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Bandname: Coheed and Cambria
Title: Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From fear through the Eyes of Madness
Genre: Alternative Rock / Emo
Release Date: Summer 2005
Record Company / Label: Equal Vision/Columbia Records


Who, over here in Europe, has heard of the band Coheed and Cambria from Nyack, NY? Come on, raise your hand if you have... Not enough, that's for sure. In a time when music is more a marketing tool than a way of expression (as the band claim themselves) there are bands that beg to differ and don't shy away from being more epic and... well, different than the mainstream. Coheed and Cambria are, just like label mates Circa Survive, a mini-revelation for the European music fans. It's good to hear bands combine influences from the last decades (read: classic rock) to construct and compose a new soundtrack for this generation. The music fans that don't want to listen to pre-fabricated pop tunes or the next violently raped old classic track in an obnoxious dance version. Coheed and Cambria have been releasing albums for the last 3 years now and they prove that the music scene is changing to a more rock orientated one.


Claudio Sanchez - vocals, guitars
Travis Stever - guitars, vocals
Mic Todd - bass guitars, vocals
Josh Eppard - drums


Song Review

01. Keeping the Blade - 2:08
A small chamber orchestra and piano play a grim and gloomy intro to this epic. Just over 2 minutes of atmosphere, the entrance to the world of Coheed and Cambria. Well composed and nicely performed to set the right mood, and it works.

02. Always & Never - 2:23
And when you expect the loud guitars to set in and an overload of bombastic arrangements, you get this track. Accoustic guitar and layered vocals. For a second there's a feeling of recognition. Is that Geddy Lee (Rush) singing? Or maybe... No, Claudio has a very typical sounding voice. One that might not please everybody, but it's melodic and under control. Nice little song, just before the expected loudness starts.

03. Welcome Home - 6:14
And we're off! Loud guitars, bombast, it has arrived. Like Led Zeppelin's Kashmir this track has the whole orchestral arrangement put to guitars vibe. It sounds big, without using too many layers of guitars and bass. Some nice and laidback fragments put in to enhance the atmosphere, slight orchestration in the background and Claudio's all-present vocals. After at least 4 minutes there's a change of pace and then the guitar solo trade-offs start. This is slightly tacky, but never in a negative way. It's exactly what the song has been demanding. This continues all the way till the end of the track when the total mix slowly fades and the chamber orchestra of Keeping the Blade takes of the melody line. Wow, quite a nice start, and it is one of the singles as well.

04. Ten Speed (of God's Blood and Burial) - 3:46
The next track. Catchy and not as straight forward as it may sound at a first listen. These guys know how to play their instruments. Slight off-beats and hidden hooks and details. Layered vocals, a chorus that sticks and makes you nod your head without you even noticing. This band doesn't sound depressing, melancholic or even gloomy. They sort have a positive and almost happy feeling going here. Nice dynamics and a slight climax when Claudio "screams" the title towards the end. A well composed song.

05. Crossing the Frame - 3:26
And there's no time to sit back as the band continues without pause. It might have sounded like Rush in the beginning, but it's very clear that this band has very much a sound of their own. Some well put breaks to give the song a differernt flow. The layered guitars and melody lines. This song has a bit of a commercial feel to it. The hand claps in the middle don't change that. It's in some way fun to see this band play a commercially okay track without playing straight forward music.

06. Apollo I : The Writing Writer - 5:15
A very quiet intro breaks the continuity a little. When the band returns the song has a sinister feel, with a nice off-beat. And then the chorus kicks in and you already know that this will stick in your head for the next couple of days. And then I hear the lyrics a little bit better and notice that Claudio is not singing about happy things at all! It's actually slightly nasty from time to time. "I don't even think of you, no I don't want to think of you anymore". And again I'm slightly amazed at the arrangements and the very good eye for details. The few seconds where they change the time signature in the chorus near the end is simply sublime.

07. Once upon your Dead Body - 3:19
This song has a very innocent and happy happy feel to it when it starts off. Claudio sings very soft voiced and almost like a little girl. But again the lyrics don't reflect the music as he happily sings "I hope you die right now. Will you drink my chemical?". All together with a nice "Ooo oo oo" and this makes a great band.

08. Wake Up - 3:35
The next track feels like a ballad. Clean guitars, laidback drums, Claudio's voice doing the innocent little girl thing again. A phased guitar line compliments this familiar feel to this ballad. It feels like a track that could have been written years back. Some strings in the background and this song sounds like it could be a hit single if it wasn't about someone who would kill for the one they love.

09. The Suffering - 3:43
And without warning (Wake Up ends suddenly and unexpected) we're into the second single of this album. A nice rocking track. Some cheerleader like screams and someone hitting one note in the piano and we have another nice vocal line making the pre-chorus catchy and easy to sing along to. When the chorus kicks in they even prove to be able to sound like a trendy American emo band. The musicianship and the different breaks and stops make this band just a little too odd for the mainstream. But who cares! It still sounds great to me.

10. The Lying Lies & Dirty Secrets of Miss Erica Court - 3:17
When the tenth song kicks in I shortly wonder if all songs don't sound too much alike for an unexpected listener. Okay, for someone who takes the time to listen there's a world of details and delicate arrangements to discover, but for someone who just listens to it like it was background noise it might sound like they're playing the same song over and over again. Let's hope you'll take the time to have a listen. This song is short and without a real chorus feel or build up. But the wonderous lyrics of Sanchez make this song another small adventure to read and listen to.

11. Mother May I - 4:32
Off-beat drums and only the vocals to keep you steady on course is the introduction to Mother May I. The band actually do know when to keep the listener from getting too confused and the chorus is another piece of almost straight forward and easy to listen to melodic extravaganza. It's actually cute to hear Coheed and Cambria play with the commercialised alternative rock that the Americas flood our airwaves with.

12. I - Fuel for the Feeding End - 7:17
And here the true epic side reaches its full potential. A epic story made up from 4 musical pieces. The first one shows the immense technical abilities of the rhythm section together with the guitar lines. Impressive. The usual layered vocals get a weird twist when they use a pitch shifter on the already unusual vocals of Claudio. This gives the whole track a huge sinister feel to it.

13. II - From Fear through the Eyes of Madness - 7:28
AN happy ditty? Yes, this sounds very upspirited, cheerfull. Like skipping through a field on a summer's day. But the band brings it with an unhealthy sick twist of breaks, stops and off beats. I can sort of get the idea that some people might get a nervous feel from this band. The constant weird beats and stops. Maybe there's too much happening? So there just might be a link to 70's progressive rock, like that of Rush. The intention might be just the same. There's a lot happening at the least.

14. III - Apollo II: The Telling Truth - 7:18
Computer sounds. The similarity to track number 6 is very clear. This is Apollo II after all. The chorus is similar, the vocal lines. It's like a reprise. Is this a concept album by any chance? Or maybe an extended version... It's very similar but the playing time is longer.

15. IV - The Final Cut - 7:40
And then we're at the final track of the album, appropiately named The Final Cut. A swaying rhythm and slow paced it makes a sort of melancholic feel to the coming end. Long instrumental passages in true 70's manner. Well done, well played. Quite a dreamy end to a superb album. After 6 minutes the song is over. So what's up with the remaining time that's clocked for this song. Yes, a hidden track. A folk-like song with banjo and violin. But the joke is on us as I hear slight references to Led Zeppelin. A cute little extra instrumental.

Technical Information

Total Playing Time: 71:29
Total tracks: 15

Cover Pictures

Coheed Coheed2


An odd band with a true epic album (71 minutes, it's quite a listen). Very much happening on this CD and that might just be the love it or hate it factor here. I do love it. It's well thought out and well arranged by musicians that can obviously play. Claudio seems to be a genius when it comes to details and intriguing melodies and words. The lyrics are a good read and a wonder to listen to, and will keep you entertained. If this band is one of those that signal a new time of rock orientated bands that push the envelope (backwards or forwards, take a pick), than all my support to them. It's good to hear that there are still musicans that don't fear away from the "experiment". It's a terrific album, and probably one with the longest title for a long time as well. ;) If you are into out of the ordinairy beats and rhythms, catchy vocal lines, a sinister undertone presented in a not always so obvious way, than go on and have a listen. You just might like it. And as they are selling out tours on the American continent (I know, that doesn't say much down here), let's spread the word and make sure that Coheed & Cambria do just as well or even better in Europe. For everyone that want to see them live, they're playing the basement of the Nighttown venue in Rotterdam (with Malkovich and Buried Inside as support) this December. Go check them out!


Music: 9
Sound: 7
Extra's: n/a
Total: 8


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