Coheed And Cambria

Year Of The Black Rainbow

Written by: PP on 11/08/2010 06:47:20

So much has been said about Coheed & Cambria in the last eight years that if by now you haven't a clue about how these guys sound like, I don't know what to tell you, so I won't waste any time on that subject. To save you any further reading, I'll also just throw it out there straight away: Coheed geeks will be as happy as ever with "Year Of The Black Rainbow", the final release in "The Amory Wars" chronicle, a prequel in the vein of Star Wars to the story detailed by their previous efforts. The whole multi-album science fiction concept was ambitious to say the least, and I think we can all safely look back and conclude that the megalomaniac attitude to composition and songwriting has established Coheed as a juggernaut in progressive rock, now that the story has finally reached its end. Unless Sanchez has plans to expand the universe, of course.

If their origins were deeply rooted in post-hardcore and emocore on "Second Stage Turbine Blade", "Year Of The Black Rainbow" is as of yet Coheeds furthest venture into the progressive rock spectrum. It's essentially not much different than either of the "Good Apollo..." records, the band are living happily ever after in their own science fiction bubble, oblivious to the fact that most people have long ago given up on the band for anything else than their occasional dose of breathtaking musicianship. Lets just say It couldn't possibly be any further from songs like "Devil In Jersey City"; if it's catchy, anthemic hooks you're looking for, you're in the wrong place. "Year Of The Black Rainbow" continues the band's exploration of theatrical prog rock soundscapes and instrumentalism.

Like its predecessors, there are a couple of 'hits' in the vein of "The Running Free" (see "The Broken" or "Here We Are Juggernaut"). But the vast majority of the time the old proverb applies: if you play three chords, you have 3,000 fans, but if you play 3000 chords, you have three fans. Or something like that. The point is, Coheed have been dangerously close to the latter category for the last couple of albums, where only the nerdiest and most progressive-oriented music fans care anymore, and "Year Of The Black Rainbow", to put it bluntly, seals the deal. Most of us will listen through the record once or twice because it is a Coheed album after all, but only the fanatics will have the patience to spend months on the disc before it reveals its inner magnificence, if it ever does. They are brilliant musicians, no doubt, but one is left wishing for something a little less complicated and nerdy to balance the scale, which currently tilts almost completely towards nerdy prog rock than the anthemic emocore these guys wrote on their first two or three albums. This leaves me wondering...how much steam is there really left in Coheed, especially after "The Amory Wars" saga is now complete? They receive critical acclaim wherever they go, and have enough solid tracks to put on one hell of a setlist when playing live, but many fans have been left in the cold for several albums now. The band must know that, so time will tell if this is the last Coheed album or not. For many of us, it's starting to feel that way if it didn't already three years ago, regardless of whether they'll release more stuff or not in the future.

Download: Here We Are Juggernaut, The Broken, World Of Lines
For the fans of: The Mars Volta, Three, The Prize Fighter Inferno
Listen: Myspace

Release date 13.04.2010
Columbia

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