Coheed and Cambria used to stand for something. The bloated sci-fi concept (aren’t they all bloated?) and storyline were just a medium through which front man Claudio Sanchez could express actual feelings and ideas. Their music was constantly evolving and they were able to attract fans of emo, hardcore, progressive rock and pop throughout these changes. Then, when they attempted an epic metal anthem with “Welcome Home”, they hit it big time. Guitarists (real, air, Rock Band controller, whatever) all over were drooling over that song. Plenty of those attracted to that piece grabbed the album only to be impressed with the band’s range of sound and songwriting abilities. The album was so successful that they decided to play the exact same style with its follow-up, only with terrible production, terrible drumming, terrible art and worse songs. So with their next record, Year of the Black Rainbow, Coheed improved everything up there that I labeled “terrible,” but made the “worse songs” even worse. How about that?
Sure, the musicianship is competent. New drummer, the world-class talent Chris Pennie, makes his first appearance on a Coheed album after leaving The Dillinger Escape Plan for them. While his former band has continued to grow and push their art forward, Coheed and Cambria has been stagnant. When I saw that they started closing their live sets with a drum solo, I just knew that the band was utilizing him in all the wrong ways. Listening to his work on this record confirms this. Surely his playing is technically excellent, but unlike the spastic beats he used in DEP, there is no depth to what he’s playing here. Plus, there’s no room for his versatility. He simply plays rock beats with some accents and fills, and it all sounds so vapid. Did he really leave DEP for something other than money? I can’t believe that.
After listening to “Far,” the rest of the time I listened to this album I was dry heaving, because I ran out of throw up. I haven’t been so sick of Claudio since hearing his The Prize Fighter Inferno project. Similar to said project, this song is a really stupid ballad that just sounds so stupid it’s stupid. Listening to this album, whenever I find myself not being induced to vomit, I recite Claudio’s insightful lyrics in “Broken:” “Blah, Blah, Blah.” That’s what I get out of this record.
Yeah, you’re probably reading this and saying to yourself “he didn’t really put much effort into this review,” and you’re right. I didn’t. But Coheed and Cambria didn’t put that much effort into this album, so I don’t feel like I need to. If you’re thinking to yourself “he seemed to put a lot of time into this review,” thanks. I’m glad my hard work is apparent in my writing.
Much like the characters of the band’s namesake, Coheed and Cambria died long ago. What we hear now is a completely different band, a band that is uninspired and uninspiring. If you want to hear a modern progressive concept band that is actually making good music right now, check out The Dear Hunter.
Chris Favata is a big fan of C&C. Contact him about joining the fan club. He’s already president, but you can be treasurer or something like that. He also has a radio show at 7 on Wednesdays at 7. Listen to it at www.wolfpackradio.org.