The question “who is your favourite band?” is something a lot of people struggle to answer and even if you know who your favourite band is, it’s very unlikely your answer will be the same in a couple of years time. Although, for me, my favourite band hasn’t changed for a long time – I simply love Coheed and Cambria and here are five reasons you should too.
1. Sci-fi Story
Coheed & Cambria’s albums are based on a series of comics written by frontman Claudio Sanchez which detail a sprawling science fiction story called The Amory Wars. The band are named after the original two main characters, Coheed and Cambria Kilgannon and each album focuses on a new chapter of the story. Each release comes with the added excitement of a new installment of the story and a new challenge to pick through and unravel the narrative from Claudio’s lyrics.
However, even if you don’t care about the fate of the fictional planetary system called Heaven’s Gate, the lyrics stand on their own and without purposefully pulling out the plot, the science fiction will take a back seat, save for a few character references. The main advantage the vast concept adds is that it acts as a mechanism to concentrate and focus the lyrics – meaning they pass through a very strict quality control and hence they never disappoint.
2. Claudio’s & Travis’ Lead Playing
Both guitarists Claudio Sanchez and Travis Stever take lead and rhythm guitar responsibilities and as a result a lot of musical focus is directed towards lead segments. The ‘Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV’ albums provide most of their best lead work, alternating from blues influenced passages on ‘On The Brink’ and pentatonic inspired solos on ‘Gravemakers & Gunslingers’ to near shredding on ‘Welcome Home’ and ‘Ten Speed (Of God’s Blood and Burial)’.
3. From Prog to Pop
Coheed & Cambria are easily identifiable as progressive rock/metal and are almost always compared to Rush, but take almost equal inspiration from the world of pop. In fact their first album ‘Second Stage Turbine Blade’ is unashamedly a mix of post-hardcore and pop punk. Their second album ‘In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3’ saw their most radical change of sound, opting to amalgamate five minute plus epics and the pop aspects from their previous brand of introspective punk. The majority of songs off ‘From Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness’ are shorter pop-styled efforts, with only the album’s bookends providing the progressive elements. This juxtaposition between styles is a unique trait to have and is what keeps Coheed & Cambria unique.
4. Song Suites
Since their second album, Coheed & Cambria have included numerous song suites which act to narrate a particular scene of the story in finer detail. ‘The Velourium Camper I – III’ is dark both musically and lyrically whilst ‘The End Complete I – V’ is the epic conclusion to the main story arc, cycling through everything from acoustic and blues passages to an unusual take on thrash metal. ‘The Willing Well I- IV’ is possibly the most progressive peice of music the foursome have produced, removing nearly all elements of their light, poppy sound.
The Rush comparisons are definitely deserved when you scrutinise the playing of both current bassist Zach Cooper and past bassist Michael Todd. Not content to simply copy the guitars, their lines make good use of their skills, including a great slap technique and interesting scale runs, which remind of the very talented Geddy Lee.
Recommended Coheed & Cambria
- ‘Gravemakers & Gunslingers’ from ‘Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Vol. 2: No World For Tomorrow’
- ‘Number City’ from ‘The Afterman: Descension’
- ‘In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3’ from ‘In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3’
- ‘Welcome Home’ from ‘Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Vol. 1: From Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness’
- ‘Key Entity Extraction II: Holly Wood The Cracked’ from ‘The Afterman: Ascension’
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