Review Summary: Whatever may initially turn you off of Coheed, be it the singer's crazy high voice, or ridiculously massive hair, give this album another chance, you won't regret it.
The first time I heard Coheed and Cambria, I really didn't know what to think. I hate to be the one to be a nitpicker at Sanchez's voice, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't turned off by it, at first anyways. My first experience of Coheed being the 8+ minute epic, which is the title track of this album, no matter what little problem I had with the vocals, there was evidently something that made me come back to this album.
This album for me had to be listened to and digested multiple times for me to finally "get it", but once I did I couldn't turn back. The unique blend of hardcore, pop, punk and rock, among others, really creates a thing all its own. This is one great adventure of an album.
Looking at various other reviews, and peoples opinion on this album, and Coheed in general, I’ve noticed people have a major gripe with his voice, like me at first. Yes, his voice is high, maybe a little than people seem to be accustomed too. His voice you wouldn’t think at all that it would blend with the music, but for some weird twisted reason, it really does. It just works. The main reason I love his singing voice so much is in his delivery. When he sings something, he means it. You can tell just by listening to his vocals, that there is a lot more hidden in between the lyrics. He really acts as the narrator of the story, and I think that’s why it works so well with the music. It contrasts beautifully. I can’t really pinpoint a vocal highlight as this album is filled with those. Claudio wailing out “Man your jackhammer” on the title track is sure to send deep chills down your spine. The man flawlessly screams his soul on this album.
Another reason this album ranks so highly with me is the variation with the musicality. Each member of the band has their own place in the band, and each member executes their job extremely well. A standout on this album would be the musical chemistry between the two frontrunners of the band, Claudio Sanchez and Travis Stever. Both guitarists may not be the most technically proficient musicians, but there’s one thing they do very well and that is creating a beautiful canvas of guitar work as a duo. Claudio’s riffs, although initially sounding quite simple, are a completely different story when singing in unison, and they manage to sound fresh and original due to lacking an overuse of power chords. Travis on the other hand is a genius in filling in the pockets Sanchez creates with his riffing, creating light melodies that don’t clash with the vocals in the slightest. Their harmonized guitar solo during “Faint of Hearts’ is one obvious standout. While the two guitarists are doing their thing, the rhythm section, composed of Josh Eppard and Mic Todd on drums and bass respectively take a back seat on this album, but however do their job very well. Eppard manages to create a tight pocket and groove on each track, and is able to compliment the music very well with his subtle fills, notably on “The Crowning” and the title track. Josh has received multiple criticisms that he is too simple of a drummer, and although I very strongly disagree, as he compliments the music perfectly, it’s hard to deny some tracks can seem a little bland at times. “Blood Red Summer” and a multitude of some of the simpler tracks really don’t have enough going on in the drummers seat to keep Eppard interesting. Todd on the other hand, manages to create a very solid backbeat with Josh, filling out a lot of empty space, and backing off when he needs to.
Lyrically, this album is quite problematic for me to comment on. Every Coheed and Cambria is part of one big piece of fiction, so it’s automatically difficult to contrast to other albums. However as a piece of fiction, this album serves its purpose extremely well. My favourite thing about the lyrical element on this album is that nothing seems generic or overdone. The lyrics “Three Evils” effectively creates a very dark atmosphere on a very light–hearted tune, whilst the lyrics amid the epic “The Light & The Glass” are a sure hit to gripe the emotions. The level of ambition to lyrically weave a complex and daunting epic into 3+ minute songs must be commended. Claudio just makes everything work without flaw.
I’d be surprised if you couldn’t tell by now, Coheed and Cambria are definitely aong my favourite bands of all time. The musical and lyrical creativity and ambition coming out of Sanchez and the guys is unbelievable. This emotional monster of an album has everything perfected and will remain a true testament to the band and their fans all around. Coheed effectively brings something new to the table with In Keeping Secrets and music in general, with this near flawless record.