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Coheed And Cambria

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Coheed And Cambria Year of the Black Rainbow album cover
3.09 | 122 ratings | 14 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. One (1:54)
2. The Broken (3:53)
3. Guns of Summer (4:47)
4. Here We Are Juggernaut (3:44)
5. Far (4:54)
6. This Shattered Symphony (4:26)
7. World of Lines (3:17)
8. Made Out of Nothing (All That I Am) (4:39)
9. Pearl of the Stars (5:05)
10. In the Flame of Error (5:28)
11. When Skeletons Live (4:16)
12. The Black Rainbow (7:33)

Total Time 53:56

Line-up / Musicians

- Claudio Sanchez / lead & backing vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards, synth
- Travis Stever / lead & lap steel guitars, backing vocals
- Michael Todd / bass
- Chris Pennie / drums & percussion

- Wes Styles / keyboards
- Claudia Sarne / keyboards & orchestrations (9)
- Brian Dembow / viola (9)

Releases information

Artwork: Bill Scoville

2LP Columbia ‎- 88697 52095 1 (2010, US)

CD Columbia ‎- 88697 52095 2 (2010, US)

Thanks to Bligahphlarum for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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COHEED AND CAMBRIA Year of the Black Rainbow ratings distribution

(122 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (16%)
Poor. Only for completionists (9%)

COHEED AND CAMBRIA Year of the Black Rainbow reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Year Of The Black Rainbow' - Coheed & Cambria (5/10)

Having bought this on the day it came out a few days ago, suffice to say I was pretty excited about this record coming out. Coheed & Cambria has said that this would be the final record in their multi-album concept piece, and be a prequel of sorts to the other albums. Now I would finally be able to listen to all five chapters in a row and still not have the slightest clue what the storyline is about!

In all seriousness however, my first listen left me in a very bad mood. While I was expecting something that was a natural progression from their last record 'No World For Tommorow' which is arguably their best, I instead get an album that has some of the most horrible factors Coheed has ever possessed, with their worst production ever to boot. The album before this sounded crystal clear; you could hear every instrument and detail in the mix, and the mixing sounded very three-dimensional. This sounds like listening to a typical Coheed & Cambria mix, except through an AM radio station or something. While I was never a big fan of the guy who produced Tool to begin with, this is much more horrible then anything I've ever heard him produce? It's almost like he was trying to sabotage what is otherwise one of the leading bands in modern prog.

To put it simply, after I first listened to 'Black Rainbow,' I was so dissapointed that I went as far as calling it the 2010 equivalent to Muse's 2009 disaster 'The Resistance.' And we all know how bad THAT was.

Onto the music and songwriting itself? It's a lot harder to appreciate when it sounds like the band is playing in a big seashell, but a lot of the songwriting itself is pretty solid. The melodies are solid, and some of the songs rank up there as being some of Coheed's best. A few songs however, really kill the album and its flow. The most obvious and pronounced of these, is the nightmare entitled 'Guns Of Summer.'

It's almost like Claudio Sanchez suddenly decided he wanted to be a noise-electronica artist and make a song that has now become the standard concept of 'being horrible' in the eyes of both myself and another friend who was excited to get the album, and ended up having virtually the same opinion as me.

This is a grower however. As you may have noticed, I gave this album three stars, which shows that it's not absolutely horrible. If I had been forced to rate this after my first listen, I would have given it a low two star rating, and filled this review even fuller of horrible things. Quite a few of the songs are really good, and while some minor edits could have taken place (IE: taking out 'Guns Of Summer' and putting it on a Japanese vinyl limited special edition where it belongs) it's really not that bad of an album.

While the songwriting is pretty good and some songs like the singles 'Here We Are Juggernaut,' and 'Broken,' the driving ballads 'Far' and 'Pearl Of The Stars,' and some other catchy rock songs have a lot of credibility to them besides the horrible production, 'Year Of The Black Rainbow' stands as certainly being the band's low point, even if Claudio says it's the 'best thing they have done so far.' Decent stuff for the most part, but they could have done so much better.

Review by Neu!mann
2 stars So far, all the written opinions of this year 2010 album have been limited to more or less glowing fan accolades. As an open-minded newcomer to the soundworld of Coheed and Cambria, I would be interested in reading more of the (sadly, rating only) one- and two-star reviews. Clearly, a contrary opinion from a more detached critical perspective is needed.

The immediate attraction here was exposure to a new group (new to me, at least), indirectly endorsed by Steve Wilson of PORCUPINE TREE. The two bands are currently touring together, but after hearing their latest-to-date album I would have to say these guys sound strictly like a supporting act: hence my scrupulous two-star, fans-only assessment.

The music itself is relentlessly commercial, with a boilerplate metallic edge apparently tailored to fit an audience demographic (instead of rising naturally from anything like an original style, in other words). At their best, the quartet resembles a mainstream reduction of THE MARS VOLTA, minus that group's uncompromising creativity and weirdness.

The lead vocals, by Claudio Sanchez, are in particular a trial, full of calculated heavy metal stridency and enough breathless, over-emotional posturing to make even a microphone ham like NEIL MORSE blush with embarrassment. The album's brief, instrumental opener ("One") raised my hopes for something unique, only to dash them when the singing started. The rest of the album follows the same pattern, in the end being entirely too song- oriented, but without a memorable hook within earshot.

The back-story behind the music is also, at least on this album, completely inscrutable (a synopsis of the companion sci-fi novel, likewise written by Sanchez and included in a separate box set, hardly clarifies the narrative). And as for their claim of being (quoting their bio here at Prog Archives) "the first and only concept band"...well, sorry boys, but CHRISTIAN VANDER and MAGMA beat you to that goal by a good thirty years!

This might not have been the best introduction to Coheed and Cambria. But on the other hand, there's nothing in any other review here to suggest otherwise. Maybe a deeper exploration into their back catalogue is necessary; stay tuned?

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Have you ever heard about The Mars Volta? Have you ever listen to their music? Did you find it's interesting in places but too chaotic, complex, psychedelic, noisy, vocals are not what you can accept, etc.?

Great news for you! There are the sweet simplified TMV version - Coheed & Cambria! They can play some simple and accessible scratchy guitars, they have not very pleasant, but at least "more normal" vocals, they have so nice and pretty melodies, and - they are sooo accessible!

From now you can be cool without destroying of your minds and nerve system: the good decisions are always near you! Ok, sound is flat, songs sound more as parodies, than real ones, musicianship level is similar to your college band's. And what? Who told only complex and professional music could be named as prog?

I am too old-fashioned, so I hear too many funny things in C & C music, kind of street rebels with make up, playing Kiss-met-Green Day,etc. Anyway, don't think they have any relations to classic prog rock. Possibly they are "prog for the simple people" related. Why not - we have Kate Bush version adapted to that category (Tori Amos).

Whenever I am not a fan and no expert in such new-fashioned genres, the only thing I can tell to classic prog fans: avoid this album, no relation with classic prog at all!

Review by Kempokid
1 stars After a string of great albums, particularly the excellent Good Apollo duology, it's honestly slightly amazing how much worse this album is compared to anything Coheed and Cambria has made before or since. The vocals aren't anywhere as good as normal, with Claudio sounding somewhat strained whenever trying to be dramatic, and the instrumentation is considerably weaker, with no moments that stand out to me, which is a hugs letdown after previous albums, even the fairly average 'Second Stage Turbine Blade' had many parts which sounded simply excellent. By far the biggest issue with this album is the production, which is horribly muddy and washed out, further reducing any impact that the instrumental sections have, along with just sounding outright bad all around.

The songs are also quite weak for the most part, with many of them sounding very similar to one another, with only a few songs that actually stand out in any way. The most notable example is an outlier in the band's entire career, the divisive 'Guns of Summer', which utilises a great deal of electronics sounding almost like breakcore in sections, being extremely energetic. While the instrumentation here is actually quite interesting, the vocals bring it down to some extent, making it a song I have quite mixed feelings about it, which is an issue since it's one of the better tracks here. Other than this, there are two songs on the album that are genuinely decent, 'Pearl of the Stars' and 'This Shattered Symphony'. 'Pearl of the Stars' is quite a nice, emotional ballad, that while not of the same quality as 'Mother Superior' or 'Once Upon Your Dead Body', is still fairly decent. 'This Shattered Symphony' is by far the best song here, with a dark, slightly oppressive atmosphere that actually sounds more suited to the muddier production, with the chorus being especially high quality, along with being the only song with some really great riffs.

The rest of the songs have very similar issues with them, with poor production and composing them in such a way to have them try and seem epic, but failing horribly. Along with this, I find myself often finding songs to drag slightly, despite only being around 5 minutes or less. The worst example of this is 'Far' which has the drums pushed forward in the mix, so you constantly get distracted by them, also bringing far too much attention to the simple beat. This causes the song to become dull very fast, as nothing else is of any interest either, making this 5 minutes feel more like 10.

Overall, this is the weakest Coheed and Cambria album by quite a large margin, with only two songs being of any major merit, with the majority being brought down by a combination of poor production and bad songwriting. I really can't recommend this album at all, as I can find very few good qualities in it besides the two high quality songs and the interesting experimentation in 'Guns of Summer'. Stay away from this album until you've heard some of Coheed's earlier work, or just stay away from it in general.

Best songs: This Shattered Symphony, Pearl of the Stars

Weakest Songs: Far, Made Out Of Nothing (All That I Am), In The Flame of Error, Here We Are Juggernaut, The Black Rainbow

Verdict: Really bad album by a generally high quality band. Listen to the best tracks, as they're quite good, but stay away from everything else or at least listen with low expectations.

Latest members reviews

2 stars When I first listened to this album back when it came out, I kinda glossed over it, seeing it as just another album in the release schedule and throwing it in the back of my music library. Having seen it there for all these years I decided to give it a couple of listens to actually get my actual opi ... (read more)

Report this review (#918948) | Posted by iamathousandapples | Monday, February 25, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In order for bands to keep being interesting, they need change once in a while. Now Coheed have changed quite a bit in their 11 years of activity. From changes in line ups, to slight sound differences now and then, their fan base, and the music world have acclaimed them. Now we all expected ... (read more)

Report this review (#479956) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Sunday, July 10, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars "Year of the Black Rainbow" is yet another leg of Coheed and Cambria's progressive alternative metal journey and, like the previous five releases, this album is not easy to categorize. One thing is for sure though: the emo and power pop elements are all but gone, the metal influence seeming to hav ... (read more)

Report this review (#323504) | Posted by Time Signature | Wednesday, November 17, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I tried to be as fair as I could when reviewing this album. Coheed and Cambria have been my favourite band for a while, and being impartial was not going to be easy. In terms of pure musicianship and lyrical concept, this album would have easily scored a 5 from me, but I had to take it all int ... (read more)

Report this review (#284807) | Posted by Laurelles | Friday, June 4, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In terms of songwriting and 'making a catchy song' this is where ya go to, really taking the mature side of things with this album there is also a little less prog than the last two albums and slightly more pop but it doesnt matter when the songs are this good , it is the prequal to the infamous ... (read more)

Report this review (#282545) | Posted by FarBeyondProg | Tuesday, May 18, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Coheed returns with the prequel to their Amory Wars concept angle and it's a step-up from 2007's No World For Tomorrow. Coheed really reasserts their unique style on this album after opting for a more neo-classic rock approach a few years ago. This is a positive. However, their approach is ... (read more)

Report this review (#280750) | Posted by SilverEclipse | Thursday, May 6, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Now this is the first album released by Coheed since I have become a fan, so I was very pumped up to see this album come out! However, I will admit that I was a little disappointed at first. Coheed did seem to lose a little of their progginess in this album. I thought Chris Pennie would have added a ... (read more)

Report this review (#280509) | Posted by garla1lh | Tuesday, May 4, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars `Year of the Black Rainbow,' is a fine album indeed, maybe a little different than some may have been expecting but of undeniably high quality, in terms of superb songwriting, outstanding musicianship and a production job that feels almost like an instrument unto itself. I can imagine that the ba ... (read more)

Report this review (#278832) | Posted by Gentlegiantprog | Wednesday, April 21, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Ok, I bought this with some trepidation, since I wasn't the biggest fan of their previous outing, No World for Tomorrow. I was pleasantly surprised. This is easily one of Coheed's best albums. It's obvious they really focused on songwriting this time around. The radio ready tracks alone (the ... (read more)

Report this review (#278248) | Posted by mepluszero | Friday, April 16, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars You've got to hand it to Coheed and Cambria for being the first "concept band" with all their albums (and associated comics) devoted to this one Sci-fi story. I can't even really begin to understand the details of the story, but that doesn't matter, the songs rock! In some ways Coheed ... (read more)

Report this review (#278066) | Posted by akajazzman | Thursday, April 15, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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