Coheed and Cambria
Album: In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
Claudio Sanchez - Vocals/Guitar
Travis Stever - Guitar
Michael Todd - Bass
Joshua Eppard - Drums
Before listening to the music, you should know the background behind this project. Coheed and Cambria was originally named Shabutie (what Claudio says before "Devil in Jersey City" on Second Stage Turbine Blade
) and the albums are not albums in a traditional sense. Like Pink Floyd, Cursive, and such, Coheed and Cambria create concept records. The similarity mostly ends at that surface. CoCa's work thus far has been written as part of a science fiction story that lead singer Claudio Sanchez is working out as we speak. There is no end to the story as of yet and the albums are merely parts. The music itself is equally inspired by punk and metal. One could say that CoCa is indie's version of prog, but that would be entirely wrong. The songs are structured to provide maximum effect at all times, with equal vocal inflection and instrumental intensity. It is also mostly guitar-driven. Now, onto the music itself.
As the lyrics are part of a story, I will not comment on them specifically.
The Ring in Return
- This serves as an introductory piece. A telephone rings. Footsteps are heard and a woman answers the phone. From there, a piano interlude is played, a piece that will be familiar to those who have heard Second Stage Turbine Blade
In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
- The first track proper. It starts with guitar and tension grows as a feedback-esque background riff is played. The drums come in, subtly. Then the metal riffing comes, continuing through the verse, as the drums become more powerful. If you've never heard Claudio's voice until now, it will become immediately recognizable and, despite it's high pitch, fits the music very well. Minimal background screaming accompanies the chorus. A solo caps off the first part and then the beginning of the song is recapitulated, returning to the chorus (complete with anthemic "oh-oh-oh-oh"s) and ending the song. It is a strong proper song to set up the rest of the album, especially after the opener.
Cuts Marked in the March of Men
- Starts off with a riff that sounds like it's taken from a Castlevania soundtrack. This and the preceding track are mostly somber, lyrically, but the music truly drives it from becoming too much of a downer. Not the best track on the album, but still very good. The verse riff is memorable.
Three Evils (Embodied in Love and Shadow)
- A more pop-punk influenced song. It's infectious, using instrumentation that should not be unfamiliar to anyone who's ever heard a pop-punk song. Don't get the wrong assumption, though. CoCa manages to keep the song strong lyrically. Also, the end part is likely to get stuck in your head for a while, moreso than even the other parts. Excellent use of backup vocals. The juxtaposition of this with the next track is delightful.
- Driving guitars, bass, and drums set this song off. The chorus sets off the metal-influence with arpeggiated chords and light riffing to match the wistful lyrics/singing. The second half gets more intense and very metallic, complete with palm-muted riffing and pinch harmonic repetition, setting up another vocal display on top. A spacey feeling throughout another interlude, with a slight ATDI feel. The end comes first as an uncertain part, but then turns into a threatening revenge for the rest of the song, especially vocally.
Blood Red Summer
- Another juxtaposition of styles. A very bouncy song where the bass and lead mix up with each other in a surf-like fashion, octaved by guitar while the rhythm chugs along. The style is familiar but fresh at the same time. Backup vocals work well, mostly. The bridge is another part likely to get stuck in your head after a listen or two. It sounds like CoCa suddenly turned into a teenage Cheap Trick tribute band, but not in a bad way. Some may be turned off by this song, but that's all a matter of stylistic preference. CoCa makes a habit of matching its two strong points of being catchy and intense.
The Camper Velourium I: Faint of Heart
- Another riffy song. It's catchy in its own right but is also a slight song of longing. One of the less memorable moments on the album and I have little to say about it.
The Camper Velourium II: Backend of Forever
- The drums punctuate the power chords in the intro while the lead guitar palm mutes somewhat menacingly, with the vocals matching the intensity. You can feel the insanity building up throughout the duration of this song in the vocals, lyrics, and instrumentation.
The Camper Velourium III: Al the Killer
- This is where everything is unleashed lyrically. A slight piano part introduces the madness. The lead vocals are entirely backed by an insane, deeper tone doubling the words. The prechorus makes use of distanced screaming, as does the "response" part of the chorus. A highlight of the album, this song is perfectly devious and the instrumentation works incredibly well with the lyrics.
A Favor House Atlantic
- More lighthearded than the previous song, it sports another catchy chorus and a nod to early metal in the verse. The drums are bombastic in parts and simply another part of the soundscape in others. Another good track.
The Light & The Glass
- Much more laidback and quiet than any of the other tracks, even the introductory track. It has a certain lullaby-like quality until it drifts away to where the distortion kicks in in a nice transition. Even the Alannis Morissette-like "Liar" part fits in very well when the song returns to its lullaby-like beginnings for a moment, then picks back up where the distortion left off. More metallicness comes around the five-minute mark. The song then dies off in a keyboard drone as the voices echo away appropriately, again recapitulating the piano part from the intro, this time on a synth-xylophone.
- The secret track! Number 23 on the cd, it encompasses much of the musical ground of CoCa. The bass has a dark mood to it, further exposing the malignant vocals as the lead guitar plays repetitive fills. That turns into another poppish-part, which then turns into a slow, menacing part. A lighthearted guitar part randomly appears, which also turns dark. This pattern continues until the very end. Again, for those familiar with Second Stage Turbine Blade
will recognize the very end of this song. At a running time of 9:46, this song summarizes the musical territory of the entire album.
Wow, that was a long review...
In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
is another expectedly vibrant release from Coheed and Cambria. Anyone into intense lyricism and nigh-perfect instrumentation should give this a try.
4/5. Some lyrics were a bit blasé and the instrumentation wasn't entirely original. Still, an excellent album and a worthy follow-up to their first cd.