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4.12 | 20 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 2010


1. One (1:56)
2. The Broken (3:55)
3. Guns of Summer (4:49)
4. Here We Are Juggernaut (3:46)
5. Far (4:56)
6. This Shattered Symphony (4:27)
7. World of Lines (3:19)
8. Made Out of Nothing (All That I Am) (4:41)
9. Pearl of the Stars (5:06)
10. In the Flame of Error (5:29)
11. When Skeletons Live (4:19)
12. The Black Rainbow (7:35)

Total Time: 54:18


- Claudio Sanchez / vocals, guitars, keyboards, synths
- Travis Stever / guitars, lap steel, backing vocals
- Michael Todd / bass
- Chris Pennie / drums, percussion

- Wes Styles / keyboards
- Brian Dembow / viola on track 9
- Claudia Sarne / keyboards, orchestration on track 9

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`Year of the Black Rainbow,’ is a fine album indeed, maybe a little different than some may have been expecting but of undeniably high quality, in terms of superb songwriting, outstanding musicianship and a production job that feels almost like an instrument unto itself.

I can imagine that the band may lose a few fair weather fans with this album, but those who remain will find a wholly enjoyable album that gets better with each listen.

Coheed and Cambria are not a band you could ever accuse of stagnation. Perhaps ‘Departure,’ is too strong, but this album is certainly different, the album seems to make a conscious effort not to sound too much like 2007′s ‘No World For Tomorrow,’ album, eschewing the slick almost overproduced sound and bright tones for an almost industrial sound, with more electronics, flatter tones and an abundance of samples, electro drums, odd guitar tones and vocal effects.

Drummer Chris Pennie is a perfect fit for this band, and fits perfectly with the band’s established drum style on songs like `World of Lines,’ and `The Broken,’ but adds a whole new flavor to the excellent almost drum solo quality `Guns of Summer,’ and `In The Flame of Error,’ which are at times unlike anything you’ve ever heard on a Coheed album before. The songwriting also seems to be more in line with the band’s work before Good Apollo than after, but all the new tones, sounds and Claudio’s vocals stop this from sounding like a rehash of new ideas, but rather a new era of Coheed all together.

Lyrically, the album seems to be a lot more personal than the previous two albums and features barely any reference to place names, character names, or words like `Prise,’ `Mon-Star,’ or `Key Frame,’ this may please some sections of the fans and upset others, but given the quality of the lyrics and vocal performance few will be disappointed in any serious way.

Highlights include the fast potential single `World Of Lines,’ the drumming masterpiece `In The Flame of Error,’ and the superb semi-ballad `Pearl of the Stars,’ which features some brilliant unusual percussion, beautiful guitar work and possibly Claudio’s finest vocal performance to date, switching between new low pitched vocals and his traditional style to great effect.

Overall this is a superb Coheed and Cambria album and rewards repeat listening; the new drummer, the very noticeable production and the new lyrical approach keep the album very fresh.

This edition comes with a bonus DVD, featuring interviews with the producers and all of the band, discussing the album, where the band are at in their Career and the book written to accompany the book. The documentary is pretty interesting and while not particularly weighty its a little more in depth than the Documentary for No World For Tomorrow.
In order for bands to keep being interesting, they need change once in a while. Now Coheed have changed quite a bit in their 11 years of activity. From changes in line ups, to slight sound differences now and then, their fan base, and the music world have acclaimed them.

Now we all expected change from the band. After a 4 album concept string, the band decided to release a prequel. Now these guys could have easily made an easily accesible album, and it would have done good for them. But these guys obviously do care alot about their music, so progession is needed...and is shown in this album.

I think this is the album that really defines them as a "band", because it shows alot of maturity than the previous 4 albums, and shows a lot of progression, and defining their sound, which has changed quite a bit.

This album reminds me of the direction that Radiohead opted for. Coming from their most catchy album The Bends, Ok Computer was a more experimental album which showed off what the band could do.

I don' t want to sound corny or anything, but their really is a magical atmosphere to this album. Don't get me wrong, each song is accesible, but even when you get the bare bones of it, and listen really careflly, their is always something odd that you can pick out. Examples of this can be seen in the slower tempo ballad songs, where you have a really beautiful moment, yet in the background theirs industrial sounding beats (Far), use of synths to add deep textures, and even use of noise and soundscapes. This can also be seen in the more poppier songs, the darker songs and even the more proggier songs.

The instrumentation of the album is pretty interesting. The catchy guitar licks are gone, the noticable drum and bass lines are gone and the really really catchy vocal moments aren't as highlighted. Instead, the band act as a band, where the production is so good, that everything isn't as hughlighted as it used to be. it's just a very raw sounding album, where coming from the Neverender concerts, the band opted for a more live sounding sound. Even then, the Eno like soundscapes and sound trickery is in the background like a wandering ghost.

The post hardcore element which was nearly lost in the previous album is back, but more mature and easily tamed. All in all, the its Coheed still, but its still proves that these guys still have what it takes to keep us all interested. Their seems to be more artistic freedom on this album, where anything could be sung, any note could be played and anything could happen, and it wouldn't ruin it, it would only make it more interesting. I like to think of this album a bit like looking at a very minamilistic painting and comparing it a Van Gough painting, where yes the Van Gough painting is pretty and all that, but the toilet seat made out of chrome is way more interesting. It's just a very domestic album. Although, this album isn't that avante garde, so don't worry, its still Coheed, mixing prog with pop.

1. One - Quite post rock esque. Very atmopsheric and is incredibly effective for an intro. 9/10

2. The Broken - When I first heard this song, I was expecting alot more from Coheed, but when you listen to it more than once, you kind of understand it, and you really get to love it. A very dark song with hints of sarcasm. Very different and a completely different direction for the band. 10/10

3. Guns Of Summer - I love how this song progresses throughout. Amazing instrumentation and the chorus is great, and way more interesting that these guys have ever done before. 10/10

4. Here We Are Juggernaut - Even though this song is probabbly the most poppiest and accesible song on the album, its still quite dark underneath its skin. Quite catchy, and great arrangement. 10/10

5. Far - This is the example of a very beautiful song, yet their is something quite disturbing in it, especially with the use of industrial sounding beats. It's just a very tense moment on the album, yet its still beautiful. 10/10

6. This Shattered Symphony - Quite dark. Great vocals in the chorus, I love it when something is shouted so much, its sounds like someone is in pain. Great atmosphere. 9/10

7. World Of Lines - One of the best chorus' on the album. Quite punky and very upbeat. 10/10

8. Made Out Of Nothing (All That I Am) - I'm sick of my brother doing acoustic versions of this song haha. It's a beautiful song, yet theirs something still that makes the hairs on your back raise in fright. Great arrangement. 10/10

9. Pearl Of The Stars - Very Prize Fighter Inferno. It's interesting to hear Claudio experiment with his voice and sing in a lower octave. Beautiful song and great chorus. The lyrics are quite interesting too. 10/10

10. In The Flame Of Error - My brother thinks this is one of Coheed's best chorus', but I highly disagree. I think this is the weakest moment on the album, but its still a great and insteresting song, mainly because of its arrangement. 9/10

11. When Skeletons Live - Now this is one of Coheed's best chorus'. The post hardcore sound is heard, but its tamed really well. 10/10

12. The Black Rainbow - Beautiful intro. The jam like feeling really is pulled of well, and of course its reminiscent to The Final Cut. The ending is a bit odd, but I feel their's a purpose for it. 10/10

CONCLUSION: This album prooves that these guys will always be able to interest and keep their audience as interested as they first started. It also plainly shows that these guys still care about the music they make, and will always. Their next album should be an interesting moment.
Conor Fynes
'Year Of The Black Rainbow' - Coheed & Cambria (5/10)

Having bought this on the day it came out a few days ago, suffice to say I was pretty excited about this record coming out. Coheed & Cambria has said that this would be the final record in their multi-album concept piece, and be a prequel of sorts to the other albums. Now I would finally be able to listen to all five chapters in a row and still not have the slightest clue what the storyline is about!

In all seriousness however, my first listen left me in a very bad mood. While I was expecting something that was a natural progression from their last record 'No World For Tommorow' which is arguably their best, I instead get an album that has some of the most horrible factors Coheed has ever possessed, with their worst production ever to boot. The album before this sounded crystal clear; you could hear every instrument and detail in the mix, and the mixing sounded very three-dimensional. This sounds like listening to a typical Coheed & Cambria mix, except through an AM radio station or something. While I was never a big fan of the guy who produced Tool to begin with, this is much more horrible then anything I've ever heard him produce? It's almost like he was trying to sabotage what is otherwise one of the leading bands in modern prog.

To put it simply, after I first listened to 'Black Rainbow,' I was so dissapointed that I went as far as calling it the 2010 equivalent to Muse's 2009 disaster 'The Resistance.' And we all know how bad THAT was.

Onto the music and songwriting itself? It's a lot harder to appreciate when it sounds like the band is playing in a big seashell, but a lot of the songwriting itself is pretty solid. The melodies are solid, and some of the songs rank up there as being some of Coheed's best. A few songs however, really kill the album and its flow. The most obvious and pronounced of these, is the nightmare entitled 'Guns Of Summer.'

It's almost like Claudio Sanchez suddenly decided he wanted to be a noise-electronica artist and make a song that has now become the standard concept of 'being horrible' in the eyes of both myself and another friend who was excited to get the album, and ended up having virtually the same opinion as me.

This is a grower however. As you may have noticed, I gave this album three stars, which shows that it's not absolutely horrible. If I had been forced to rate this after my first listen, I would have given it a low two star rating, and filled this review even fuller of horrible things. Quite a few of the songs are really good, and while some minor edits could have taken place (IE: taking out 'Guns Of Summer' and putting it on a Japanese vinyl limited special edition where it belongs) it's really not that bad of an album.

While the songwriting is pretty good and some songs like the singles 'Here We Are Juggernaut,' and 'Broken,' the driving ballads 'Far' and 'Pearl Of The Stars,' and some other catchy rock songs have a lot of credibility to them besides the horrible production, 'Year Of The Black Rainbow' stands as certainly being the band's low point, even if Claudio says it's the 'best thing they have done so far.' Decent stuff for the most part, but they could have done so much better.
Time Signature
Here we are juggernaut...

Genre: progressively inclined alternative metal

"Year of the Black Rainbow" is yet another leg of Coheed and Cambria's progressive alternative metal journey and, like the previous five releases, this album is not easy to categorize. One thing is for sure though: the emo and power pop elements are all but gone, the metal influence seeming to have taken over over. This means that this album is the darkest release by the band so far (with the two "Good Apollo" albums being darker than the two first albums but not as dark as this one).

There are progressive and alternative elements in all tracks, but the metal is now dominant as heard in tracks like heavy rocker "The Broken", the almost industrial like "Guns of Summer", the upbeat "World of Lines", "In the Flame of Error" (once it gets started properly) and "Where Skeletons Live". Other tracks draw more on alternative rock (noise rock being the primary source of input from the world of alternative rock this time), while still containing several heavy metal elements, such as "Made Out Of Nothing (All That I Am)", "Here We Are Juggernaut" and the title track, which combines noise rock, progressive rock and alternative metal. "Far" and "Pearl of the Stars" do not qualify as metal songs, but they're quite interesting anyway.

"Year of the Black Rainbow" is an interesting alternative metal album which , I think, will be appreciated by fans of heavy metal, progressive metal, alternative metal, and alternative rock.

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