The eagerly awaited prequel to "The Amory Wars" tetralogy, Year of the Black Rainbow provides the long awaited prelude to the band's four previous inter-related concept albums -- The Second Stage Turbine Blade (2002); In K... more »eeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 (2003); Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness (2005) and Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow (2007) - which comprise "The Amory Wars," the conceptual narrative driving the band's lyrics, penned by Coheed and Cambria frontman Claudio Sanchez. Year Of The Black Rainbow is also likely to be the final installment of the narrative of "The Amory Wars." Year of the Black Rainbow is produced by Atticus Ross (Nine Inch Nails, Jane's Addiction) and Joe Baressi (Queens of the Stone Age, Tool). The new record also features the studio debut of Coheed and Cambria drummer Chris Pennie, who has been playing alongside Sanchez, guitarist Travis Stever and bassist Michael Robert Todd since 2007 and was featured on Neverender: Children of the Fence DVD.« less
The eagerly awaited prequel to "The Amory Wars" tetralogy, Year of the Black Rainbow provides the long awaited prelude to the band's four previous inter-related concept albums -- The Second Stage Turbine Blade (2002); In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 (2003); Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness (2005) and Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow (2007) - which comprise "The Amory Wars," the conceptual narrative driving the band's lyrics, penned by Coheed and Cambria frontman Claudio Sanchez. Year Of The Black Rainbow is also likely to be the final installment of the narrative of "The Amory Wars." Year of the Black Rainbow is produced by Atticus Ross (Nine Inch Nails, Jane's Addiction) and Joe Baressi (Queens of the Stone Age, Tool). The new record also features the studio debut of Coheed and Cambria drummer Chris Pennie, who has been playing alongside Sanchez, guitarist Travis Stever and bassist Michael Robert Todd since 2007 and was featured on Neverender: Children of the Fence DVD.
"To give a point of reference, I am a huge fan of this band. I am not a fan who knows the story like the back of my hand, but I am someone who appreciates the talent, creativity, and innovation they have displayed to this point. The music has always been where it's at for me. Their first three albums have forever placed them among my top three favorite bands.
That said, this one has been a bit of a rollercoaster for me. My first taste was "The Broken", via their myspace page, and my first couple listens through that song left me nervous about the forthcoming album release. If that was the direction, I was not sure I was interested. I know I am not alone in this sentiment, and like many others, I decided not to let that doubt prematurely ruin this album for me. I reserved judgment until I could take in the album as a whole. I am glad I did.
It took longer for this one to "sink in". Probably because of the wall of sound surrounding the real music beneath. That is my biggest gripe with this release, and it is really unfortunate. I listen to Good Apollo vol 1 and enjoy the bits of production and sound effects. Here it all seems a bit too much. I cannot help but wonder how this is going to sound live.
However, after a little over a week of listening to nothing but YotBR, it has grown on me considerably. Without too much searching I have been able to find the Coheed that I love. Part of that is in the progression of their sound, but I can hear parts of all of their work in this album. I truly enjoy this album and am very relieved that my first impression of "The Broken" was not upheld. I have even grown to like that song quite a bit.
Overall I would liked to have given a 3.75, but since I cannot, I rate it a 4. I don't see it as a "4 star" album, but it is better than a 3 or 3.5. I am disappointed by what I see as over-production. I am in love with the evolution of their sound and continued push forward, while not letting us forget who they are: a very talented band who consistently puts out excellent music. If you cannot find what you love about Coheed in your first few plays through YotBR, I encourage you to keep listening, it's in there."
This is the Year of the Black Rainbow
Brett M. Holden | heaven's fence | 04/14/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Coheed & Cambria have been through a lot since their inception at the turn of the century. They have grown and matured so much and this album is a real treat for the fans who have been there since the beginning. It is easy to get lost in the idea that they should stick to their roots but this band has always been about progression. No album has sounded alike with these guys.
This is a rock album and a thumping good one at that. From the creepy opening track, to the proggy The Broken, atmospheric Far and heavy handed In the Flame of Error, this album is perhaps the best example of what this band is. It contains noticeable elements of their previous work and at the same time finds a new sound which may open it to a wider audience. However, this is not a sell out. This is a band doing what they do best which is adapting after the loss of their original drummer and the addition of ex-Dillinger Escape Plan's Chris Pennie. These guys have risen up and written a masterpiece."
Year of the Masterpiece Album
Matt W. | NY | 04/19/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are some people out there who simply don't like Coheed. Maybe it's Claudio's high-pitched singing, maybe it's his huge frizzy hair, but something about the band turns them off. Other people are obsessed with the band. These people tend to love pretty much everything the band releases, and these are the same people who have religiously read the comics that tell the story of the music.
On the other hand, I fall in between these two extremes. I think Coheed is a great band. In fact, I think that if history is fair, they would be regarded in the future as one of the premier bands of this era, much the same way that classic bands from the 60's and 70's are thought of now. I particularly liked Coheed's second and third albums, but I think their first exhibited "Debut Syndrome" where a band hasn't quite reached its potential, and their fourth release exhibits "Mid-Career Rush-To-Release Syndrome", where a talented and successful band pushes a release out the door without taking the time to make sure it's up to the standard of their previous releases.
Year of the Black Rainbow, however, is everything I've ever wanted in a Coheed album, for the following reasons:
1) FOCUS: A fair criticism of the band's past releases is that they lack focus. Sure, there is a cohesive story, but I'm not talking about that. What I mean is, everything from album titles, song titles, song lengths, and consistency indicate that the band tries to do too much. Compare the two Good Apollo volumes (for example, the first had a title with 15 words in it, and the second had a 5-song way-too-drawn-out closing epic), versus YOTBR. The album title, song titles, and song lengths on YOTBR are symbolic of the new focus of the band. Sure, you might say "Who cares about titles? And isn't it good when a band stretches out and frees itself of the conventions of radio-length songs?" To that, I say sure, titles don't matter much, but they can be symbolic of the band's approach to the underlying music, and "stretching out" can be great but only if it's done well, and Coheed has been guilty of doing it poorly in the past.
2) MELODIES: Melody in music is a funny thing. I like certain melodies, and I dislike others, and it's hard to explain why. On YOTBR, nevertheless, there are TONS of great melodies. Specifically, Claudio's vocals are very catchy and melodic throughout the album, and that makes it an addictive listen. Just the simple fact that there is so much melody on the album is great by itself; Coheed can be described as a metal band, although they certainly are a multi-genre band, and a lot of metal is often terrible because of its lack of melody.
3) DRUMS: As I get older, it takes more for music to keep my attention. I look more and more for technical proficiency, even though the most important quality in music, in my opinion, is good songwriting, which generally has pretty much nothing to do with technical proficiency. Finally, Coheed is moving towards combining the best of both worlds. They've always had great guitar work, a trend that continues on this album, but drumming has IMHO been weak up until now. Enter Chris Pennie. YOTBR is his first album with Coheed, and the guy is a freakin' virtuoso. I love his work on this album and can't wait to hear what he does on future Coheed albums. He was an excellent addition to the band and gives them exactly the kind of rhythm-section power they needed, much in the same way that Keith Moon and John Bonham made their bands exponentially better than they otherwise would have been. Just listen to Pennie's work on Guns of Summer and prepare for your mind to be blown.
BOTTOM LINE: If you have never liked a Coheed album, chances are you won't like this one either. But if you have liked anything they have done in the past, or if you have never heard any of their music, you need to give this album a chance. Also, VERY IMPORTANT: when I first listened to this album, I was disappointed. As I listened to it more, I realized that it truly is a masterpiece. If you don't like it at first, be patient with it, give it multiple listens, and I guarantee you will not be disappointed in the end."
Best prequel in history?
D. Lawson | Montana | 04/13/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Coheed and Cambria is a progressive rock band... and a darn good one at that. Going into Year of the Black Rainbow I knew it was going to sound differently than all of their other studio work. However, after listening to the new album I can see influence from each previous album and even from Claudio Sanchez's solo release My Brother's Blood Machine. I can't wait to listen to each album chronologically starting at My Brothers Blood Machine and ending at No World for Tomorrow.
My initial response to the album is that it is much darker than any of their previous releases. I was confused when I first listened to the album because there was no epic multi-part song but then I remember this technically comes before The Second Stage Turbine Blade which also lacked a multi-part song. After the initial listen I was left in a weird mood that I can't quite describe. I liked the album but I was extremely sad that it was over so quickly.
Now that I've listened to each song a few times I will provide my insight and feelings about each track.
-One: The stereotypical C&C intro. An important part of the album but not worth going into depth about.
-The Broken: Everyone's heard this one! It's still a really good track and holds up well to the rest of the album. To me this song sounds like a love child from In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 and No World For Tomorrow.
-Guns of Summer: When this song comes on it hits you in the face HARD and you won't even see it coming. The ferocious drum beat drives this song and it's basically Chris Pennie saying "Guess what? I'm awesome".
-Here We Are Juggernaut: This will probably be the next single from the album as it is the most radio friendly song on the album. I love the chorus to this song. It's not as infectious as Feathers or A Favor House Atlantic but once you figure out the lyrics (or even if you don't) you will be singing along.
-Far: Definitely shares influence with My Brothers Blood Machine. This is a very relaxing song and a nice departure from the dark theme of the rest of the album.
-This Shattered Symphony: Goes right back to the dark and slightly violent theme of the album. I don't have much to say about this song as it is pretty much a standard C&C song.
-World Of Lines: I love this song! I guess I just like it when Claudio sings more high pitched. This song reminds me of Gravemakers And Gunslingers for some reason and I'm trying really hard to pinpoint why but can't... please leave a comment if you figure out why!
-Made Out Of Nothing (All That I Am): Continues where the last song left off. Michael Todd (bassist) really shines through on this song. Overall a really nice and enjoyable song.
-Pearl Of The Stars: Another song that sounds straight from My Brothers Blood Machine. If this album were a movie this would be the part in the movie where the main character is really down and depressed. Acts as a pseudo calm before the story that is the end of this album.
-In The Flame Of Error: Speeds things up again and reinstates the pace set by The Broken and Guns of Summer. This song sounds like it would fit in really well on Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through The Eyes of Madness. A very good song to lead us to the end of the album.
-When Skeletons Live: Claudio does a slightly different take on the vocals for this song. This song has some awesome progressive rock parts to it. Again Chris Pennie shines on the song.
-The Black Rainbow: It's over. A very powerful and emotional song for myself. I was bummed when I looked to the track list and saw that I was already on the last song. A bittersweet ending to the story of Coheed and Cambria.
Overall an amazing album that is, in my opinion, a much more appropriate ending to the story than No World For Tomorrow. The standout ingredient to the success of this album is Chris Pennie's fantastic drum work. Although, as this is a Coheed and Cambria album, things won't fully click until I've listened to the album 500 times or so."
Disapointed? just with the sfx, not the music
Christopher Hanson | 04/16/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"There are too many effects and background noises to pick out the music. I really want to love this album, but there are parts that are so saturated with effects that a shredding solo sounds like a laser gun fight. The music is in there somewhere, I am sure of it! And where is Travis? Is he in the band still because the high guitar is completely muted by all of the background effects. Almost every vocal track is full of effects. The bass sounds droning instead of the talented walking fingers I am used to. And the drumming has suffered (just my opinion) since the drummer changed. The last album was forgivable since it was just Chris channeled into Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters (not his style of music). I completely respect the technically and mechanically insane drumming of Chris, but I feel that he is forcing the songs in his direction as opposed to how Josh felt more fluid."