Coheed And Cambria/Year Of The Black Rainbow

Coheed and Cambria is an American rock band from New York, formed in 1995.[3] The band was originally named “Shabütie”; however, the name was changed to “Coheed and Cambria” when drummer Nate Kelley departed. The band incorporates aspects of progressive rock, punk rock, heavy metal and post-hardcore.[1][2][4]

Coheed and Cambria’s albums are concept albums that reveal a science fiction storyline called The Amory Wars, a series of story mediums written by lead singer Claudio Sanchez. The band has released five studio albums, two live albums, and several special-edition releases. In 2008, the band held a four-day concert series, Neverender, during which they played their first four studio albums in succession. Their fifth studio album, Year of the Black Rainbow, which is a prequel to the series, was released on April 13, 2010. [Wikipedia]

One—-Beginning with the proggish atmospheric sounds you have come to expect, the track is ushered in by a pretty albeit haunting piano introduction that lasts a very long time. This drawn out introduction only serves to whet your appetite for the assault that you hope is right around the corner…..the song magically segues into…

The Broken—-Which is full of all the pretention and great vocals that you know were hiding in the introduction. Sanchez has never sounded better or as clear as he does on this track. The music is so predictable, this could have been a cut from any of the previous releases…only the spirit and intensity of the vocal saves the song from slipping away unforgotten.

Guns Of Summer—-With a bit more energy and a staccato guitar sound that gives the vocal a different needed tone, this song seems almost out-of-place next to the previous predictable song. When Sanchez really opens up his throat and sings it is masterful…I could do without all the odd snarls and falsetto type over lays though. This is pretty classic at times, other times it remains irritating….just my opinion.

Here We Are Juggernaut—-With some pretty odd Electronic sounds at the beginning, the guitar is not far behind. Sanchez enters with a classic vocal that sounds just as wonderful as when I very first ‘discovered’ this band. The chorus is damn catchy, the energy is brimming over and the delivery is just what we have come to expect. The studio games allow Sanchez to have many layers of vocals and it works really well…this is a damn good song!!

Far—-Featuring a really nice guitar intro and a pleasant laid back vocal delivery, this is almost coming across as a love song. The drums are really big on this track and the mellow feel of the track allows you to literally get lost in it. This is masterful. A really great track, this could be yet another single for the band. Brilliant.

This Shattered Symphony—-With really progressive guitar sounds, the song slows to soon to allow Sanchez his spotlight…I would have preferred a continuation of the great lead line. The vocal wears on you after a time…expecially when it is as huge and pretentious as this. I like the occasional growl that Sanchez manages to come up with, but the high points are few and far between.

World Of Lines—-Now, at the onset…I think to myself….this is more like it…aggressive guitars and really prominent drums…the vocal delivery is almost maniacal. The pace of the song is led by the drums and closely followed by the bass guitar. The chorus is this huge sing a long affair that will play so well live you will find yourself caught up in all the excitement. This is superb….a definite highlight for me.

Made Out Of Nothing [All That I Am]—-Falling back into the prog-rock sound that the band is known for, this comes across as an almost suite of the story…whatever the story is…it is all confusing to me. This is damn catchy as it progresses….this is far and above better than the last Coheed release. I love this track…another real highlight for me.

Pearl Of The Stars—-Slowing things way down, the acoustic intro is almost a shock after the accessible sound of the previous track…this comes across as a track from The Wall…I’m sure it all fits into the storyline but it really serves as a surprise after some of the other material on this release. This is almost pretty!!!

In The Flame Of Error—-Masterful and epic from the very onset, the instrumental mastery is again too soon interrupted by the entrance of the vocal. Sanchez is really an acquired taste and it gets a little old after a while. It is to his benefit that he has such a powerful band playing behind him. Like most of the Coheed release, this is full of too much filler and fluff. The substance is far between.

When Skeletons Live—-With a nice drum track, the song opens up with high hats and bass guitar all around coming off with an almost jazzy sound. The vocal is very old at this point, but the music saves the track from pure obscurity. This is nice, but it has no variation….at times this is like listening to one VERY long song.

The Black Rainbow—-Clocking in at over 7 minutes, you know that this will be full of the pretentious progressive stylings that have made the band huge. The vocal enters with a quiet tone set perfectly to the mood of the music and you settle back in your chair to see where the track is going to go. The vocal seems manipulated and muted at times. This track has some huge epic moments, but they do not make up for the long, drawn out sections that just seem unneccessary to me. This is ok, but by no means a song I would turn to on a regular basis.

***3/4 out of 5


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