Saturday, 29 September 2012

10 Great Coheed & Cambria Songs

This post has been long overdue. I guess it falls under my living legends categories as Coheed & Cambria are still touring and still making music. Typically described as a progressive rock quartet Coheed's music ranges from acoustic ballads and to heavy metal opuses. They hail from New York and even though they haven't earned mainstream airplay and superstardom, their audience is that of the global kind. Perhaps the most unique thing about Coheed and Cambria is the subject matter of the lyrics. Which we'll get to. 11 years and 5 albums later Coheed has given us plenty of material to enjoy. Here's 10 great tracks.

1. "Delerium Trigger"

Usually when you hear lyrics like "Systems malfunction; Blast it! This damned machine..." and "There in the corner. Tall short stance. It's you!" the listener would tend to think it as metaphor or allusions to deeper emotions or personal experiences of the singer. Which is fine and can be done in Coheed songs as well, but here these lines (like all CO&CA songs) are part of a large arcing story of intergalactic war and the love story between the 2 main characters named.....wait for it.....Coheed & Cambria. Their first album Second Stage Turbine Blade was released in 2002 and is actually part 2 of their 5 part saga with each album being a different part in the tale.

2. "The Running Free"

Despite how you may feel about the story of Coheed's songs it's damn near impossible to deride the quality of the actual music on their records. "The Running Free" showcases their down to earth rock sensibilities perfectly. It's a lesson in song structure and execution, but like all Coheed's songs it cannot be ignored on first listen. Lead man Claudio Sanchez's unique voice turns casual ears' into focused intrigue.

3. "Three Evils (Embodied In Love & Shadow)"

Their second album is perhaps their most popular. It contained the hit songs "A Favor House Atlantic" and "Blood Red Summer", both gained airplay on satellite radio and were used in several video games. Before the album reaches those key songs however it sneaks in this gem. Like most songs on In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3 the energy on this track is dialed way up and the song itself has a momentum that builds to a heartbreaking apex. Though the lyrics are part of a fictional story when Claudio sings "...pull the trigger and the nightmare stops" the real emotion of the album comes to light which lasts long after the record is over.

4. "Far"

Coheed's latest album Year Of The Black Rainbow is actually the first installment of the story which is commonly known by the collective title "The Armory Wars". The album's theme deals with Coheed and Cambria's origins. Who they are and where they came from. "Far" is by far my favourite song on the record. It's a catchy yet dark pop song. Somewhere on the fence between a love song and a lament.

5. "Apollo I: The Writing Writer"

The crown jewel of the Coheed catalogue in my opinion is their 3rd album and it has the longest title. Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV: Volume I From Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness released in 2005. From start to finish this record does not miss a beat. The story takes a bizarre turn here as well, as the focus shifts from the characters in the story to the writer of the story. The Writing Writer as he is known, seems to be transferring the pain and suffering from his own life on to the protagonists in his story and he seems to be taking some sort of direction from, of all things, a demonic ten speed.  In 2009 to prepare for the release of their last album, the group performed each album live in it's entirety over 4 nights. Filmed the motherfucker and released it to the world known simply as Neverender. I shall include the video for "Apollo I: The Writing Writer" from that concert as it kicks major ass.

6. "Here We Are Juggernaut"

While they're known for their fantastic songs one thing Coheed is notoriously NOT known for is great music videos. I've purposely avoided putting some of the official ones on this list just so they wouldn't distract from the great song. "Here We Are Juggernaut" completely smashed that cycle however. In the short 3 1/2 minute treatment the song gets it takes us on a visual and cinematic delight. With great graphics and great performances...and in my opinion a better love story than all of the Twilight saga...
Take my advice...get on an HD screen and put the video on full screen. Sit back and enjoy deserve it!

7. "The Camper Velorium I: Faint Of Hearts"

Back to 2003 for a song that showcases the band's musical proficiency. The 1st part of a 3 part song arc features a guitar solo that seemingly lasts the whole song. And with it's playful and floaty atmosphere and brilliant cadence it becomes one of the record's shining stars.

8. "Feathers"

This song comes off Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV: No World For Tomorrow which was Coheed's most experimental album often including time signatures and arrangements that were new to the band. It also had Taylor Hawkings from Foo Fighters sitting in on the drums. "Feathers" has an old time feel, like a song written in the 80's but shelved and then dusted off and repackaged with modern day methods. I'm purposely NOT putting the official video up...i watched it once...never again.

9. "Mother May I?"

Not really much to talk about when it comes to this song. Though it definitely helped me choose my favourite Coheed album. It's changing pace throughout the song might seem confusing at first, but the chorus is one of the catchiest and well performed i've ever heard. I love when a song seems so happy and innocent on the surface when in fact it's undertones are quite dark.

10. "Everything Evil"

And finally we have the quinessential Coheed and Cambria track. "Everything Evil" is textbook curriculum in epic Coheed songs 101. Slow building rhythms get dragged through dark and ambiguous lyrics to it's wailing and devastating crescendo. A fan favourite. A staple at almost every Coheed show. If you only take away one song with you from this list. Take "Everything Evil"


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