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Coheed And Cambria - Year Of The Black Rainbow CD (album) cover


Coheed And Cambria


Crossover Prog

3.10 | 106 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
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.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |


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