By Tylea002 4 Comments
I'm going to review an album! As I do believe I established, I like me some Coheed and Cambria. And hey, they have a new album out. Now I'm not an experienced music "reviewer" but I'll give it my best shot. Also, I'd love whiskey media to do a GB style site for music. Music and films are the big two left standing. And then they should merge all the sites so that you have one universal account, and blog and all that and I'll shut up now, onto the review!.
Year of the Black Rainbow - Coheed and Cambria
Obviously, it goes without saying, that my stoked meter was pretty high for this album. I tried to avoid singles and pre-relesae versions of songs, so i could experience the album through first time. The album starts off with "One," an overly long instrumental, atmospheric beginning to the album. It's not bad, it's not a song, it's just 2 minutes of atmosphere that flows nicely into the opening track. Safe to say, that opening track really benefits from it, but, as a fan, "One" dissapoints me, by not being a reprise of the earlier intro tracks, as per tradition. Music and story are clashing, this album is a prequel to the others, and frankly, who cares? Well me, but if you don't already care about the story and "all that crap" then One's atmosphere works *perfectly* for the album. And as the atmosphere builds, there is a crescenco of effects, followed by the sound of guitar feedback, and, we lead perfectly. into "The Broken"
"The Broken" is a kickass opening track. I hated it, at first. The slow tempo, the heavy production, it made me long for the opening in the vein of their earlier album In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3. Whilst In Keeping Secrets is still, in my eyes, a superior song, after a couple of listens through the album, I began to appreciate the different sound, and fell in love with the track. The vocals are sing alongtastic, pumping chords and catchy choruses, and guitarist Travis really shines in this song, with awesome licks and riffs behind the vocals, complimenting and adding to the texture of the song. Also, the bassline at the end, is made of win.
"Guns of Summer" is next. Do me a favour and listen to it. When I heard the intro, I wanted to scream out NOOOOOO WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?! Techno fade up, into techno riff. I will admit the drumming in this song is some of the best drumming I have ever heard. If I can ever play this well, I'll be happy. Anyway, multiple listens softened me up on the song, and I like it now, but overproduction and a style that just feels forced makes me yearn for some of the earlier, more natural stuff like Three Evils (Embodied in Love and Shadow). Also, the guitar solo was a bad idea. Yes it is guitar. All the way through. And the ending, well I don't like produced endings like complete sound cut outs. Just feels wrong.
"Here We Are Juggernaut" is the first single, and I can totally tell why. Catchy riff, catchy chorus, sing along the whole way through. The industrial sounding production is, again, throughout this album, an area of dissapointment for me, but I can forget all that when claudio screams, with all the passion he always does "This is not your playground it's my heart!" and you can tell there is still feeling behind the production. Good to know they can still write heartfelt stuff. It is very, very similar to the broken, as a song, similar tempo, similar chorus and song structure. But they both feel very good, and "Juggernaut" is definately a strong song and a great choice for first single. One thing that feels wierd. It ends on exactly the same notes, same synth feeling, that "Spaceman" by The Killers starts on. That is pretty wierd.
"Far" is a truly beautiful song. Again, every time, industrial thumping drums, I don't really like them. (I have more beef with the producers but will get onto that at the end) But they do compliment the song after you can get used to them (I often wonder how much the production outlash with me is my own preconceptions or genuine dislike), and it is a great song. Slow, and full of feeling. The guitar solo is haunting and sounding awesome indeed, and you can't help but sigh and sing along when claudio sings out "No matter the distance, now matter how far."
"This Shattered Symphony" begins with an intro which raises my hopes for an up tempo, much more natural song. Alas, they are dashed straight after both speakers are at play, the slow thumping tempo returns. But it definately is a song with less production, and feels more natural. It is one of the strongest on the album. Drums. Bass, chords, and Travis' licks all come together in the chorus with a nice yell of "Go on and give me the gun!" Gang vocals come into it later, and once you accept what kind of song it is, you will come to like it for that. But then, out of nowhere, comes...
"World of Lines." It is my favourite song on the album. It begins with a very cool riff, backed up by (natrual sounding!) awesome drumming. It definately harkens back to favourites of mine like "Three Evils" and "Gravemakers & Gunslingers." Fast paced, filled with almost punk and classic rock sensibilities combined. It feels very My Chemical Romance to me, similar to songs such as "Welcome to the Black Parade" yet having a wildly different sound. And I know there is a pre-conception of hatred for bands like MCR, but that was a compliment, they have made an epic anthem, and has the best chorus on the album - "Just leave us alone!."
"Made Out Of Nothing (All That I Am) is a power ballad. I'm ashamed to say it, but it is. Get your lighters out, and get ready to sway. Very similar to "The Road and The Damned" from the previous album. I quite like it, even though I'm not a big power ballad guy. Is interesting enough to stay out of enough power ballad traps to make it good. The guitar work is damn fine, and as with all the album, Chris Pennie's precussion talents make the drum parts damn fine throughout. Shame about the production. Yes, I don't have much to say, its a power ballad, and its done well enough to be interesting, but its never going to be the best song they've ever written.
"Pearl of The Stars" is very, very strage. Starts off with an accoustic guitar, which is disconcerting. Then, claudio sings with a really low raspy voice, which is one of the most disconcerting things I have ever known. It feels wrong, but doesn't last long. Has the same electronic feel to "Far" but isn't as good a song. Again, gets into power ballad territorry at the 3 minute mark when the full band comes in, and the guitar solo kicks off. Another song for the lighters. But after five minutes of sentimentality, you hear chords that begin to signify the end. And when the next song starts, you know the shit is getting real.
"In The Flame of Error" starts with a chord progression that reminds me of many things. Reminds me of the short instrumental, "The Fall of House Atlantic" from the last album. The whole song never lets up with the sinister, desperate feel. There are little bits of really interesting, intricate instrumental work throughout the song, but when you get down to it, this song is about pumping fucking chords with desperate vocals. As claudio says, "This is War."
"When Skeletons Live" is the second last song on the album, and is similar to World of Lines, in tempo and feel. And I do like me some slightly faster, more poppy sounding songs. Coheed do them really well, and it makes me happy when they ldo. It ticks all the boxes, interesting guitar augmentation, nice precussion, and a catchy-ass chorus. The post-chorus does, however, remind you that this is a story album, and calls back to just the last track, with some dark chords. It's great, catchy song, but is overshadowed by just how great and catchy "World of Lines" is.
"The Black Rainbow" closes the album out. As coheed always do, its a big creschendo the whole way through, starting out with a riff very similar to "Pearl of the Stars." Claudio's vocals are fed through effects over atmospheric synth, and reverb filled drums. It stays low, with Chris providing some nice military drums, and then suddenly it explodes into an amazing riff, complete with yells of "It's over! It's over" above the track. Then the producers ruin it. Things become more distorted, and crechendo builds for minutes, and I'm sitting in my seat all excited for an awesome ending, and then after some wierd synth effect comes in the song cuts out. Dead. Mid-fucking-bar. Then, 10 seconds of silence, and we get some atmospheric sounds and creepy laughing. Way to ruin an epic ending.
And thus, brings me onto the beef with the producers. You see, there are 2 more bonus tracks, and a making of half an hour clip in my deluxe version. And here is the problem! The two bonus tracks are fucking awesome. "Chamberlain" is another faster song, with an awesome chorus, that falls flat without the right mix. As much as I hate the industrial production in the early parts of the album (it gets better later on), I can't enjoy a song with a chordy chorus, if the drums are too distorted, and you can barely hear the guitar chords. It just makes me sad, for the song is one of the better ones on the album.
"The Lost Shepard" is the same. Not in feel, It's not fast tempo, it's in fact very similar to guns of summer, but it is an awesome song, and does that style of song in a better way, in my opinion (By not doing as much techno). I just...I'm genuinely annoyed that these were not included on the album, because they are really bloody good, and would add to the sound in a great way, if included in the main tracklist. They've done albums with 15 songs before, so why not put these two on?
Well, I'll tell you why. Because, in the making of video, one of the producers (The main producer, by the looks of it), Mr Atticus Ross, pursuaded the band to drop them from the main album. Good going, good going. It is a damn shame, as Chamberlain could easily be my favourite (or second favourite next to Lines) song on the album, but it obviously just sounds incomplete, the levels are all off.
Overall, it's a good to great album. Musically, it is amazing. Whilst I can probably say that none of the songs here are there single best song, as an album it works really damn well, and once you can come to terms with the production and what the album actually is, you will have a great time with it, and I reccommend it heartily. Though, as I say, if you haven't heard this band before, I reccommend their older stuff more, but it is a worthy enough successor.
- Here We Are Juggernaut
- World Of Lines
- Chamberlain (Demo)
In Other News...
- Yo, revision is fun. Especially as it's probably pointless.
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- Plants vs Zombies *is* fun. A good tower defence game!