Coheed and Cambria
.. Is there a band that even comes close? Well.. afi but we'll get to that another day. Whether it be the dynamically high octane vocal output presented by Claudio Sanchez or the fact that the five albums they have put out since 2002 have been closely intertwined with a comprehensive graphic novel entitled The Armory Wars
the band have never failed to be unique or exciting. From the flawless Second Stage Turbine Blade
to the slightly quirky No World For Tomorrow
the bands progression has been a joy to watch despite a few missteps easily forgivable when viewing the bands accomplishments as a whole. So now Coheed have presented us with yet another grand soul gem in the form of Year of the Black Rainbow
. A prequel to the four previous album storywise (it's unnecessary to read the story to enjoy the music fyi) and possibly the last Coheed and Cambria album (although that's fairly unlikely) this is also the first studio album to have famed former Dillinger Escape Plan drummer Chris Pennie firmly behind the kit, an elating feat in itself. So it seems as if Coheed and Cambria are on a perfect course to craft yet another gorgeous musical work of art. And they managed quite nicely.
The world looks better when you're falling, grace to comfort enough to crawling, divided we must pray for the broken, no one can fix us..
Bypassing the needlessly enjoyable music only intro One
Year of the Black Rainbow begins with The Broken
. The track foreshadows what's to come quite effortlessly, a broken poignant mess with a desperate outlook, in the best way imaginable of course. The duel guitars frequently trade off while the bass particularly stands out as the more brooding instrument. The song keeps it interesting early as the quirky "blah blah's" give the song an offbeat style recalling a few tracks from No World For Tomorrow but with a more direct and darker approach. Guns of Summer
begins in a shotgun of colorful drumming, a dribbling guitar buildup and subtle electronic effects that make for one of Coheed's most memorable songs to date. Admittedly the song takes a little getting used to as it weighs heavily on the spastic side but by the time Claudio sings-
"Cold as winter's guns of summer
boy you'll watch them run
soldiers willing to breathe in the sun
This is your last chance, will you get up?"
you might be joining along yourself. While not as catchy as the majority of the album Guns of Summer shows how Coheed can make a broken mess of a song sound so pleasurable. However if an instantly catchy tune is what you're in the mood for Here We Are Juggernaut
will certainly not disappoint. The simple chorus of /we were stupid we got caught but nothing matters anymore, so what? here we are juggernaut/
might look plain on paper when then song explodes with Claudio singing, /"your tear drops won't stop chewing at my heart!"/
it becomes clear that the track is an emotional stunner. Far
stands out as the album's industrial influenced love ballad perfectly executed by Claudio's fantastic vocal range which while still on the higher side now accompanied with a much darker tinge, the same dark atmosphere that fabricates the album together. The Shattered Symphony
, from my view, is where the album explodes in all the right directions. Despite having one of the most cleverly layered opening guitar sequences anywhere The Shattered Symphony also allows Claudio to flex his vocal muscles with varied screams before delivering another masterful chorus, one of the many found during the album.
Year of the Black Rainbow really doesn't miss a beat anywhere. World of Lines
even manages to give off a "Thriller"
type vibe as Claudio throws his voice into the line "just leave us---- alone!"
, one of my personal favorite moments on the album. Throughout Year of the Black Rainbow just pay slight attention and it becomes apparent that there is a much stronger focus on wonderful chorus's climaxing at the just the right moments to impress the listener rather than on instrument technicality and noodly solos. That's not to say that the instruments are any less enjoyable from past releases it's just that they seem to fit so smoothly together it's more relaxing to embrace each song as a whole. With further listens scanning over the screechy chord progressions and lush bass lines is an absolute joy and something I particularly enjoy about music, listening a little closer and discovering those elusive musical treasures. Made Out of Nothing (All That I Am)
exemplifies this as a brilliantly swift placed drum fill comes right before yet another breathtakingly, yet hopeless chorus-
"Someone please come shelter me
from all that I am and never again will I believe the same old story"
Pearl of the Stars
continues the self deprecating theme with downcast lyrics and Claudio singing in a deeper style that he employs frequently throughout the album. When the line "she's my angel from the west, there will never be one to take her place"
is half whispered it's actually quite moving. The lyrics themselves are noticeably more direct for the majority of the album which allows for songs to feel more easily relatable even if they do cast a sorrowful tone. The beginning of When Skeletons Live
instantly recalls "33" from Second Stage Turbine and the drumming really seems to carry the song with a plethora of clever fills that easily stand out amongst the chunky guitar trade offs and the menacing bass which acts as the underbelly. Year of the Black Rainbow closes in the dark fashion that enshrouds the entirety of this dismal tale. Beginning with a slow soft splash of drums the song seems to lose itself out of a bleak despair and eventually subsides into nothing.
Yes, Coheed and Cambria have crafted yet another stellar piece of music. Even with the incision of a severely skilled drummer the band manages to remain fluid without fumbling over each other. While obviously more focused on the melodic side the musicians skills are not wasted but more intricately woven around themselves which in the end give the album a positively focused feel. Year of the Black Rainbow isn't exactly an evolution for Coheed and Cambria, this is certainly not a giant leap forward, instead the band have managed to conjure an abundance of ace ideas to a cupboard already chock full of polished skills. All this and the finished product is yet another exceptional album from Coheed and Cambria, Year of the Black Rainbow.
It's over.. it's over. it's all coming apart.