the new guy show off his chops and also contribute to the sound of the album. It sounds simple, but it isn't something that most bands would feel comfortable with.
The track list consists of 12 songs + 2 demo tracks that were not put on the final version of the album. I'm not a big fan of reviewing each track separately but I think there is something on here for everyone. Rock driven songs (The Broken, This Shattered Symphony, When Skeletons Live, World of Lines), softer ballad type songs (Pearl of the Stars, Far), new experimental type songs (Guns of Summer, In the Flame of Error), catchy radio friendly songs (Made Out of Nothing, Here We Are Juggernaut), and a jam track that builds and builds (Year of the Black Rainbow). I honestly love all of these tracks and I think each one shows off why Coheed and Cambria are one of the best band currently making music. The two bonus tracks (Chamberlain and The Lost Shepherd) are actually quite strong, except that they aren't recorded as well as the final tracks (obviously...they are demos). In particular I really like most of the elements in the song Chamberlain, but I am not a fan of the electronic beeping during the bridge. I love the verse and chorus of this song. The verse especially reminds me of "Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin. They are definitely worth hearing and could probably have been included on the album if the band had chosen to do so (they discuss not including them in the DVD).
Year of the Black Rainbow Novel:
I love, love, love this idea! I am of the opinion that it is not necessary for someone to learn the backstory behind the concept of Coheed and Cambria in order to enjoy the music. The music can stand alone as brilliant on its own, but for many fans - me included - knowing the story behind the songs and the lyrics helps brings us that much closer to the music and the meaning behind it. Up until now, parts of the story had only been released in comicbook form (telling the events of The Second Stage Turbine Blade) and graphic novel form (giving us a picture of the events of Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV). I own and have read all of these comics, but I am not the biggest fan of the comicbook medium on the whole. It just doesn't speak to me and in fact, the only comics that I own are the Coheed and Cambria and Kill Audio comics. That is why I love the idea of the prequel story being released as a novel. The book was co-written by Claudio Sanchez and Peter David. I have already read the book and I throughly enjoyed the read. You will learn the origins of Supreme Tri Mage Wilhelm Ryan, the creation of Coheed/Cambria/Inferno, the origin of the dragonfly, the backstory of Admiral Crom and Mayo Deftinwolf, all about the Black Rainbow, the story behind Josephine's birth, the evolution of Coheed & Cambria's relationship, and many more things. It is a fascinating read and I would recommend it to any Coheed fan looking to learn more, or anyone who is interested in the band but doesn't know where to start. I would even tell you to read it if you don't care about the band at all. In my opinion, reading this book is probably the best way to help you learn more about the universe and the backstory where these events take place.
Year of the Black Rainbow DVD:
The DVD contains a short 30 min documentary about the making of the album and copies of a few small teaser trailers (about 1 min in length each) that the band put up on their website prior to the albums release. The documentary is quite interesting and gives fans a picture of what went on behind the scenes in the writing and recording of this album. You learn a little about certain songs and how they were written and you get the meet the producers and get their take on the album. My only small complaint about this documentary is that the production and editing of the video give it sort of a "negative" feeling. It is hard to explain, but the documentary only has interviews with individuals (not the band together)and for much of it they are discussing how this is the end. I think they are just referring to the completion of the saga, but I wish the DVD had more of a positive energy to it and not a negative vibe. It actually sort of made me sad in the end because I was thinking about Coheed and Cambria no longer making music. Maybe this is just my opinion, I'm not sure. It is still really interesting and definitely worth watching.
Year of the Black Rainbow Packaging:
The packaging is perfect and really well designed. The hard cover book that the CD and DVD comes in, contains the lyrics sheets and some really cool graphic design images. This is probably my favorite way I have ever seen lyrics presented. In addition, the case that holds the CD/DVD book and the novel is really well designed and a perfect way to display the content. I am very happy with how everything looks and was put together. The only complaint I have is that the glue that is used for the case everything comes in (that the book and cd/dvd slide into)is kind of cheap. I have noticed the paper peeling away because it has come unstuck.
Buy this deluxe edition! You won't regret it. Coheed and Cambria have proven time and time again how much they care about their fans by providing amazing content like you will find in this deluxe package. The album is brilliant, the novel is a terrific read, and the DVD is an interesting look into the bands recording process and the making of an album. Now that the saga is complete, who knows where Coheed and Cambria will go now; but I can guarantee that I will be along for the ride wherever it takes me.
Note: Just to straighten something out. Amazon currently has this deluxe edition listed as having 3 discs. That is incorrect - there are 2 discs (CD and DVD) and a novel.
on April 21, 2010
To give a point of reference, I am a huge fan of this band. I am not a fan who knows the story like the back of my hand, but I am someone who appreciates the talent, creativity, and innovation they have displayed to this point. The music has always been where it's at for me. Their first three albums have forever placed them among my top three favorite bands.
That said, this one has been a bit of a rollercoaster for me. My first taste was "The Broken", via their myspace page, and my first couple listens through that song left me nervous about the forthcoming album release. If that was the direction, I was not sure I was interested. I know I am not alone in this sentiment, and like many others, I decided not to let that doubt prematurely ruin this album for me. I reserved judgment until I could take in the album as a whole. I am glad I did.
It took longer for this one to "sink in". Probably because of the wall of sound surrounding the real music beneath. That is my biggest gripe with this release, and it is really unfortunate. I listen to Good Apollo vol 1 and enjoy the bits of production and sound effects. Here it all seems a bit too much. I cannot help but wonder how this is going to sound live.
However, after a little over a week of listening to nothing but YotBR, it has grown on me considerably. Without too much searching I have been able to find the Coheed that I love. Part of that is in the progression of their sound, but I can hear parts of all of their work in this album. I truly enjoy this album and am very relieved that my first impression of "The Broken" was not upheld. I have even grown to like that song quite a bit.
Overall I would liked to have given a 3.75, but since I cannot, I rate it a 4. I don't see it as a "4 star" album, but it is better than a 3 or 3.5. I am disappointed by what I see as over-production. I am in love with the evolution of their sound and continued push forward, while not letting us forget who they are: a very talented band who consistently puts out excellent music. If you cannot find what you love about Coheed in your first few plays through YotBR, I encourage you to keep listening, it's in there.
on April 13, 2010
Coheed & Cambria have been through a lot since their inception at the turn of the century. They have grown and matured so much and this album is a real treat for the fans who have been there since the beginning. It is easy to get lost in the idea that they should stick to their roots but this band has always been about progression. No album has sounded alike with these guys.
This is a rock album and a thumping good one at that. From the creepy opening track, to the proggy The Broken, atmospheric Far and heavy handed In the Flame of Error, this album is perhaps the best example of what this band is. It contains noticeable elements of their previous work and at the same time finds a new sound which may open it to a wider audience. However, this is not a sell out. This is a band doing what they do best which is adapting after the loss of their original drummer and the addition of ex-Dillinger Escape Plan's Chris Pennie. These guys have risen up and written a masterpiece.
on April 15, 2010
There are too many effects and background noises to pick out the music. I really want to love this album, but there are parts that are so saturated with effects that a shredding solo sounds like a laser gun fight. The music is in there somewhere, I am sure of it! And where is Travis? Is he in the band still because the high guitar is completely muted by all of the background effects. Almost every vocal track is full of effects. The bass sounds droning instead of the talented walking fingers I am used to. And the drumming has suffered (just my opinion) since the drummer changed. The last album was forgivable since it was just Chris channeled into Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters (not his style of music). I completely respect the technically and mechanically insane drumming of Chris, but I feel that he is forcing the songs in his direction as opposed to how Josh felt more fluid.
on February 21, 2015
Ok, I bought a used version of this cd because I thought it would be and 'off" album. I was wrong. While it is not as technically good, there is a heartfelt and sincerely catchy end result with this album. That might not make much since, but you would be surprised. Coheed is sooo good in a totally different feel with each album. I applaud this album
on June 30, 2010
Now that I am coming down off of the "New Coheed Release" high, I can review this fairly objectively. I have been a Coheed fan since 2002, and I had myself really hyped up for this album to come out. When I first heard it, I thought it was great. Now it is just kind of forgettable to me. I know there are many here that love it, but this just isn't the Coheed that I fell in love with. This feels like an album full of filler songs with nothing that has the same substantial or epic feeling of previous albums. These tracks would've made GREAT, and I mean GREAT filler tracks for other albums, but the album doesn't really feel cohesive.
Anyways, track by track review:
This is a pretty cool opening track, and it really does help to set the tone for the rest of the album. The only thing really unifying the album is that the tracks (well, the first few at least) have a semi-industrial feel to them. This track also features the SSTB piano motif, semi-obscured by the noises around it. Nothing to complain about here.
2. The Broken
This was the first single released for this album, and it is a pretty cool track. This also establishes the vocal transition that Claudio was initially going through for NWFT. The first 3 albums had a more relaxed vocal style to me, it seems. Now he is really pushing, and it tends to make the vocals feel really overdone to me. This might just be a product of him getting older and his voice changing more. It just feels weird to me, though. But ya, this song is cool, but it feels like they cut it off short. They could've done so much more with this track to give it the scope of "In Keeping Secrets". Overall, though a solid track.
3. Guns of Summer
This is probably my favorite track off of the album. It's really straightforward with quite a lot of energy, and it is just fun to listen to. The chorus kind of reminds me of turn-of-the-millennium post-hardcore in some weird nostalgic way. Anyways, granted this is my favorite track, there really isn't much to say about it. It's a cool track that also feels like a filler track.
4. Here We Are Juggernaut
This was the 2nd single released from this album, and it is the most polarizing track to me. I literally HATE the beginning of the track. I absolutely hate it. The riff is cheesy, generic, and uninspired, the lyrics in the beginning are awful ("Keep your secrets in the dark, nothing matters anymore, bodies breaking, drive me crazy"). I just remember thinking "Wow this is awful" when I first heard it. Then all of the sudden, a really great chorus breaks out of nowhere. The song manages to be the best and worst part of this album at the same time. Verses are absolutely awful, yet the chorus is really really good. It feels so out of place from the rest of the album, though. It might have to do with the order of the tracks, but this feels like it should have been later into the CD. This song feels like an arrival, and we haven't even traveled anywhere yet. Once the song gets to the point where it is essentially just the chorus, it is really good. This one doesn't feel like a filler track to me, but it suffers from the same problem that "The Broken" suffered from. It got cut off very short. They had a great idea, but didn't know how to expand upon it, really. No development happened. The idea was thrown at us and taken away. This is the problem generally with this album as well.
This is one of my favorite tracks off of this album. It might actually be tied with "Guns of Summer". It has a similar feels to "Feathers" from NWFT, but different at the same time. The solo section is simple, but very nice. This song feels more like a Coheed song than any of the other songs on this album to me. It has more of the fantasy feeling than any of the other tracks could offer us, and that's always been my favorite thing about Coheed. They have the ability to take us into their fantasy world. This album is just straight rock for the most part, so this song is a nice throwback to that fantasy world.
6. This Shattered Symphony
This track also suffers from an issue mentioned on "Juggernaut". The feel of it makes it seem like it should have been way later in the album, possibly before "Juggernaut". It feels like it would be a good lead in. It is yet another track that feels wrongly placed, and therefore has a less impacting place within the structure of the album. The song itself is really catchy. Claudio's slight harsh vocal lead in to the chorus is nice every time I hear it, the guitar in the beginning is a nice surprise, but, yet again, it feels like they had an idea, threw it at us, and took it right back. This isn't something I expect from Coheed. They've lost their progressive rock attitude and have just become rock, and that leads me to the next track...
7. World of Lines
"Hey guys, Iron Maiden is one of our inspirations." This track feels like it was written directly by Maiden. I mean, if you took out the vocals and told me that Maiden wrote it, I'd probably believe you. I really don't have much to say about this track other than "This is Iron Maiden". It just feels done.
8. Made Out Of Nothing (All That I Am)
My first instinct tells me that the placement of the track relative to the tracks around it is a little weird, and it is. However, I think that this track is EXACTLY where it needs to be. The other tracks surrounding it are out of order, though. This track feels a little bit more Coheedy than a lot of the other tracks on this album, but at times it can feel a little trite lyrically. I like some of the things that Claudio does vocally, like the transition at around 2:30 into the track. I like this track overall, but it feels like it could've been part of something bigger.
9. Pearl of the Stars
This track is very interesting to me. The track starts out with a very warm acoustic guitar with a constant synth that reminds me a bit of the manner in which Dntel creates atmosphere. The vocals in the beginning are very, very different for Claudio. They are supposed to represent Dr. Hohenberger, I do believe. He quickly gives up on this and goes back to his normal voice. The vocals seem less in your face in this track. I like this track because there are a lot of surprises that you could COMPLETELY overlook if you aren't listening carefully, like the trombone in the chorus, and the soft synths that you will hear randomly as well. The solo section is nice, if not a little predictable. This track is the high point of the album. It is the real climax to me, which is actually kind of upsetting. I'll explain why in my conclusion.
10. In the Flame of Error
The beginning of this track is deceiving. It would have you believe that this track is going to be the highpoint of this album, but it isn't. Its placement is appropriate, though. The falling action is happening here. The track makes it feel like the album is going to be coming to some kind of explosive end, and... well, more on that later. The track starts out with what is supposed to be an epic guitar part, but it is just kind of "meh" to me. It falls short of that epicness that is trying to get. The verses of this track are rather forgettable. The chorus is slightly less forgettable, but forgettable nonetheless. I don't go around humming it really, which wouldn't be a problem if the form of the track itself wasn't standard song form, which generally means that a memorable melody is a good idea. I like this bridge of this song somewhat, but overall this feels like a filler track to the album full of filler tracks.
11. When Skeletons Live
I think that this was the first track that they recorded. You can still hear the ghost of former Coheed in this track, especially in the verses. The verses can be a little sparse, but they do still have a semi-Coheed feel. The chorus, however, feels very empty to me. There is a semi-lead part going on in the chorus that should have definitely been brought out more, but it gets buried. The bridge to this song feels good because it has a bit of Claudio harmonizing with himself, something that this album is REALLY missing. The way this track ends is a little lackluster, but that can be forgiven! The next track will be a "The Light & The Glass" scale work, right? Right?!?!
12. The Black Rainbow
Starting out, this track is really cool. At this point, I am hanging onto the hope that the last track can redeem this album. The album is already coming to an end, and it feels like it hasn't even been 10 minutes. It doesn't feel like there has been a journey at all. Maybe this last track can take us on a journey, right? Well, it certainly presents itself like that, but this track was LITERALLY just the guys messing around one morning. at around 2:15 into the track, the track starts getting big with Claudio saying "It's over, it's over". The feel at this point is that this track is going to progress and become amazing. Then you realize that what happens at 2:17 repeats for about 4 minutes. That's it. It does start getting a lot denser as it goes on, but it doesn't necessarily progress. However, this does provide one of the coolest moments for the album, where at a little after 6 minutes in, the sound suddenly, and VERY VERY VERY abruptly gets cut off. It shocks you every time that you hear it, and then the music from "One" starts back up, where you can also hear someone laughing in the background. I haven't finished reading the novel yet, so I don't know if it is Ryan, Hohenberger, or who, but there is laughter there nonetheless. But anyways, this track is supposed to be the cork on the bottle that has been filled with this music, but it is a damaged cork being put on a bottle that is only half full.
I have said positive things about the tracks themselves, but Coheed has never been about individual tracks to me. In fact, I can't really listen to just one track by Coheed. I need to listen to an entire album. All of their tracks on previous albums feel relative to each other. For enthusiasts of art music ("classical"), here is a parallel that I can run: Listening to one track by Coheed is the equivalent of listening to one movement of a symphony. Sure, you can feel satisfied, but you are missing the entire point of the work if you leave out the rest of the movements. To understand a whole work, it is necessary to listen to all parts. Coheed has always been better about producing albums that are that cohesive than most other people could ever dream about. "Year of the Black Rainbow", however, completely fails on this front. The progression from track to track makes no sense. Part of this problem, to be quite honest, is the fact that Claudio no longer has the fantasy in mind when he writes the music. The fantasy is what really was able to drive the previous albums to such incredible degrees, and the loss of the fantasy is the loss of the quality. The other albums can take you up Mount Everest. This one takes you up an elevator to the top floor of a 20 story office building.
Also, the new drummer, Chris, really didn't do much on this album. His stuff with Dillinger was nuts, but it seems like he is just doing basic patterns and waiting for a paycheck. Can't say that I blame him, though.
In summary, the album does not flow well, the tracks make good filler tracks (not good for an entire album, though), but this album is ultimately forgettable. I hate to say this, because I love Coheed, but this album is by far their worst work. If you are already a Coheed fan, you more than likely have this album already. If you are thinking about getting into Coheed, DO NOT use this album as your judgment of the band. Listen to the first 3 albums that they put out, for those are their best works, and they are arguably some of the best albums of the last decade. I still love Coheed, but this just wasn't them.
on May 6, 2016
I am so upset. The case on this came cracked and broken in multiple places. One of the cracks prevents the case from stating together and makes the hinges not function. I have tried to tape it together to no avail. I can buy a new case to keep the CD safe from harn, but I bought this one already hence the disappointment.
The music itself is fine.
on November 23, 2011
I've bought this box set twice now, once for myself when it first came on pre order and now a second for my younger sister who also wanted it. I've loved both of the sets and have had no issues. At the bottom
*I made a very brief summary of each section I covered if you want a quick opinion.*
The box is a sturdy material that holds inside the hardcover edition of Year Of The Black Rainbow novel and a smaller book that actually holds the cd/dvd. It stands nicely if you have a collection or even if you just want something different. Personally, my favorite part of the set was the book for the album/dvd. It is a great idea to showcase them like this, rather than a standard jewel case. Thorough the book you'll find some interesting pictures and full lyrics for every song on the album except! the two bonus tracks - The Lost Shepherd and Chamberlain. The two bonus songs have some slightly irritating issues - I'll explain further on.
Note: One of the box's paper backing was starting to peel - a quick stick glue fix has kept it perfect for months now though.
The dvd itself is interesting to watch and how everything came together for the album. The tone of the video can be depressing at times. A lot of the entire making of is pretty low energy. Having said that, the actual production of it is much better and much informative than say NWFT or Good Apollo's dvd making of. But don't be expecting the usual joking clips of Claudio etc. There are no music videos on this dvd either, as they came out afterwards to the release.
The novel to sum in one word its great. The cover art is detailed and attention grabbing and the hardcover is well built. It is printed on torn pages, (I don't know the correct term) but they are not perfect edged paper. The story itself is fast-paced, attention holding and exciting. Claudio (with Peter David) doesn't leave much space in between major events thus never losing it's excitement. At times it will lack detail but it's still a entertaining read.
Note: This is the origins of the Coheed and Cambria story and you will learn much about the characters you cannot pull from the comic series. I personally started with this novel and after reading all of my Second Stage comics I'm certain I would of been confused on much of the plot and characters if I didn't start with this novel. You'll discover the creation of Coheed and Cambria to the back story of the Fence (their world), its sectors and Wilhelm Ryan (the evil power). I strongly recommend starting here if you haven't begun the comics. Claudio wasn't working with Peter David during the Second Stage comics but he is for the In Keeping Secrets issues. David has much improved the writings and story since joining.
P.S. There is a good possible (according to Claudio) that he will also write a novel form of the Second Stage story which will flow nicely after reading Black Rainbow.
With the new add of Chris Pennie (Personally, My favorite drummer who has just recently departed with Coheed) they release a unbelievable album. There are many people who don't enjoy this album as much but personally it is my favorite. Main complaint is overproduction, which is true. Produced by Atticus Ross, his influence added a lot of synthesizers mixed in the music. For the most part, I didn't enjoy the synths but if you ignore the annoying production additives it is great music.
It starts off with One, an arrange of sound effects with no vocals, like other albums. This runs for a couple of minutes before leading directly into The Broken.
The first true three songs are a great kick off with The Broken, Guns of Summer and Here We Are Juggernaut. The Broken is a darker side of Coheed, with much heavier guitar/drums and harsher vocals. Very different but a great change.
This song leads into Guns of Summer, a very face paced, metal sounding song. The main focus of the song is without question the drums. Chris really brings his talents here with one of the most complex/fast yet rhythmic drum track I've ever heard. It is actually one of the hardest drum songs on the rockband network - if not the hardest. With the very different style of Coheed, Claudio presents a very odd vocal style, hard to describe but at my best I'd say its dark and at times almost slightly creepy. Personally my favorite song of the album. Only downside is the annoying synths that run through.
And finishing is Here We are Juggernaut with a more melodic traditional style of Coheed. With a strong chorus and catchy riffs/rhythms it is a song you can easily get into off the first listen. Centered mostly around the vocals, Claudio's voice is much stronger than previous albums.
There are three main ballad type songs - Far, Pearl Of The Stars, The Black Rainbow and Made Out Of Nothing. All three are emotional and musically written very well. On Pearls Claudio experiments with deeper vocals and its a big change but sounds superb with Chris using a 'trash can' kit for this song. Most people I know who are not large fans of this album still love these three songs. Personally, I think it's their best songs of this type compared to Wake Up, The Road and The Damned etc.
With the last four tracks remains This Shattered Symphony, When Skeletons Live, World Of Lines and In The Flame Of Error. World of lines is a high energy catchy song, not some of Coheed's greatest but you can listen to it time and time again.
Now I left these last three because they are without doubt a progressive style song. They are different between themselves but they are where the master music work is. They have their moments when they are catchy, technical break downs and great solos. I can't explain them much, but this three remind me much of the great work done by Dream Theater, Kamelot etc. Not in sound but the style of the very ever-changing progression based songs. Coheed definitely shows their maturity and musical skills in this album.
The final two demo's are great, one of them being one of the best of the album's. My issue here is that they are demo tracks and not recorded in a great quality. Atticus (in the dvd) felt they belonged in a different time etc and didn't fit the flow of the album, be that as it may, they still could have been recorded in high quality. According to the book, they record the two demos in their bedroom, which is cool because its more authentic but the sound quality clearly lacks. Disappointing but still great to listen to. *You can probably find more in depth reviews depicting each song, but I wanted to briefly cover each one leaving much of the song to the actual listeners surprised, same with the dvd/novel.*
In Summary for a quick read:
Dvd - Great production and informative - emotions/tone of the video can be depressing at times *No Music videos*
Novel - Great cover work, story is well written face paced and attention holding - Lacking some detail but still great. Highly recommend starting with this origins book.
Album - My opinion, perfect music, a side of Coheed that's very different but still with some traditional sounding tracks. Overproduced - lots of synths which are irritating at the least. Bonus tracks are low quality but well worth getting.
Box set - great packing, Cd/Dvd comes in a hardcover book, Novel is hardcover and the box itself is sturdy and will protect both the novel and music book. Nothing about it is cheap packaging
The box set is a great deal and a great collectors piece. Highly recommend.
Thanks for reading if you do.
on August 27, 2012
Coheed and Cambria managed to grab Nick Raskulinecz for No World for Tomorrow, but they grabbed the wrong people this time. The biggest thing I can pick out would be a lack of clarity in the guitars, and with how Coheed has progressed for this record (heavy and faster), that is the worst thing they could have done. The guitars have been shifted more to the background with the drums filling too much space. It also seems like ambient noise is being played through each track-perhaps they overdid the reverb on this album. The guitar playing is phenomenal, as we can expect from Coheed, but, Travis Stever is turned down in all of the wrong places.
ALL that being said, I couldn't take off more than 1 star- the songs are too good. So, listen carefully and focus on the things that shouldn't be in the background.
One: Not really a song, but sets the mood for the actual opening track in traditional Coheed fashion. Very ethereal, very smooth entrance into the Broken.
The Broken: Good track, nice and heavy. Not nearly as strong as No World For Tomorrow, Welcome Home, In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth, or Time Consumer, but a solid track.
Guns of Summer: This track suffers heavily from the shoddy production. The sound effects are more clear than the guitars. Mistake. Underneath it all lies a great chorus and overall great song.
Here we Are Juggernaut: Similar in feel to the Broken, but a better track. There is a noticeable sound effect over much of this track that sucks away clarity. If they were to remove that, this would have been that much better. One of my favorites on the album.
Far: Meh. Don't care for it. A lot of people I've talked to disagree with me though. It's got a softer feel to it, but that's not why it doesn't grab me. The drums on this one irritate me. Even though I like this one the least on the album, I can still listen to it.
This Shattered Symphony: This track makes up for Far. It's amazing, and has made it onto my top 10 list for Coheed. Best song on the album.
World of Lines: This one has grown on me. It has a good chorus, although not nearly as addictive as This Shattered Symphony.
Made Out of Nothing: Remove the sound effects and boost Travis and you would get a much better song. I initially ignored this one, like World of Lines, but it's a strong track.
Pearl of the Stars: This one is different. Softer than the rest of the album, but it does it better than Far. It's catchy, Coheed, and has a great Coheed guitar solo in there. What more can you ask for?
In the Flame of Error: It gets heavy again after Pearl of the Stars. Oh, but there goes that irritating sound effect that muds up the majority of the track.
When Skeletons Live: Another song that I really enjoy off this album! One of the riffs gives a nod back to This Shattered Symphony, earlier in the album. I don't understand the back story for the Amory Wars, but I think this song could have made a better opening track than the Broken. It actually doesn't suffer as much from the white noise problem and I can hear the guitars.
The Black Rainbow: Ethereal and different. To put it in perspective, they use a Theramin on this track. Very strange, but I like it.
Whatever you do, don't leave without This Shattered Symphony.
What we've learned from this story is that these producers should never be used again. But, good news! For the upcoming albums, they have the same producers they had for From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness!