This next album is a definite “must listen” to all who read this post. It is by my all time favorite band: Coheed and Cambria.
As I was driving through the wilderness over the weekend, I came across a thought. I couldn’t help but think that Coheed and Cambria has the best following than any other rock band today. I cannot think of many friends or acquaintances of mine who could answer this ridiculously easy questions: “Who’s your favorite band/artist?” So many times I’ve heard “Well, I like bands A, B, and C, but I also like bands X, Y, and Z.” The fan base that follows Coheed and Cambria is so strong and unique that their response to my question would simply be laughter. Coheed and Cambria are not only a band to these fans, but a way of life. There are webpages among webpages (like here, here, and here) strictly related to Coheed and Cambria’s music, story, comics, and fandom. Heck, fans have even nicknamed themselves based on a lyric in the band’s songs and story: “Children of the Fence.” There is no fan base like Coheed’s, and I am proud to be considered one of them.
Of the albums that are most played on my iTunes Library, the one that is played the most is “Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume I: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness.” This 15 song, 72 minute epic with a mouth-full of a title contains what I believe to be Coheed at their best. The precision behind each drumbeat delivered by Josh Eppard, the variety of bass lines brought by bassist Michael Todd, the range of frontman Claudio Sanchez’s falsetto vocals, the extent of guitar brilliance brought by both Claudio Sanchez and Travis Stever, and the story behind this epic masterpiece are only some of the reasons why this is a “must listen.” I could literally talk about this album alone for hours, but because of length and time constraints, I will not give too much back story of this band. For more information, you can visit one of the previously mentioned websites.
At this point in their career, the band has moved away from their alternative/emo rock sound, and has gone in the direction of progressive rock. Citing influences of Iron Maiden and Pink Floyd, Coheed and Cambria created a solid album in “Good Apollo, Volume I”, one that delivers a performance that is difficult to be matched. This album contains some of Coheed’s most well-known songs, including “Welcome Home,” “The Suffering,” “Wake Up,” and “The Willing Well: IV – The Final Cut,” a song laden with guitar solos and groovy drums that our rock forefathers would be proud of. Live versions of this song expand the outro into a 20 minute masterpiece, comprising of duel guitar, individual instrument solos, and new devices of sound manipulation to humor the audience, ranging from violin bows to theremins. The album features 15 total songs, each an integral part to the album and story. Even their lesser known songs have great moments of lyrical genius, marvelous bass guitar, and ballad-like guitar riffs. My favorite underplayed song off this album is “Mother May I,” with its clean guitar, time signature changes, and passionate singing.
It is hard to choose my favorite aspect of this album, but I feel I must speak a little of the powerful voice and lyrics of this album. Every time I play this album (or any of their albums for that matter), I feel a rush, a sense of heightened musical awareness. I not only hear each word spoken by Claudio Sanchez, but feel what he says. I feel like I know not only what he says, but why he chose those words to say. Since each Coheed and Cambria album revolves around a concept called “The Amory Wars,” I feel like I know each character in the story, what each is going through, their strengths, their weaknesses, and their fears. The main character in this album, The Writer, struggles with reality as he sways from sanity to insanity, driven by fear and hope. I feel the mood sway between each song as The Writer struggles with his own personal demons. I cannot unconsciously listen to this album, because from the moment I push play, I am instantly grabbed and pulled by the mood and setting the band lays out throughout the album.
I urge everyone who reads this to listen to “Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume I: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness.” This album has a little of everything, from influences of mainstream pop, to alternative rock, to classic rock, to neo-prog. It is the perfect album to use to introduce to someone who has never heard them before. For those who love rock music at all, please listen to this album and support this band.
Watch this live footage for their hit song “Welcome Home”: