Review Summary: Solid debut from the prog metallers, who wear their post hardcore influences on their sleeves.
The band, Coheed and Cambria, are based around Claudio Sanchez’s (singer/guitarist) Amory Wars concept, and all their albums are a different part of the story. Although they have been relatively consistent with each album, each album has seen the listener getting more and more smothered with the concept from The Amory Wars, which is a fictional five part saga which tells the story of the 2 main characters, Coheed and Cambria, whose marriage is doomed, yet their children may have the power to unknowingly destroy our very existence.
The Second Stage Turbine is their debut album, and is arguably their most focused work. The idea of the concept is still present, however, as a listener, you do not have this rammed down your throat constantly, whilst musically and lyrical themes are revisited intelligently and sparingly, whetting the listeners appetite. Sanchez’s vocals soar on this album, however, as this is Coheed in their early days, his vocals aren't as refined as on the later albums, but you can certainly hear the passion in his voice. Again, the lyrics seem to be less obsessed with the concept, and more about simply contributing to the album as a full body of work.
Excellent musicianship is displayed here from the entire band, with the heavy guitar onslaught of songs such as Neverender, Junesong Provision and Devil in Jersey, the controlled melodic nature of Time Consumer and God Send Conspirator, and the catchy, almost pop-like Everything Evil. The riffs are heavy yet memorable, and melody and hooks are well executed throughout. Although the band do have prog tendencies, (you can compare Sanchez’s high range vocals with Rush's Geddy Lee, and the the distorted guitars to that of Queensryche) and wear these influences on their sleeve, they do tend to stay away from the over indulgent side of prog (ie. Dream Theater, Symphony X) keeping things easy to listen to, and not boring the listener with technical nonsense.
Comparisions to Post Hardcore heavyweights such as At-The Drive-in and Fugazi can clearly be identified, but this is not to say the band don't have their own identity, and although this album may tire a little towards the end (the guitars start to sound a bit samey towards the end of the album) and lacks the catchy-ness of the second album, In Keeping Secrets, this is an impressive debut, from a talented band burning at their most intense.