Review Summary: In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3 is one of the most unique rock/pop-punk albums of the last few years. And while it has a few issues with length and occasionally filler, overall the album shows creativity and solid musicianship at every turnCoheed And Cambria
could have been accused of selling out with In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3
. If they were a lesser band, they probably would have. Fans would today be bitching about how Coheed and Cambria went all soft and pop-punk, and how none of their other albums would ever compare to their debut (SSTB).
Of course, that's if Coheed and Cambria was a lesser band.
Instead, IKSOSE:3 is a welcome arrival to rock fans everywhere, with the combination of its brilliant, non-cliched pop-punk songs, and its incredible epic progressive rock jams. Of course, such a feat would not be possible without the brilliant guitar pairing of Claudio Sanchez and Travis Stever. They show an innate sense for the music they create, and their guitar parts, while occasionally simple, always show ingenuity and a masterful control over their arsenal. And while the other two members of the band may not be brilliant (while Michael occasionally shows his chops, Josh is one of the most boring drummers in recent rock), the music still manages to be hard-hitting, explosive, brilliant, and fun to listen to.
Now, if you have a friend who likes Coheed And Cambria, they've probably told you about the "story" their albums possess. I know this, because my friend constantly talked about it, and now I find myself constantly talking about it to my other friends. Yes, In Keeping Secrets is the third part of a four part series of concept albums. But really, that is of lesser importance then the actual music. Still, they try to build up atmosphere several times during the album, and, for the most part, it works very well. The Ring In Return
begins with a ringing phone. After several rings, we hear some movement, someone pick up the phone, and the simple question, "Hello?" And thus we are blasted into what will become an epic hour-long journey into the world of In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3.
Upon first listen, several things might stand out on this album. The first being Claudio's voice. The Rush comparisons are near limitless (as are the number of people who think Claudio has a vagina). The amount his voice has matured since Second Stage Turbine Blade
is amazing. While on the band's first album his voice was occasionally rough, this time his voice is near flawless, and he hits every note perfectly, including the insanely high and poppy A Favor House Atlantic. The high notes he hits might make your ears bleed, but you gotta admit, the man’s got talent.
The second thing that might stand out about this album is the number of pop punk songs. Now, in modern day rock, pop punk means three chord melodies, repetitive structures, and cliched subject matter (getting dumped, feeling depressed, etc.) Not on this album. Coheed and Cambria manage to bring new life to a dying genre, and mix up the standard pop-punk scheme with creative and original riffs. Three Evils (Embodied In Love And Shadow)
could quite possibly be called a perfectly formed pop-punk song. The riffs are catchy, but still creative. The vocal are beautiful, but show amazing control that most such bands lack. And the subject matter, which at first may seem cliche, is actually quite original and fresh. With a bouncy, catchy, and above all fun style, Three Evils should be inspiration for pop-punk bands everywhere.
The Velorium Camper I: Faint Of Hearts
and the previously mentioned A Favor House Atlantic
also follow similar styles. While not quite as great as Three Evils, they still deliver very nicely. Faint Of Hearts is a slower, more relaxed piece, but still shows its poppy roots. The musicianship is of great quality, but the arguably laborious pace slightly hinders the song’s potential. Despite the flaws, it’s still a solid exhibition of talent. A Favor House Atlantic is far faster, and far more pop-oriented. As previously mentioned, Claudio’s vocals are incredibly high, and some may find his voice grating. However, the vocals fit the lighter style of the song, and create what may be the most catchy song on the album. If the song has a main flaw, it’s that the musicianship is considerably less than the majority of the album.
Another major song style the band goes for several times is the epic prog-rock explosion. The Crowing
is the most solid example of this. The song goes through so many different sections, encapsulating so many different emotions. As well, the band refrains from trying to stretch a good thing for too long, (the song is an easily listenable 6:35) which has been a problem for them on songs such as In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3
and The Light And The Glass
. The mood is constantly being changed, and each section of the song stands out, whether it be the softer breakdown style chords, the beautiful musical interlude, or the empassioned finale and the raw cries of “Dear Ambellina, The Prise wishes you to watch over me…”
The song just works. Simple as that.
The rest of the songs show similar roots, but manage to be diverse at the same time. The previously mentioned titular track is a 8 minute rock explosion that shows little or no weakness, and is only slightly hindered by its sheer length. The chorus is, as always, brilliant, and you’ll find it stuck in your head for days on end. The Light And The Glass
is similarily epic, but chooses to go with a softer, more acoustic feeling. As a ballad, it’s nearly flawless, and shows another side to Coheed And Cambria, one that has a core of pure gold. Once again, though, the length can occasionally get a bit tedious. Blood Red Summer
sticks with bouncy guitars, muted chords, and fun, gentle mood, that sell the song for all it’s worth. The song is another poppy song, but in a more reserved way than some of the other songs on the album. The Velorium Camper III: Al The Killer
is actually probably the heaviest and darkest song on the whole CD, with aggressive chords and low vocals accentuating the hidden fury of the song. The song utilizes the hardcore inspired style of Second Stage Turbine Blade, and improves on an already excellent thing. Yes, the song is dark, but what do you expect in a song about a black guy who rapes and kills white girls?
Speaking of which, an issue that I haven’t touched on yet is the lyrics. Needless to say, Claudio is a brilliant lyricist, and manages to incorporate not only the themes of his “grand story”, but also manages to give each song meaning and depth beyond some cosmic futuristic epic. There are issues raised by songs, and each song conveys its own emotion, one that conveys whether you care about the story or not. Of course, the story itself is extremely well-written, and is full of plot-twists, dynamic characters, and character deaths. I won’t get into too much detail about the story, because the very idea of it may draw some of you to kill yourselves. I will say that Claudio is incredibly imaginative, and his story is not just creative, it’s also incredibly smart.
Of course, the CD does have some rather large flaws. Besides the previously mentioned length issue, some of the songs are just plain boring. Cuts Marked Into The March Of Men
may sound interesting at first, but after several listens it becomes bland. There just simply isn’t the same fervor or other rock jams like Al The Killer or In Keeping Secrets. It’s interesting for a few listens, but most certainly will become skipable after a while. But even the blandness of the song can’t stand up to The Velorium Camper II: Backend Of Forever.
Unlike the previously mentioned song, which is interesting to begin with, this song is never interesting, and seems stale compared to everything on the CD. The passion and energy seem completely gone from the song, and makes for the most skippable moment on the entire CD.
Overall, however, In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3
is a fitting release from one of rock’s newest soldiers, Coheed And Cambria. Combining brilliant riffs, ear-popping vocals, well-written and meaningful lyrics, and the shear catchiness of modern pop-punk, Coheed And Cambria deserve to be one of the biggest bands in the world. In a world where pop-punk is dominated with songs about sex, breakups, depression, and skateboarding, Coheed And Cambria bring something new to the table with each song, and dominate the new world of rock music.
Now imagine if they were a lesser band after all…