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A masterpiece of the art-form
on 29 November 2007
Coheed & Cambria are, in every sense of the word, artists. They write stories, write music about the stories and then write comics about the music. At least, that is the approximate order. In fact it may just be a grand coagulation of pure, unabashed creativity. I'm a little bit ashamed to say that I'm very slow getting to know them, at time of writing it is 2007 and this album was released in 2002. I am, however, unturning the albums in the correct order, as so to put them in context.
I don't give many albums five stars. They have to be consistent, exceptional works of art which do not sag anywhere or lose themselves in their own sound.
Real opener "Time Consumer" instantly hit home for personal reasons (my name is Matthew). There is a lot of energy in the song. "Devil in Jersey City" is a poppy yet completely unique song which grabs attention right from the silly voices at the open. "Everything Evil" is possibly the best track, with looping, bloopy guitars and as it progresses into a more hardcore sound you lose yourself in what it creates. I really like the ending loop "Clau-dio-oh, Clau-dio-oh" because it throws a spanner in the works at the last minute. "33" is a plodding, machine like number which is probably the most different to anything else on the album. It's fairly simple, with a basic rhythm repeated throughout, but is executed to perfection. The last two tracks are "Neverender" and "God Send Conspirator". The first is another controlled frenzy of ingenious intertwined guitars with stop-start sections. The second is another great track in which we are smugly told "this town's not big enough for the two of us". We and the band know, we're onto something special.
The vocals are absolutely first class, Claudio simply has a beautiful voice free of any falsness or cringe-inducing whining. It's good that while so many completely false acts (most of them out of North America, let's be honest) are badged as "emotional music" while they are flat and lacking in any sort of innovation or rapport with their audience, the real emotion and beauty lies with bands like this who are actually passionate about what they do rather than about what they wear. I was warned about Claudio's apparent ridiculous opuses of self-importance, I heard speak of pointlessly intricate and ultimately selfish guitar solos which are lost on the audience. I was wary, and I found no sign or evidence of this. What we actually have is a series of songs which are all brilliantly written, constructed and performed. Every song hits you like a blow from a hammer, one after another we are bombarded by signatures of genuine greatness. They may not be wholly original - (there are obvious influences from the likes of Rush, post hardcore and some of the structures remind me slightly of some of Sunny Day Real Estate's output, which isn't a bad thing), but this shouldn't, and doesn't, matter.
I should also mention that depending on which version you get, you are subjected to some great b-sides, the best of which is the absolutely beautiful IRO-Bot, which is split into several parts and appears to tell the story of a bad robot who is going to be deativated. It's sad but beauiful.