Sound — 7
Coheed And Cambria release one more highly conceptual album. "Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness," out September 2005, has a whole epic theory behind the music. It's the follow-up of the futuristic conceptual saga, started two albums before. The current opus is the third in the series and the first part of the last chapter in the story that is gonna take five albums. It tells us about a doomed parents who are convinced they must kill their kids to save the world from being infected by a virus embedded in their genes. The new record is more rock-n-roll, than it's predecessors. Layers of intricate guitars create prog-rock with emo-metal touch that brings memories of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. Unordinary harmonies create deep and reach sound. All the tracks sound very circumspect because this time the musicians took more time to fix or improve the song before recording it. The record starts out with not one, but two intros that are completely different from the rest of the album -- an orchestral instrumentation and... I don't even know how to describe it. A child-killing ballad? Ok, something slow with kids' voices, SuperMario's sounds and words horrifying words "I'm still waiting here for one kiss from you/I'm still waiting here to kill all of you." "Keeping The Blade" is a reprise of melody from both the first saga album and the second -- some kind of reminder, that "Good Apollo I'm Burning Start IV..." is the continuation of the story. The track is beautiful and deep, but out of place here. Well, if you try to find any kind of logic here or judge the record by comparing it to any other records around, you would fail hopelessly. It's just like an abstract painting - you never know what exactly is painted there. Like those goofy "cosmic" sounds of spaceships at the end of the CD, borrowed from '70s sci-fi movies -- why? The aliens arrived, played a song and left? The songs keep going and going and most of the time you try to remember if there was 3-seconds silence recently and if that's the next song or still the one that started ten minutes ago. "Wake Up" is the most standout (after intros) and the best song on the record, with even organ work in the chorus -- a very beautiful true lullaby by a killer - as he sings in a sweet voice "I'll do anything for you/I'll kill anyone for you." Claudio Sanchez says he wrote the song when he had to leave his girlfriend for a long time to go on tour with a band.
Lyrics — 9
What the CD misses is a theatrical performance. Though you can imagine all the action in your head vivid as the lyrics are like a good story tale. That is the best and most important part of the album. Beautiful dark bedtime fairytales by members of Satanist sect -- that's probably the best way to describe it. They are incredibly well-written, which sometimes even cover the lack of dynamic in songs. Frontman Claudio Sanchez has a nice melodic voice, perfect for story-telling. Spacey backing vocals add mystery to the sound.
Overall Impression — 7
Imagine asking your friend: "Did you listen to Coheed And Cambria's "Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness?" Sometimes people, wishing to be irresistibly cool, try to differ from everybody in awkward ways. I just guess that with band's potential a lot of thing on the album could have been done better. At the end out of all five albums, included in the saga, only about 10 songs could be chosen to make a good rock-opera. Apart from the fact, that songs just go nowhere, there isn't a slightest hook not in the melody line, nor in guitar riffs. Even though the story tells an epic drama, there's nothing dramatic in music.