Coheed and Cambria
From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness


3.5
great

Review

by Disco Donkey USER (15 Reviews)
January 17th, 2006 | 26 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist


Before I even start this review, I have to make clear to everyone that I am not a Coheed & Cambria elitist. I do NOT own all of their previous albums, nor do I know much about their history. I am simply a casual fan who has heard of few of their past singles, namely “Devil in Jersey City," “Blood Red Summer," “Three Evils," and “A Favor House Atlantic." I purchased their new album, Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume 1. From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness based on my love of those songs.

So going into this album, I had no idea what the actual story was that they had been creating up to this point. All I knew was that when I saw the video for "Welcome Home" on Steven’s Untitled Rock Show, I had to go out and buy this album. With that out of the way, I feel like I can justify the rest of this review.

I was significantly surprised with what I heard when I popped the disc into my CD player. Well, actually, a better word would be disappointed. Based on my limited knowledge of the band’s previous efforts, I expected this to be an upbeat, catchy, and somewhat intense album. It isn’t. At least, not in the way I had anticipated. It’s just like the cream I put in my coffee: half and half. Half of it is amazing and half of it is just plain dull. The question I ask myself after each listen is, “Why didn’t they cut the dull parts out?" And although it would sound infinitely better in a condensed version, I realize the obvious reason for their inclusion is to aid the storyline. And to some degree, I respect their decision to focus on the overall story rather than the individual songs.

Needless to say there is some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that since Claudio and the gang decided to choose quantity over quality, you’ll find your fingertips getting sore from pressing the skip button. The GOOD news is that most of the BAD news is mostly in a couple of sections. I guess it would be unfortunate if this only came in 8-track form. Thank you technology gods! But alas, this CD has 15 tracks and boasts an overly ambitious hour and ten minutes of runtime. And now, allow me to separate the good from the god-awful.

GOOD Apollo:
- "Keeping the Blade", the instrumental opening, gives a very haunting overture for things to come. It’s eerily apparent from the haunting vibrancy of this string/piano arrangement that there won’t be much room for catchy little ditties on this album. This would sound terrific playing in the opening credits of a Hitchcock movie.

- Flowing right into "Always and Never", Apollo’s first “actual" song, which, amazingly enough, is an acoustic ballad. But as sugary-sounding of a song as it may seem, there’s still an underlying creepiness to it. Never have the sounds of giggling children unnerved me so much. However, on the opposite end of the spectrum, hearing Claudio sing "Stay with me and fall asleep/Pray to God for no bad dreams in his very childlike voice sounded incredibly sweet. But the sweetness fades in the last lines of the song, where he sings "I'm still waiting here to kill all of you" in a voice all too familiar to that of a villain from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

- The song that made me run off to Best Buy, "Welcome Home", starts out with a nice acoustic bit that builds into an insane lead riff, complete with loads of pinch harmonics that are reminiscent of Zakk Wylde. This is where Co & Ca’s metal side comes out kicking. The high point of this album, I can assure you, is hearing Claudio and Travis dueling back and forth with a superb solo.

- Riding high off the steam provided by the previous track, "Ten Speed (Of God’s Blood and Burial) is carried along by a shaky lead guitar line. It sounds like something you would expect to hear in a more recent Castlevania game. The verses have Claudio and Travis trading on and off again, but this time with vocals. The split-personality effect is a nice touch. A decent solo makes and appearance about half-way through the song.

- I’m sure I’ll get numerous comments telling me that I am either A) a pansy, or B) severely handicapped for liking "Wake Up". This is a ballad in the truest sense of the word. A light ambiance is provided by a tender bass line and some gentle guitar plucking. It pushes the all-too-often-heard promise of "I'll do anything for you" but, never wanting to be too conventional, throws in a twist with "Kill anyone for you" Odd line to be sung in a love ballad.

- If you are a fan of any of Coheed’s previous singles, you will most likely adore the instant catchiness of The Suffering. This is more along the lines of what I expected the CD to be like. The familiar cheerleading chants of "Hey! Hey!" even make a guest appearance. One noted addition to this song is the Little Richard-esque piano taps towards the end, which adds a notch to the upbeat-o-meter.

- "The Lying Lies & Dirty Secrets of Miss Erica Court comes in a close second for the Catchy Chorus Award, but also garners an honorable mention in the lyrics department. Here’s an excerpt: "I'll move the knife to show you of my cut/With the worst of truth from here/I drew no blood/So you're not as real/Just what I thought up"

- The Willing Well is considered a four part closing song. As with the rest of the album, this is also half good and half bad. Parts II and IV are excellent works of instrumentation and mood setting that allow you to reminisce of the days of “the epic song," with influences from Pink Floyd and Rush easily heard. Both are structured so well that even the small gaps of downtime even seem special.

BAD Apollo:
- "Crossing the Frame" is the 5th track on the disc, and is the first disappointing song that I heard. I consider this to be a watered-down and much less melodic version of the previous song, "Ten Speed". Everything about this song is as tasty as swallowing a Twinkie covered in asbestos. This song was a disease to my colon and should’ve been promptly shat back out after its first listen.

- "Apollo I: The Writing Writer" makes up for a double shot of terribly over thought out music. With the word “write" popping up twice in the song’s title, I expected to be blown away by crafty lyricism. I was not. Random and unspecific lines like "If my shame spills our worth across this floor/Then tonight, goodnight... I'm burning Star IV make up the bulk of this mess.

- More fantastically dumb lyrics can be found in "Once Upon Your Dead Body." Claudio promptly starts out with this little gem: "If hello could only drop its O." How clever. You changed a word and its meaning by scratching out a letter. All guitars seem lazy here, with the drums providing the only solid momentum in the entire song.

- Everybody seems tired on "Mother May I," drummer included. I know I shouldn’t take song titles literally, but I think they’re actually asking their mom’s approval to take a nap. Give it a listen and you’ll see what I mean. Actually, don’t give it a listen. Just take my word for it.

- And now comes the bad half of "The Willing Well: I and III," which are both completely unnecessary. In fact, "Part III: The Telling Truth" is a complete relapse of "The Writing Writer," with a couple extra parts tossed in; seemingly as an afterthought. I think the guys became a little too confident in their abilities and decided to see how far they could stretch their listeners’ attention spans. Overall poor quality and repetitious guitar lines infest themselves into every available crevice.

Good, bad, triumpant, and at times unbelievably ugly, the least I can say for Co & Ca is that they offer a wide variety of songs. However, choosing quantity over quality hurt Good Apollo’s chances of ever becoming a classic rock album. Terrible songs notwithstanding, I would still suggest going out and picking this up. There is enough worthy material and shining moments to make for an enjoyable listen.



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user ratings (2554)
Chart.
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excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Storm In A Teacup
January 17th 2006


13228 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

:eek: I almost threw my guitar through the wall seeing this could be given anything under a 5.

I was listening to this at school today, and it hit me that this is still a perfect album to me.

[quote=Spat Out Plath]Apart from that, a nice first effort and welcome to Sputnik![/quote]

Actually, I think this is his third or fourth review, he lost his others due to the crash. Correct me if I'm wrong.This Message Edited On 01.17.06

Apathy
January 17th 2006


645 Comments


I hate this band. They sound like a bad Rush.
And Kripes, are you Shaun of the Dead? Because if you aren't, I feel like a BIG ass.

Storm In A Teacup
January 17th 2006


13228 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Shaun of the Dead is my brother.

Apathy
January 17th 2006


645 Comments


Shit.
Me=n00b.

Hatshepsut
January 17th 2006


1997 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

:lol: I wasn't sure bout that either Mazz. I can't stand the band's singer, but from what I've heard from their music, most of it sounds pretty good. Not a bad review either.

fedrum19000
January 17th 2006


2 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good effort on the review, but obviously you know nothing about anything you are writing about. The album is perfect in every way, shape and form. If you knew ANYTHING about coheed, you'd know that their poppy stuff on the radio isnt their main material. Listen to ALL of their cd's and if you arent blown away by each and every song... you must not have any musical talent what-so-ever (im not sure if writing about which cd's you like and dont like is classified as musical talent anyway). Do me a favor and never write another review. Youre embarrassing the website with your lack of appriciation for good music.

Progrockin2112
January 17th 2006


1 Comments


Dude horrible review. You don't know sh** about CO and CA! How about maybe researching them a little first. Anyone in their right mind would say that this is a classic album! Obviously you dont know good music. Personally i don't think most people understand CO and CA. Especially you. And it makes me really mad that my review didnt make it. I just think you might want to take a second listen to that album. You obviously missed something.

Zebra
Moderator
January 17th 2006


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Your review was well written, Its good to see a review that isn't giving this a perfect 5/5 score.
Sure I've heard the album three times all the way through. It's got some good pop songs but overall I just can't listen to something like this on a regular basis.

B
January 17th 2006


26 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Average album at best.
It doesn't compare to their past efforts, although some sections of the album are excellent. Ten Speed is great, and Keeping the Blade is a top notch intro. The intro to Welcome Home is amazing but the rest of the song is somewhat boring.
Worth a buy if you are a fan, or if you've not heard their past releases.

Scifire
January 17th 2006


3 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

first off, you don't know music and don't play it, so why are you in a music forum?
second, don't diss the lyrics when you have no idea where they come from. how bout doin' some research to back up any words you have to say genius?
and why do a review for a band you are obviously biased against? you have no credibility that way.
neways... here this is for you... it's ur baby picture, or maybe just ur picture now... 8=O

Cravinov13
January 17th 2006


3854 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^^ That's both slightly harsh and immature. Sure the review could of been better, but he did point out he didn't know much.

Disco Donkey
January 18th 2006


15 Comments


Wow, this isn't quite what I was expecting in terms of responses when I came to this site. I was hoping for some positive feedback/criticism, not kindergarten-inspired name-calling and putdowns. If you don't like the review, that's fine, you're not expected to, but please make the criticism constructive. And for whoever was asking, this is my third review thus far, so I'm still trying to improve.
That said, the reason I put the little disclaimer at the beginning about not being a "Co & Ca elitist" was to avoid these types of comments. I admitted to not knowing much about their history or backstory, so I don't know why everyone keeps bringing that up and trying to hold that against me. And yes Sean, music is supposed to be about what the artist feels, but when I'm doing a review about that artist's music, of course I am going to say whether or not I like it. Oh, and as a sidenote, The Doors are overrated.
To fedrum19000: F*ck off. I will write as many reviews as I feel inclined to, and if you don't like that, I suggest not reading them. And what does posessing musical talent have to do with "being blown away" by their songs. I personally find some of them to be bland. Whether or not they are great musicians is not at stake here, it's the fact that I find some of their stuff to be boring. The best musicians in the world can still write boring songs.
To Progrockin2112: I specifically said I didn't know anything about their history, yet you go ahead and bash me for it anyways. The fact is, if this was truly a "classic" album, I shouldn't have research it like it was a project for a school assignment. I listen to music to hear it, not to read about it.
To Scifire: First of all, I do play music. I have been playing the guitar for three years. So how 'bout doin' some research and askin' some questions before you make a stupid assumption? That notwithstanding, anyone is allowed in this forum. It's not just for people who play music, it's for people who ENJOY music. And I don't have any biases against this band other than that I didn't like some of this album. I told you that I liked the singles I'd heard from them, so if anything, that would have given me a positive bias towards them. Oh, and that joke wasn't funny. It was lame.
Thanks to everyone who gave me some constructive feedback and/or stood up for me. Your comments really are appreciated and I hope you'll continue to help me out in further reviews.

Storm In A Teacup
January 18th 2006


13228 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Even though I disagree with you, it was indeed a good review, I hope you don't think I was one of those people.

Hatshepsut
January 18th 2006


1997 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Dude don't listen to them, they're rude and immature noobs. The review wasn't horrible. Listen to pros like Spat Out Plath, Kripes, Cravinov and Zebra. They know what they're talking about.

Cravinov13
January 18th 2006


3854 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wow, this isn't quite what I was expecting in terms of responses when I came to this site. I was hoping for some positive feedback/criticism, not kindergarten-inspired name-calling and putdowns

You're going to get that for awhile. Like Matrix said, listen to the ones who've been around longer, since they're more knowladgeable in the processes in Sputnik. Just don't let the other noobs drive you out, most of them don't know s*** about what they're talking about.
Keep up the good reviews. I'll bet after your 3rd review, you'll be able to develp your own unique style and fit in with the Sputnik gang. A bunch of people taht either hate or love each other.

Thor
January 18th 2006


10202 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah don't worry about it. It took me a while to get my format going fine and now people seem to really like it.

Digging: Black Crown Initiate - The Wreckage of Stars

Pizza
January 18th 2006


687 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this album owns. welcome home is one of my favorite songs ever

gmoneyguy
January 19th 2006


108 Comments


meh...decent review but great album

Disco Donkey
January 19th 2006


15 Comments


A big thanks to all of you who were cool enough to offer some constructive feedback and not jump down my throat for disliking this album. I hope I can make my reviews more informative in the future. Thanks again.

Scifire
January 19th 2006


3 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

forgive me hardcore people =). i didn't realize i was in the presence of greatness.



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