For those who have followed Coheed and Cambria's Amory Wars saga from the beginning, Year of the Black Rainbow will scratch the itch of fulfillment until it bleeds. This is the musical prequel (please leave your Star Wars jokes at the door) to vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist Claudio Sanchez's saga, concluding the the longest concept album in rock history -- five volumes' worth. It is lofty in its pretensions, but there is so much great music here, that even when its influences and filler are subtracted, it stands as a monolithic testament to singular ambition, focus, and realization. That said, like the other volumes in the adventure, this one can be taken completely on its own as a very solid album of hard and heavy yet melodic prog rock and metal. The lyrical references, while specific to the Amory Wars, are universal in their sentiments and emotions. The set opens with a moody instrumental, full of ambience and a piano played sparely before erupting dynamically into the "The Broken," with dueling guitar lines between Sanchez and Travis Stever. Chris Pennie's drumming with booming tom-toms and kick drums, builds new rhythmic patterns while underscoring a basic mid-level hard rock chug. "Here We Are Juggernaut" is an anthem with a tight, catchy melody in both verse and chorus, with overdriven, riffing guitars, thunderous drums, and vocal harmonies that literally soar. "Pearl of the Stars" is an acoustically based, atmospheric ballad with a dubwise bassline by Mike Todd on the chorus. "In Flame of Error" and "When Skeletons Live" are stop-and-go examples of melodic prog metal at its best. The set closes with the title track, a dark, drifting soundscape of a tune that takes shape about halfway through its seven minutes and roars all the way to the finish for a stellar climax. As a band, C&C either inspire rabid adoration or complete dismissal; that won't change with Year of the Black Rainbow. That said, any fan of heavy progressive rock music may find this music to be of compelling interest, whether one buys into the conceptual nature of the Amory Wars or not.
Performance CreditsCoheed and Cambria Primary Artist
Brian Dembow Viola
Claudia Sarne Keyboards
Chris Pennie Percussion,Drums,Group Member
Travis Stever Guitar,Background Vocals,Group Member
Claudio Sanchez Synthesizer,Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals,Group Member
Wes Styles Keyboards
Michael Todd Bass,Group Member
Technical CreditsJoe Barresi Producer,Engineer
Atticus Ross Composer,Producer,Engineer
Claudia Sarne Orchestration
Mike Fasano Drum Technician
Dan Druff Guitar Techician
Coheed and Cambria Composer
Bill Scoville Art Conception,Layout
Claudio Sanchez Composer,Lyricist,Concept,Art Conception
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Coheed & Cambria are my favorite band, so any review I give is biased. This album is probably their most emotionally driven. I've always loved Claudio's lyrics and this album is a bit more simplified, as far as the obvious ties to the sci-fi story behind the concept are involved. The sons are all very powerful. I could listen to Here We Are, Juggernaut on repeat over and over and not get tired of it. The production on this album is excellent, but I feel like the real WEIRD Coheed vibe I dig is missing a bit. My favorite series of songs are the Velorium Camper and Willing Well series, the weirdest of the weirds. It's slightly over-produced. I wish that they had left on the demo tracks - The Lost Shepherd is AMAZING and HUSH even got my Coheed hater friends on board. I read the book along with it, and I'm eager to see what else these boys can come up with. They are the most musically talented band to come out within the last 10 years, and I have no problem saying that.
Amazing CD. A must have to add to your collection.