Review Summary: "No World For Tomorrow" is the final installment in the Coheed saga, and it ends it well.
Being the final chapter of the “Amory Wars”, a high concept story being told throughout all of Coheed & Cambria’s announced albums, you would expect Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV: Volume Two- No World For Tomorrow
to be a suitably epic and fitting conclusion to a story that has recently built itself upon its grand scope. Yet, even dating back to Second Stage Turbine Blade
, Coheed have always been a band obsessed with pop songs amidst all the ‘prog’ craziness. Their previous effort, From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness
, decided to essentially separate these two halves of the band, making the first two ‘real’ and last four songs crazy epics, while the middle of the album was full of poppy rock numbers. In No World For Tomorrow
, Coheed finally manage to combine the two, this time with more guitar wanking and weird vocal stylings and production than ever.
The most immediate impact the album has is the fact Coheed don’t exclusively rely on lots of stupid bridges cast continuously after one another (ala “The Willing Well” quartet”) to build some sort of epic climax anymore. Instead, they rely on more technical guitar playing combined with a wider range of singing by Claudio Sanchez to give you the hair-raising moments the album delivers. On the title track, the combination of the gang vocals in the chorus (“Raise your hands high!”) combined with Claudio’s wail of “Young brothers and sisters!” and “Is there no world for tomorrow, if we wait for today” make for a moment that rivals that of the endings of “Everything Evil” and “The Crowing”, the emotional centerpieces of Coheed’s first two albums.
One thing Coheed has distinguished itself as since In Keeping Secrets…
is the fact they are a guitar centric band. Claudio and Travis Stevers are the main forces musically behind the band, with bassist Mic Todd occasionally contributing a complex bass line or fill. The departure of Eppard from the band as drummer gave hope to many that the simple drum beats of old would finally be replaced, as Chris Pennie (of Dillinger Escape Plan fame) was supposedly joining the band. While he has joined them live, he was contractually unable to play on the album, and thus Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins filled in for him here. While there are moments of interesting drumming on the album, its mostly old hat, with the drumming merely providing leeway for Claudio and Travis to go where they will.
However over the top they may be at times, particularly on songs like “Gravemakers & Gunslingers” and “Feathers”, the duo of guitarists have put out their best outing yet. Bringing back the more intrinsic and intertwining guitar playing of Second Stage Turbine Blade
and combining it with the 80’s glam solos found on Fear Through the Eyes of Madness
, they shred as much as they used to while pleasing those who were fans of the wanking solos they have recently demonstrated. You wont find the extremely extended solos like those of “Welcome Home” and “The Final Cut” (besides a flashback in “On the Brink”), being abandoned for shorter and slightly less noodly solos more reminiscent of the “Apollo II” and “Ten Speed” solos, which is a giant relief as they aren’t quite interesting enough to make 2-3 minute solos work. In small doses, however, they are a nice break from the core of the songs themselves.
One thing that worried me was that the track order seemed to have a startling resemblance to Fear Through the Eyes of Madness
. The intro, the poppy pre release song in the middle of the album, a section seperated into sections at the end (“The End Chapter”), I was pleased to discover that for the most was wrong. The album does start with an introduction, but instead of an instrumental its more of an acoustic story fowarding. From there, the albums paces itself better than anything they’ve done since SSTB
, as the post-hardcore influenced “No World For Tomorrow" seamlessly bleeds into an 80’s rock “The Hound (Of Blood and Dank). “Feathers”, initially just a throwaway track, reveals itself to actually be what “Cutting the Frame” and “Mother May I” wanted to be, a pop song driven by one of the best vocal performances by Claudio on the entire album, not to mention the lyrical depth of the song (“No other could wait for a lover/to erase boy when there is no room for love/you‘ll sail her off to the shores”).
The rest of the album is generally as consistent, with slight fumbles with “Mother Superior” (too long for its own good, although the chorus and its bridge are some of the most powerful moments on the album) and “Gravemakers & Gunslingers” which sounds too glam for its own good, although once again its saved by having a few great moments hidden within it. The most controversial point is the conclusion to the entirety of the ’Coheed universe’, “The End Complete”. It starts off strangely, with a chant and then a puzzling radio rock song in the aptly titled “Radio Bye Bye”. Kind of like “Devil in Jersey City” or “Faint of Heart” before it, the song is just too long for its own good and ruins some great Rush like guitar work and hooks with 20 superfluous minutes. After that, the album is all gravy; “The End Complete” is the best song Coheed have written for years, epic without trying, emotionally impacting, and having the most touching section to a Coheed song ever at its end. “The Road and The Damned” and “On the Brink” end the album and the story suitably, and while you would hope for a bit more awe at the end, “The End Complete” is truly the end of the album, with the last two songs being reminisces by the main character and writer.
Warning, lyrically the album is either going to astound you or make you laugh hysterically. If you are a sci-fi dork, or a follower of the Amory Wars storyline, you’ll find final installment fulfilling and well written. Whether it be the return of Newo Ikkin and her impact on The Crowing, the death of Wilhelm, or the final choice Claudio/The Crowing faces at the end of his destiny, its all as well written as previous installments have been, and sung with an even more emphatic performance. Then again, if you have thought the whole lyrical concept behind all of this was stupid, pretentious, simply gay, bloated and/or not worth your time, you will likely thinks its any of those things once again. It isn’t going to turn any heads in the literary world, and it probably wont win many new fans to the story, but it’s a satisfying conclusion to say the least.
Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV: Volume Two- No World For Tomorrow
is the album Coheed fans have been waiting for. Coheed add in some more macabre lyrics, add some heaviness, and then perfect a mix of everything they’ve ever done here. Conceptually, it fulfills its purpose marvelously. To a non-fan, or someone who has never appreciated Claudio’s vocals or songwriting, it may surprise you with its consistency. Perhaps it’s a bit over the top still, and it still isn’t a return to their roots that many fans want and refuse to accept otherwise, but No World For Tomorrow
is Coheed doing what they do best; writing an excellent album, where the songs combine for a bigger effect together than they do individually. We’ll see where this ends up in a few months, but as of now, its everything a fanboy could have wanted, and likely enough for the casual listener to enjoy it wholeheartedly.