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Coheed And Cambria - Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One - From Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness CD (album) cover


Coheed And Cambria


Crossover Prog

3.68 | 193 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Coheed and Cambria's third album is generally considered to be their best, I can definitely see why this is the case. Their sound has been further refined from previous efforts, maintaining a mix of pop and prog rock while also having refined both sides of this sound. Along with this major improvement, production is even better than before, with the sound once again being extremely clear, and the album containing some of the band's best work. However, despite the fact that some of the highest heights being found here, I can also say that it contains a couple of small missteps.

The first 4 songs on the album are incredibly promising, the first 2, 'Keeping the Blade' and 'Always and Never' essentially serving as short introductions to the rest of the album. 'Always and Never' in particular is notable out of these 2, as it is a great example of how the band puts some extremely happy sounding tunes together with some extremely dark lyrics, which is something the majority of the album does quite well. 'Welcome Home' is the first true standout of the album however, with one of my favourite intros in music, the first quiet guitar riff that then simply explodes into an epic, symphonic masterpiece of a song. Everything about this song is simply perfection, amazingly intense, with each instrument sounding great and the additional string orchestration further heightening this. The more upbeat, poppy bridge helps break up the song slightly before it goes back to going full throttle, but overall, I cannot fault this song at all, as it is undoubtedly incredible and well deserving of it being by far the most popular song Coheed have ever made. 'Ten Speed (Of God's Blood & Burial)', while not quite as great as 'Welcome Home', is another great song, being fast, catchy, and fun, with an especially great chorus. The first problem with the album actually surfaces here however, as the next song, 'Crossing the Frame' is one of my least favourite songs the band has put out, being incredibly boring and unimpressive, despite a decent bassline. This song would have disturbed the general flow of the album if not for the powerhouse that is the next song, 'Apollo I: The Writing Writer'. This is up there with 'Welcome Home' for me in terms of quality, with the unusual riff which when together with the equally strange bass and the great vocal melody, creates something both truly unique sounding, and a formidable song. In terms of composition, this song is also great, with the chorus and bridge near the end both being extremely catchy, both being worthy of being main hooks in a song, making this relatively structurally simple song end up sounding amazing.

The middle section is considerably weaker than the first, containing some more simplistic songs without anywhere near as much of the wow factor that the previous songs had, instead being much more pleasant. 'Wake Up' is a great ballad, combining some simply beautiful passages making full use of the string orchestrations, while also having the dark edge of the lyrics, with phrases such as "Kill anyone for you". 'The Suffering' is the other high point of this portion of the album, being the most straightforward song on the album, along with being by far the most catchy. This song also shows how the band have further developed the pop aspect of themselves, being extremely enjoyable, with some of the cheesiness toned down, likely a big part being how Claudio's vocals have further developed on this album. The other songs are inoffensive, but unimpressive, simply being quite dull.

The Willing Well suite makes up over a third of the album, and is worth every second of it, being easily the greatest part of the entire album. This is genuinely one of my favourite songs of all time, easily falling in my top 20, possibly top 10 (yes, I'm aware that each section sounds quite different, but if 'Karn Evil 9' is allowed to do this and still be considered one song, then so is this). Each section of this manages to impress me in a different way, with no section being weaker than any other, making a consistently amazing listening experience, despite being 30 minutes long. 'The Willing Well I: Fuel For The Feeding End' kicks things off with a wonderful ferocity, the technical ability of the band being on full display, with fast paced, frenetic riffing while the bass sounds like it's going insane. The heavily altered backing harmonies during the "run little maggot" bridge are nothing short of brilliant, then going through many other changes, not letting up for a moment, with even the slower moments being unsettling. This section showcases the peak of technical ability that the band has. 'The Willing Well II: From Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness' is probably my favourite part of the suite, being structurally great and focusing mostly on shifting through various emotions and tones. The first section is one of the most stupidly happy sounding songs I've heard, perhaps only rivalled by 'The Dear Hunter's' 'Smiling Swine'. What makes this song so impressive to me is how there is a constant gradual buildup throughout the entire run-time, starting of sounding so carefree, despite the overtly dark lyrics. Everything further builds as the song has a constant pace set up by the drumming and Claudio repeatedly sings "No one runs faster than you", which is wonderfully demented and I love it. This section displays how well the band can control the tone of their music, along with how perfectly they can build things up. 'The Willing Well III: Apollo II: The Telling Truth' is by far the part that I find most interesting, simply because the entire song is essentially reprises that are woven together expertly. I mentioned earlier how the closing bridge to 'Apollo I' could easily be used as the main hook of a song, which is proven here, as that's exactly what happens. After the first section, which is essentially just a reprise of 'Apollo I' but with minor changes such as a slightly increased tempo, the middle section then comes in, reprising both 'Everything Evil' and 'Blood Red Summer' from previous albums, right before picking up the pace once again. This to me shows the peak of the storytelling aspect of the band, along with their catchy side, as the songs that have been reprised each are integral to the events that are occurring in the lyrics. 'The Willing Well IV: The Final Cut' is a strange piece in the band's entire discography, merely consisting on two verses and then a massive guitar solo at the end. This is easily the darkest sounding song the band has ever put out, with Claudio singing with such raw emotion and the guitar having such a melancholic tone to it. The entire solo is simply amazing, sounding quite bluesy in parts, sounding extremely interesting and unique, as well as closing off the album in the utterly perfect way. This section show the peak of emotional impact that the band has achieved.

This is definitely the best thing that Coheed and Cambria has ever put out, and while not completely consistent, has enough simply incredible moments throughout that I simply cannot rate it anything less than a reasonably high score. I find every element of the band to be at its peak here. The songwriting, while occasionally faltering, is mostly of high quality, with many of my favourite songs by the band featured here. The album is packed full of catchy melodies, powerful emotion, and nicely complex pieces of music thrown in as well.

Best Songs: Welcome Home, The Suffering, The Willing Well Suite

Weakest Songs: Crossing the Frame, Mother May I

Verdict: Coheed and Cambria further refines their sound on their third album, allowing them to further develop both the prog and pop side of their sound, each aspect improving upon previous efforts. While the middle section is somewhat weaker than the rest, the high points are so incredibly high that the overall experience is an extremely positive one.

Kempokid | 4/5 |


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