There isn't enough that can be said about Coheed and Cambria's concept albums, coupled with musical and lyrical prowess, there is a fully developed story. The characters are hidden in some of the lyrical representation, as some of the words Claudio chooses are representative of his own live. There is a comic however, fully illustrated, that gives the listener a true image of exactly what is happening. The Second Stage Turbine Blade is particular in this aspect, as it's entirety has already been put on the shelves, so I listener, like myself, can have the full circular effect.
The story itself follows the Kilgannon family in their descent into death. It would take a blog all in itself to explain exactly what happens, but in the end Coheed and Cambria, along with three of their children, and one of their new fond allies are dead. Their remaining son Claudio is now in hiding from the creatures who are searching for him, because he, ultimately is the key to saving the keywork (the universe which they all belong to). The relationships and intimacies of the characters alone draw the listener into the lyrics, making them feel compassion for the wayward, and very in love Claudio, while feeling sorrow at the scene of two lovers dying side by side trying to balance the keywork. If you're really interested in the story, you can order the comic books here (vol. 1) and here (vol. 2), and enjoy them thoroughly at your leisure!
Let's break this down into some of the more prominent songs on the album, and talk about Coheed and Cambria's style as it relates to each of them.
By the same name as the tour that the band had this past year. They played each of their CDs straight through on four separate nights and recorded it for the less fortunate listener to purchase and listen to from home. The song itself has a very rock and roll feel to it, showing the band's old influences of classic rock and alternative bands. This is one of the few songs on the album that Claudio does not over track his voice in several places, this allows the listener to truly absorb the depth of his talent. He was raised as a child by an opera singer of a mother, and has since gained incredible range in his voice.
Guitars speak for themselves, as this song is one of the very important building blocks of C&C's unique riff like style. It seems as though the songs been written musically in several different parts, and put together in the smoothest way possible. It's not to say that it sounds fragmented, just that riffs and fills of the song have been put together individually, and don't ever clash with one another. It's an originality that some bands don't even come across on a new CD let alone with every riff in every song. The sound meshes well with the rest of the band as vocalist Claudio Sanchez plays most of leads while singing. In order for this to be cohesive, the lyrics must fit with the guitar, lest the song become disarranged and difficult to listen to. The bass is also something building. With each CD we find more versatility in the bass guitar of C&C, as though there is more and more talent being pumped into each song.
This is the song punctuating the true evil that is to become of the universe in the story. It begins with an incredibly catchy drum lick, something that only one the Eppard brothers would come up with. It is unfortunate that Josh had to leave the band after making this album, as his rhythm is surely missed in some of the recordings to come. The song transitions into the common fast paced and hard hitting verse that Coheed's early recordings are known for, driven by the story of our protagonist family and sprinkled with just a touch of Claudio's personal life. The way that this song is almost like three songs in one, and doesn't conform to the standard verse-chorus-verse structure, allows the listener to really move along with the lyrics, as though the music itself has taken on a plot line of it's own. This may very well be one of the best developed and engineered songs on the album, considering the lower budget cost of recording.
Many songs could have been chosen for this third and final spot, however it is Junesong Provision that shows the true organic essence that is early Coheed. It isn't candied up at all with pro tools or any sort of intense mixing, however it still has the same impact when played as all the other songs on the album. This song is also very important, as it introduces some characters and parts of the story that would be completely over looked. Newo Ikken's moment with Apollo is something that was nearly forgotten about, as truly, as girl reading a letter with a dog isn't all that exciting. To some one who feels intimate with these characters though, this is undeniably important.
The acoustic demo of this song shows the band's roots, their inspirations, and their humor. It open's with an Evil Dead quote and leads into Claudio's haunting harmonic falsetto. Something definitely worth giving a listen to.
This album isn't something to be over looked if you're a fan of concept albums, alternative rock bands or Coheed and Cambria's new releases. It has a raw and organic feel to it, something that this generation has been lacking lately, and should be a staple in any die hard post-punk listener's library.
Download Link: Second Stage Turbine Blade