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SSTB: Behind the Concept

This is a beginner’s guide to the story of the Coheed and Cambria albums. I am not going to go into detail about planet names and specific details like that because it will only convolute the story and there’s only so much space I have for each post. In order for any of this to make sense you have to understand some basic background shit. The Coheed universe is a collection of planets and “star transformers” bound together by a field of energy called the “Keywork” (the symbol for the band). Within the Keywork there are many races, but the three main ones are Mage (powerful beings that wield lots of magic and make decisions for their sectors of the universe), Prise (the angels who follow the will of “God”), and Man. I will be going through the albums as they happen in the Amory Wars story.
1Coheed and Cambria
The Second Stage Turbine Blade

"If Man should decide to dabble in my affairs, then guardians must intervene. But, should I come forth to change the face of Man with you there to challenge me -- then I shall return with the stars to destroy' all I have made. Whether Man or I present that danger will not be told in the coming."
2Coheed and Cambria
The Second Stage Turbine Blade

Supreme Tri-Mage Wilhelm Ryan- the dictator ruling all of Heaven’s Fence
Mayo Detinwolf- Wilhelm Ryan’s right hand man.
Admiral Crom- Another one of Wilhelm’s top men. Think Darth Vadar with a suit that drains the energy from all those around him.
Onstantine Priests- After killing all the other mages, Wilhelm Ryan experimented on them, turning them all into monsters that obey his every command.
3Coheed and Cambria
The Second Stage Turbine Blade

Coheed- An IRO-bot created to fight Wilhelm Ryan.His left arm is embedded with a series of massive blades. His right arm can turn into a cannon.
Cambria- An IRO-bot created to fight Wilhelm Ryan. She has telekinetic abilities and is Clairvoyant.
Inferno/Jesse- An IRO-bot clone of Hohenberger. One of the leaders of the resistance.
Mariah Antillarea- a female mage who is the other head of the resistance against Wilhelm Ryan.
Josephine- The oldest of the Kilgannon children. Possess the cure for the Monstar virus in her blood.
Patrick McCormick: Josephine’s fiance.
Claudio- The protagonist of the story and a boy prophesied to end Ryan’s reign.
Newo Ikkin: Claudio’s love interest.
Matthew and Maria- The youngest Kilgannon children. Twins.
4Coheed and Cambria
The Second Stage Turbine Blade

Before the Album:
After the events of Year of the Black Rainbow Coheed and Cambria have their memories erased and are hidden on a planet in the Keywork where they live a normal life as husband and wife. They have Josephine, who they believe is their daughter but is really an IRO-bot created in a lab by Dr.Hohenberger before his death. On the eve of Josephine’s 21st birthday, when the cure inside of her has reached maturity, Coheed is tracked down and approached by Mayo Dettinwolf.
5Coheed and Cambria
The Second Stage Turbine Blade

Before the Album Cont.:
Dettinwolf informs Coheed that he and his wife are IRO-bots created by Dr.Hohenberger to be used as terrorists against the state. He has something called the Monstar virus inside him which has the power to deactivate the star transformers, subsequently sending all planets connected to them by an energy field to break free (truth). This would trigger the apocalypse (planets crashing into each other) but is curable (truth). Coheed then passed the virus onto his children in the form of a mutation called the Sinstar, which is not curable (the lie). Providing Coheed with four vials of poison, he informs him that he must kill all the children to stop the virus from causing the apocalypse. If he does not, then they will be tried as terrorist of the state and their children killed anyway. This is, of course, a lie, as the virus is within him and Cambria, and their children are the cure.
6Coheed and Cambria
The Second Stage Turbine Blade

Second Stage Turbine Blade:
An instrumental. It’s important to note that whenever the Amory Wars theme plays (a piece of which occurs during this song, after “Everything Evil”, and then “God Send Conspirator”) it represents the passing of time. In this case it has been roughly twenty-one years since the events of YOTBR. While it is only an instrumental, in the comics Coheed has a dream where the blades pop out of his arm as Wilhelm Ryan’s men are doing tests on him (at the end of YOTBR). He goes on a killing rampage when he finally awakens from his nightmare and is comforted by Cambria who, being clairvoyant, has seen his dreams as well.
7Coheed and Cambria
The Second Stage Turbine Blade

Time Consumer:
Following his conversation with Mayo Dettinwolf, Coheed contemplates his options, wishing he could turn back time to stop this all from happening in the first place. Coming to realize that he must kill his children to save the world, he approaches Cambria with this information. They struggle to come to terms with it.
(Out of Song) They poison Matthew and Maria but after witnessing the horrible effects, decide that Claudio and Josephine, who are out of the house with their respective partners, must be dispatched in a more humane way: a hammer to the back of the head.
8Coheed and Cambria
The Second Stage Turbine Blade

Devil in Jersey City:
After Patrick proposes to his girlfriend, Josephine, they decide to celebrate their engagement by driving to an abandoned parking garage and enjoying each other’s… company. Their celebration is cut short when they are attacked and Josephine is raped. The song is about these events.
(Out of Song): Josephine returns home in tears and, as she is throwing up, is bludgeoned to death by Coheed. Patrick comes in just in time to witness the murder and runs from the scene.
9Coheed and Cambria
The Second Stage Turbine Blade

Everything Evil:
This one is strange. There’s a lot of speculation about whether or not this is from Mayo’s perspective or Coheed’s, or a combination of both. I think the majority of this is from Coheed’s perspective with maybe an interjection or two from Mayo. After poisoning the young twins and bludgeoning Josephine to death Mayo returns to the house and takes Coheed and Cambria into custody. This song seems to be Coheed recapping the murders and Mayo explaining how they plan to cover them up, and their plan for Coheed and Cambria ( revealing they plan to also kill them). Coheed, coming to realize that he has been duped, wishes for everything evil in himself to come out so that he may kill Mayo for his treachery.
10Coheed and Cambria
The Second Stage Turbine Blade

Everything Evil Cont.
Starting at the “Jesse” part, the perspective shifts. Claudio returns home from being with his girlfriend Newo to find the house abandoned, except for the body of Josephine in the kitchen. Through his touch she is reanimated and after a moment of reliving her death warns Claudio to run as one of Ryan’s Onstantine Priest’s is behind him. (Why “FBI” is screamed at the end is anybody’s guess. Could be that in an early draft of the story the FBI showed up. On this album in particular it seems like Claudio didn’t quite have the concept fleshed out, but had the rough idea of the story.)
(Out of Song): As Coheed and Cambria are subdued, Mayo reports that three of the children have been killed, but the fourth and most important (Claudio) still lives. Wilhelm Ryan sends two of his Onstantine Priests to track down all loose ends. One pursues Claudio and the other pursues Patrick.
11Coheed and Cambria
The Second Stage Turbine Blade

Delirium Trigger:
Aboard Mayo’s ship, Coheed and Cambria escape their bonds, incapacitate the crew, and attempt to rewire the system’s auto-pilot. Inferno, hearing of Wilhelm Ryan’s plan to use them to destroy the Keywork, flies to their aid and attempts to help them take over the ship, but their attempts are in vain when their craft is drawn to the massive starship helmed by Admiral Crom. They attempt to fight him off but his suit allows him to drain their energy. A fight ensues, but it is in vain. Crom shoves metal pipe through Inferno’s chest. The song is pretty much about their pathetic attempts to fight off this unstoppable force.
12Coheed and Cambria
The Second Stage Turbine Blade

Hearshot Kid Disaster:
Having subdued Coheed and Cambria, Wilhelm Ryan brings them to Paris: Earth and prepares to activate the Monstar virus. He taunts the two of them before unleashing genetically modified dragonflies that trigger the virus in Coheed and sending the remainder of his Onstantine Priests and General Mayo out to finish off Mariah and her rebellion.
13Coheed and Cambria
The Second Stage Turbine Blade

(Out of Song): Without getting too long winded, Coheed is transformed into the Monstar, a juggernaut whose purpose is to draw in the energy from the nearby “suns” and deactivate them. Cambria becomes the White Ruineer, whose purpose is to kill the Monstar. After a battle Coheed lands on a star, deactivating it and causing all the planets attached to break lose. Cambria kills him and then, as the effects of the White Ruineer fade, kills herself. The Prise, seeing what has occurred, sacrifice themselves to reactivate the star, which draws the drifting planets into its gravitational pull.
Boom, our solar system is created.
14Coheed and Cambria
The Second Stage Turbine Blade

Stepping away from the main plot, Patrick, having witnessed the murder of his fiance, flees the scene and is trailed by an Onstantine Priest. The song follows two perspectives, although the majority of it is told from Josephine’s perspective as a ghost. She laments not being able to spend her life with Patrick and watches as her fiance is pursued and eventually killed by a Priest. “I’m running you down!” Is Patrick screaming in his car as he attempts to run over the monster.
15Coheed and Cambria
The Second Stage Turbine Blade

Junesong Provision:
Claudio, feeling the death of his parents through his new powers, realizes that he must go into hiding to protect the only person left alive that he cares for, his girlfriend Newo Ikkin. He wrestles with his insecurity and his inability to comprehend what he must do next in light of this tragedy.
16Coheed and Cambria
The Second Stage Turbine Blade

This and the previous song live pretty close to each other. As Claudio sails away from his planet he mentally writes a letter to his parents basically blaming them for murdering/ abandoning him and his siblings. He hears his dead father’s voice in his head, and contemplates suicide. The song switches to him promising Newo that he’ll return before he drifts off to sleep.
(Out of Song) Mayo Dettinwolf and his forces launch an attack on Mariah and the remainder of the rebellion. The rebellion is defeated and Mariah is beheaded). Jesse retreats into hiding.
17Coheed and Cambria
The Second Stage Turbine Blade

God Send Conspirator:
The song is mostly from Wilhelm Ryan’s perspective as he sits with Mariah’s head in his lap. The song is basically about him taunting her and soaking in his victory, while Jesse licks his wounds and brings the rebellion underground to prepare their next attack.
(“Dear Mariah, the world’s not big enough for the both of us….”: Wilhelm)
(“Fight on Fire. Burn my hands till I’ve got nothing left to count my numbers on.”: Jesse basically saying he will continue to fight and sacrifice until there is nothing left)
The end of the song is a reference to Coheed and Cambria’s apocalypse (as their eye contact is what sparked the transformation into Monstar and White Ruineer) and Jesse, accompanied by a few survivors, go underground and begin to build their army of IRO-bots.
18Coheed and Cambria
The Second Stage Turbine Blade

IRO-Bot (Demo)
An absolute sleeper in CO&CA’s discography. The song is from an IRO-bot’s perspective (potentially Sizer, but we’ll introduce him next album). An IRO-Bot is a being that is sentient and feeling, but can be repaired over and over despite its injuries. The song basically chronicles one of Jesse’s IRO-Bots as it is sent into battle repeatedly, sustaining injuries, experiencing emotions despite being trained not to, and then being rebuilt.
19Coheed and Cambria
The Second Stage Turbine Blade

Elf House New Mexico (Demo)
There’s a lot of anger and violence in early Coheed songs (see Shabutie songs like “Godfather’s Lollipop” and “Camouflage”) and this one is certainly up there. While this doesn’t happen in the comics, it seems like this is from Nikki’s perspective upon finding his goodbye letter to her. She flits between grief and anger as she believes that he has abandoned her for another lover and has run off. She envisions Claudio dead or possibly murdering him when he comes back to defend his actions to her. That being said, maybe it’s reversed (as the band has stated they don’t like playing the song because of what point in Claudio’s the Musician’s life it represents) and Claudio has murdered Nikki.
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