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Coheed And Cambria - The Second Stage Turbine Blade CD (album) cover


Coheed And Cambria


Crossover Prog

3.29 | 119 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Coheed and Cambria plays a blend of progressive and alternative rock, 80s metal and pop. Fronting the band is Claudio Sanchez, who has awesome hair and an unmistakable voice. He has been compared to Geddy Lee, even that he is trying to be Geddy Lee as a vocalist, but that is far from the truth. Each of the two has different quirks in their voices that set them apart, and I can't hear any Coheed and Cambria vocal lines that sound like an imitation of Rush. Further criticism of the band includes that there is too much of an emo element in their music. I personally avoid the term emo as much as I can - it carries different meanings to everybody musically and I don't even want to get into the fashion side of it - because it doesn't do anything to really describe the music, not to mention that an automatic negative conotation is brought upon the described band when the term is thrown around (specifically in prog rock circles). This band should not be treated as one of those bands because they are quite beyond that. Even if they carry a sound that has traces of what some may refer to as emo, it is not one of their defining characteristics. The "emo" sound they carry is more of the Fugazi brand than anything, which isn't at all detestable mind you, and it was mostly shed by their second album anyway. I thought I might tag this onto my first Coheed review and get that over with. Moving on...

The band's debut album, The Second Stage Turbine Blade is actually the second chapter in their multi-album Sci-Fi concept, which also has a corresponding comic book series. Coheed and Cambria are main characters in this story (I wonder what they plan on doing when they're done with this concept series). This multi-album concept idea, as many of us know at this point, has been done before (immediately Magma comes to mind), but of course the MTV crowd is not used to this, so the band has been lauded for such a feat. However, the band was still pretty much an underground band when this thing came out, and didn't really see fame until after this album's successor.

The album opens with the title track, which is a 50-second intro that introduces a musical motif that the band would incorporate into their future albums. This flows into Time Consumer, which opens with a nice drum & bass groove accompanied by a very cool, clean dual guitar riff and then moves into an interesting poppy alternative rock song. I would have liked to hear more development of that awesome intro (underdevelopment would prove to be one of their problems in later albums), but the song is still very good nevertheless, and they do end up bringing the intro riff back along with a guitar solo by Dr. Know of Bad Brains (interesting choice). I suppose if any track on here sounds emo, it would be the bulk of this song. One thing you will notice about this band that further sets them aside from the bands they get compared to is their tight rhythm section; bassist Michael Todd plays funky lines and even plays slap bass occasionally, even in the pop songs, and drummer Joshua Eppard play simple but tasty beats that meld with the bass. Next we have "Devil in Jersey City," which makes a great single. It has great hooks, but also a very gritty edge. This moves into "Everything Evil," which is arguably the most proggy track on the album. Going from a dark and evil, if you will, first half to a powerful melodic second half, this is an excellent song. As the song fades out, we hear the next and most prominent musical motif they will use in the years to come, this time played on a piano with a very haunting atmosphere enveloping it. "Delirium Trigger" is the heaviest song on this album. "Hearshot Kid Disaster" starts out with a pretty funky riff and then moves into a good alternative rock song. "33" is a poppy track with some great hooks. Closing out the album is a series of dynamic, emotionally charged songs: "Junesong Provision," "Neverender" and "God Send Conspirator." Each track is fantastic. The bonus track "IRO-Bot" is an acoustic/piano based song. It's not entirely on par with the rest of the album, which is probably why they made it a bonus track, but the piece will reappear on the next album's bonus track as well.

All in all, this is a very good album. If you like well-written music, and don't mind a little alternative rock/pop sound, you should enjoy this. The production is a little rough, but it doesn't harm the music too much. They are not grandiloquent, despite the whole concept thing, and they won't blow you away when you first listen to them. You might even be inclined to write them off as pretentious yet run-of-the-mill (especially on the albums to come), but you would be mistaken. The hooks will catch up to you, and the emotion conveyed will impact you. Watching this band progress is quite interesting too. If this album was given the same production treatment as the higher budget albums they put out, then this thing would probably be perfect for me. I'll rate this at 4 stars, but it is on a sliding scale. Not everyone is going to need this in their collection, but it has had quite a significant influence on me. I have always thought that the band had more in them than they gave, but what they gave is still delightful.

Moatilliatta | 5/5 |


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