on 27 September 2005
Its been a some time since Coheed & Cambria's last album but the short haitus has proved worthwhile in every sense. Their latest effort is more polished than 'In Keeping Secrets....' in terms of both songwriting & production.
Whilst that album was both refreshing & a genuine surprise back on the musical landscape of 2003 - this album represents a significant & important leap forward for the band since their debut 'Turbine Blade....' appeared on the scene. These new songs show a band reaching out towards their musical & creative horizons.
'In Keeping...' is a good place to start for those not familiar with Coheed's individual sound, whilst also being a good place to pick up the (somewhat unusual)running storyline that runs through the band's catalogue. On hearing that album first earlier this year I was both surprised & encouraged to see that a major label had taken a chance on such a visionary & not necessarily commercial (in terms of the prevailing musical trend) band. Having listened to the album I quickly understood why - Coheed & Cambria are both unique & innovative whilst still being accessible. Their sound is reminiscent of both Led Zeppelin & Rush, brought up to date with somewhat of a hint of an 'emo' type sound (this reviewer hates to pigeonhole - but can think of no other way to describe their sound! - ed) - 'Prog Emo' anyone ?! But anyway this band are clearly about more than genre boundaries....
'Good Apollo...' pushes the envelop further. Following the obligatory intro. we are met with a brave choice - a gentle acoustic passage 'Always & Never' closely followed by the first single from the album 'Welcome Home' - a brilliant song that borrows from Led Zeppelin's 'Kashmir' whilst developing their own sound. Claudio Sanchez' vocals shine through with Birnbaum/Bittner's fantastic production. The twin guitar attack of both Sanchez & Stever at the close of the track will have you reaching for that air guitar in no time. 'Ten Speed' maintains the pace whilst showcasing the growing songwriting talent of the band. The dual guitar playing talent of both Sanchez & Stever has been allowed to come to the fore on this album with great results. 'Crossing the Frame' & 'Once Upon...' cross over on to perhaps more familiar territory whilst 'Wake Up' again shows that this band can do both heavy & introspective equally well - reminiscent of Opeth's ability to cross from extreme riffage to beautiful acoustic soundscapes in the blink of an eye.
The album contines to delight throughout until we reach the closing excerpt 'The Willing Well' - representing the album's most unconventional & challenging set of songs. However, repeated listening will show a band setting the bar higher with a statement of intent for their next effort - which this reviewer hopes will not be too far into the future. Outstanding.
on 27 September 2005
Once again Coheed have surpassed expectation.As a big fan of Coheed I was also a bit wary of this album coming out thinking it would be the end of the story which I have come to love.This album has everything though catchy riffs amazing lyrics and once again the Coheed esque we have come to love since SSTB.It opens up slow with a musical number then the acoustic song Always and Never which then builds up to the melodic riffs of Welcome Home which are continued through the whole album up intill, Final Cut.I won't give too much away of the story all I can is that it will surpass your expactations just like the 2 previous albums.Thank God for Coheed, this album is surely amazing
on 21 July 2006
This album is exceptional. It forms a section of the third chapter of one grand concept governing all albums thus far. A concept series then, rather than just a single album, the style of this record is fittingly nebular; it oscilates between manically sinister effect-laden menace, tender, soaring innocence and vehemently twitchy angst. Standout tracks within the first part of the album include the epic call to arms 'welcome home', 'crossing the frame', 'The Suffering', 'The Lying Lies and Dirty Secrets of Miss Erica Court'. Such moments withing this first section give the impression that Co&Ca have really found a solid creative base for their music. Multiple guitars wander through the strange lyrical landscape of 'The Bag.On.Line Adventures' and Claudio Sanchez's vocals predictably excel. The final four songs are the album's real strong point. Ever-difficult to describe, they form almost half an hour of progressive musical experimentation, which masterfully works in melodic themes from previous albums (see also, final track of second album). This album is genius, a timely reward for those who saw potential in the band's inaugural offering.
In the grand scheme of things I'd rank this somewhere above Second Stage Turbine Blade and somewhere below In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth 3. The most obvious thing you notice on first listening to it is that stylistically it's quite different from the previous two - the tone is generally darker and heavier, and Claudio Sanchez seems to have deliberately modified his vocals quite a lot. I suppose they would have been criticised a lot more if all their albums had sounded the same, especially since they're all part of the same narrative, but it's a shame that the first impression is of a more traditional studio rock album with a less wildly original sound.
On the other hand, the actual songs have grown on me hugely over time, and my first impression has turned out to be completely wrong. They may sound different, but this is part of the natural evolution of the story, and they're still as complex, catchy and involving as ever. There's a definite structure going on here as well, culminating in track 14, which is not only a reprise of track 6 but briefly revisits songs from the previous two albums as well. The story remains pretty impenetrable, but it seems to concern an older version of the character Apollo from the previous album, with an interesting twist in the form of songs told from the perspective of 'the Writer' - the guy who actually appears to be creating the story and actively torturing the characters within (track 6 is one of my favourites).
In short this album is fantastic, though if you don't own the previous two I'd recommend buying those first, since this one represents a bit of a change of direction. I can't wait to find out where the next one goes, however..
on 23 December 2006
I must admit that when a friend recommended this to me, I wasn't expecting much, I thought it might have been 'just another metal band'.
I was pleasantly surpised.
This is not exactly what I call metal myself, but then again everyone has their own boundaries.I listen to a wide range of music myself. Then again what is metal these days? Anyway on to the album in question.
This is an excellent album,produced in the way of a story. And this story from start to beginning left me hooked. I have not yet listened to it in it's entirity in one sitting, but all the tracks are excellent. From the calm and laid back 'Wake Up' and 'Always and Never', which I must say compliment's Claudio Sanchez's child-like voice, to the riotous and loud anthems of 'Welcome Home' and 'Ten Speed (Of God's Blood and Burial)'which contrast the slower, softer songs perfectly. Not many other metal bands do this, they either attempt it and fail miserably (DragonForce-Inhuman Rampage), or not at all (Trivium-Ascendancy). Listening to an hours worth of screaming isn't really a great album for me.
In summary, I say listen to this if you like the stuff of a metal band, with a few ballads thrown into the mix for good measure.
PS. This is definitely emo. Emo is the stuff of tears. This doesnt make me cry.
on 14 November 2005
coheed third album is their best. word
they've come along way from the punky emo of SSTB and evolved into an epic prog beast that takes the best parts of Rush, Thin Lizzy, Led Zep, Jethro Tull, Queen Iron Maiden and even hints of the Police with Coheeds own unnique song writing, Sci-fi themes and just general weirdness. this album pushs the boundaries ever further with some simply stunning guitar work, intricate melodies, complex song structures and of course Claudio's helium filled lyrics.
the four part Willing Well will blow u away
An epic modern take on 70s/80 rock music. out of this world.
on 28 January 2006
This much anticipated album from the wild quartet that is Coheed and Cambria arrived in late summer 2005 and made up the third album in the band’s repertoire, continuing their tradition of ludicrous, yet intriguing album titles. But the epic proportions of this album do not stop there. The ominous sleeve is removed to reveal an eerie, sinister album cover, establishing a dark, horror-themed artwork that continues throughout the booklet. This vast saga quality is in keeping with the graphic novels that accompany Coheed’s work, which I found equally impenetrable. One cannot help but feel that it is all a little pretentious, although it succeeds in creating the (presumably) desired effect.
The dark messiah like tone continues into the start of the album, with the awesome string arrangements by Karl Berger in “Keeping the Blade” that breaks into a sombre, breath-taking motif at approximately 1:10, which I challenge anyone to experience and not be filled with inspiration and anticipation for the rest of the album, an anticipation that I feel is not entirely fulfilled. Perhaps this premier track sets too high a standard, however I can in no way describe this album negatively.
Instead of bursting into a scream or a virtuosic riff, the following song “Always & Never” pleasantly surprises. It sets up a homely, nostalgic feel with the sound of children (though not sinister as one may expect) and sweet, woody guitar, that remains throughout the song, perfectly complimenting the sweeter, breathier side of Claudio Sanchez’s voice. The shortness of the song makes it feel like a nourishing breath before the album really starts, giving the whole album a stronger and more calculated impression. This is a far more effective and impressive use of this build up device than offered by such bands as Atreyu and Avenged Sevenfold.
The opening lick of “Welcome Home” conjures images of a virtuosic guitarist sitting down, picking up his instrument and taking a breath before the distortion-soaked, harmonic-rich guitar melody kicks in. This is a towering anthem that harks back to late Led Zepplin works, with the verses like a dark, aggressive version of “Kashmir”. The string backing certainly adds depths to the song, giving the impression of vast planes of hell, with an animated priest animatedly preaching over the top. The bleak, disturbing lyrics are entirely congruent with the general impression of the song, giving way to the vast instrumental section that climaxes with the moans of a colossal army, like a hellish workforce lament. The outro brings resolution as well as saying “now get ready for the rest of this onslaught”.
It is at this point that the album seems to diminish. Don’t get me wrong, the music that is put forward is far from being disappointing, but the awe-inspiring start to the work is let down from here. Though the opening tracks render the album as an anti-climax, it has to be said that if tracks 4 – 15 were offered by a contempory band, or indeed as an album in themselves then they would be well respected. But the music falls into a lot more familiar territory from here.
The guitars of Claudio Sanchez and Travis Stever are perfectly toned to provide bite and melody, and the harmonising shows meticulous effort and fills out the songs well. The increasingly popular lap steel also makes an appearance, though deep in the layering of the instrumentation. Sanchez delivers once again with his trade mark funky, harmonised vocals that provide a breath of fresh air the genre that looks to become set in its style. The sound of the album is theatrical to say the least, with build up sections such as in “Apollo 1: The Writing Writer” adding variety to the overall tone.
The album finishes with a set of four songs entitled “The Willing Well (I – IV)” that presumably are intended to be aside from the rest of the album. It is here that the album picks up its grand style, with none of the songs being less than seven minutes. “The Final Cut” brings appropriate resolve to the album with soaring bluesy guitars soloing over a bed of layered harmony. The final hidden track seems a little misguided. Perhaps Coheed we fed up of being to austere and ominous and fancied a country outing for a laugh. However in my view the respect the album demands is somewhat tainted by this. At least there are no comedy vocals to accompany it…
on 26 November 2010
Coheed and Cambria are my favourite band and I have fully explored all work that Claudio Sanchez has put out there from Coheed and Cambria, to his side project of Prizefighter Inferno, to all comic book releases and of all his work this is by far my favourite.
This is my favourite album, probably of all time and here is why-
On my first listen this album plain confused me. I wasn't sure what the band were getting at, the other songs did not sound like the singles (welcome home and the suffering are what orginaly caught my attention to the band) and I'd heard of the underlying story but couldn't really grasp it. However after a few more listens I realised that this band were made up of four genius songwriters.
This is Coheed at there musical best, sure, you've got the amazing singles The Suffering and Ten Speed as well as the earth shattering Welcome Home, but probably the best peices of work on this album are the four tracks closing the album (The Willing Well I-IV) which is just section after thrilling section, complex changes, insane amounts of dynamics, catchy vocal and guitar hooks, expert musicainship and an earth shattering climax of The Final Cut.
If you like music that is interesting, exhirlating and just so musically impressive- this really is the Coheed album for you.
Aside from the expert song writing- lyrically, melodically and just generally- this album is very dark, which is confirmed by the internal events of the members themselves during the writing and creation of this record.
If you are interested in the underlying concept of this record- this album is probably the coolest in that sense too. Taking a look at how the life of the writer of the story will affect the outcome of the characters and how the writer creates his subconoius in the form of Tenspeed bike to help him finish the story! Weird, but wonderfully captivating and brilliant.
As an introduction to the band this album may not be the way in for some listeners, however, if you are after a true musical journey that even five or so years later inspires just as much if not more than it did back then, a masterclass in songwriting and something that is just all round brilliant, this is for you.
The most underated and the king of Coheed and Cambria albums without a shadow of a doubt.
Coheed and Cambria at their very very best.
Buy this album- you need to.
Good Apollo Tonight I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness was Coheed and Cambria's third studio album and saw a huge increase in the band's popularity when it was released back in 2005.
The album contains a few of the band's best known songs, such as the grand `Welcome Home,' the catchy `The Suffering,' and of course `Ten Speed (Of God's Blood and Burial)'
With this album; the band effortlessly mixes classic rock and prog influences into their music with modern attitudes and delivery, creating an eclectic, complex and melodic record full of surprise twists and turns. From quieter moments like `Always & Never,' and `Wake Up,' to loud and bombastic moments like the three aforementioned singles, the album contains a wealth of ideas.
Highlight moments include the amazing almost-title track `Apollo I: The Writing Writer,' which is still one of my favourtie Coheed songs till this day, and the grand and bluesy guitar solo showcase `The Willing Well IV: The Final Cut.'
No fan of the band should be without this album, it stands up remarkably well today with an excellent production job, amazing musicianship and some of the band's finest ever songwriting in addition to the penultimate lyrical part of the band's multiple concept album, and cross platform media series The Amory Wars.
If you are new to the band, this is a fine album to make your first Coheed purchase.
on 18 November 2012
This album is truly a step from the last album of "In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth" where that album was a very good album this one is top class.
Starting with the familiar theme in Keeping the Blade and moving into the warm feelings of Always and Never is a great way to start the album especially to the people who have heard the first two.
The album goes through the stages that you would expect from Coheed and Cambria but with a sound that leans toward funky, off beat rhythmns as well as the sounds developed in the last two albums. Mother May I is an example of the quirky rhythmness that accompanies the more traditional Coheed sound of songs like "The Suffering" and "Crossing the Frame".
Then there is the epic sound of this album. The third track "Welcome Home" is epic in itself with fantastic solos and great hard hitting vocals. The ending "The Willing Well" which is split into four parts is equally epic in the long term with the closing "The Final Cut" having one of the most epic moments in Coheed history in the form of "If I had my way I'd crush your face in the door."
In all this is an epic album with a variety of sounds, changes (Wake up is a very welcome pace changer mid-album) and is very good in every aspect.
This album should be welcome in anyone's music collection.