Universal acclaim- based on 97 Ratings
Aug 16, 2013Summary: Not perfect, and some songs are forgettable. Despite that, this album has some of my favorite music ever written or performed, and these are excellent musicians.
I love Coheed & Cambria. That's an important disclosure to make, because I have yet to meet someone who thinks moderately of the band. It's always either great appreciation, or borderline vicious disdain. I think that the album warrants a song by song review, because I would honestly say that some songs on this album are almost certainly better than others.
Unfortunately, 5000 characters is not enough to give each song their appropriate review, so I will hit some highlights.
The first two songs on the album are entirely forgettable in my opinion, but are fitting for the album. Welcome Home is thematic and powerful; it easily sits as one of the band's best songs. Ten Speed (Of God's Blood & Burial) is catchy and well written, but the vocals aren't sung as neatly as they are on the rest of the album. Apollo I: The Writing Writer is where the progressive rock leanings of this band begin to bear their teeth. Wake Up has strange, well written lyrics, but is largely boring music compared even with the rest of the album. The Suffering is more of the same catchy stuff that carries Ten Speed, and is one of my favorites because of how fun it sounds despite its lyrics. Its only downside is that it is notably a four chord song.
I feel that after The Suffering is when the album really begins diving into progressive rock territory, which I believe is very appropriate considering the storyline that the album was supposed to be contextualized in. After this song, just imagine the singer started going magnificently insane, and the rest will probably make sense. Sort of. The drum work becomes vastly more interesting, to say the least...
The Lying Lies... is a great part of the album. It's guitar parts are neat, being carried from underneath by the bass and drums and being largely composed of melodic solo lines. Mother May I is more of the same stuff, but a little thicker sounding and more dispersed melody lines. Eppard is a great drummer in both of these.
After those two songs comes The Willing Well collection of songs. The Willing Well is one of my favorite set of songs that Coheed has released. Each of its songs has musical divergences from their beginning verses, shifting in theme and emotion from simple pop-rock choruses into complex progressive fills and hooks that immediately change the song's mood or focus. The only thing about the set that bugs me is that there is no song for the album's climax... in the album's story, an important character and part of the context for the entirety of the lyrics is killed off during The Willing Well. Where's the song about the murderous act itself? No where.
The song that comes the closest to describing the scene is the last one on the album, called The Willing Well IV: The Final Cut. It's a heavy, bluesy, and operatic conclusion that most people remember for the well played guitar solo that comprises half of it. Still, that song doesn't sound as malicious as its lyrics would have you believe. "If I had my way, I'd slam your face in the door" is pretty vicious, but cut short by the band's music and chorus trying to be dramatic, even operatic in scope.
Don't get me wrong; the song itself is amazing, but not what I was looking for as a climax to the action. It works perfectly as an epilogue, but not as the moment of greatest tension.
This is perhaps the biggest flaw of the album. Thematically, it is supposed to be a story, but it doesn't have the pacing of a story. The songs are all quite good on their own merits, and the ending set of songs in particular are a joy to listen to, but the album didn't do what I thought it really could have done. Perhaps that is because I'm reading too far into it, but it's my best assessment.
This is one of my favorite albums, though, and that says something. Even though they didn't make the movie of music that I feel they wanted me to hear, it was certainly an excellent listen, and a worthwhile sequel to their previous two albums. I dock two points because some songs are not on par with the rest, and for that slight disappointment of their potential. I add one more point back in, because
"Tonight, goodnight, goodbye."… Full Review »