Sound — 9
When I first heard Coheed & Cambria, I was slightly skeptic. The opening single from the album 'Welcome Home' gave off a huge metal vibe, one that I wasn't particularly keen on. But given a year to mature my musical taste, and Coheed have become my favourite band. The killer, catchy riffs and licks that Claudio Sanchez and Travis Stever use to brighten up what could easily have been a bland powerchord album and turn it into and epic prog-punk masterpiece. Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV: Volume I: From Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness is the first episode of the final chapter of the concept series Coheed have created with their albums. The story is a complicated one, but in this album it boils down to young Claudio Kilgannon avenging the death of his parents and watching his love life fall apart (I may have got this wrong, correct me if so). The listeners get to see the story from the Writer's point of view and see how events in the Writer's life affects that of his story.
Lyrics — 10
Lyrics are incisive and often very difficult to make out and understand. However the lyric sheet puts all problems aside and makes everything clear, with Claudio's vocals ranging throughout the album to suit the mood of the song. 01. Keeping The Blade - clever instrumental intro. Begins downhearted with a sad piano and then slowly picks up, giving an upbeat, 'look to the future' feel. Slightly boring for those who expected an epic-rock opening, like myself. 02. Always & Never - acoustic song, sounds slightly Simon & Garfunkel. Soft lyrics with a child's voice added in to add relevance to the story. Almost like a second intro with what follows. Short, and possibly worst song on album, but still brilliant. 03. Welcome Home - now the party begins! Opens with a brilliant acoustic intro and then electric guitar version of the same riff with added harmonics. Feels as though this should be the explosive intro 1+2 werent. Amazing guitar solos from Claudio & Travis, Strong and thoughtful lyrics driven from Claudio. 04. Ten Speed (Of God's Blood & Burial) - the final single off the album, quite commercial and easy to like. Smart intro from guitars, and good solo. Difficult to make out lyrics at times and difficult to understand relevance to story. Still enjoyable song. 05. Crossing The Frame - catchy song, again lyrics difficult to decipher but still able to get the general idea of what the songs about. Not the best on the album, almost feels like filler. 06. Apollo I: The Writing Writer - awesome song. Long intro but worth the wait, a clever catchy song with infectious lyrics. Gets more bitter as it develops, great riffs and incredibly difficult to sing and play simaltaneously. 07. Once Upon Your Dead Body - catchy in places but feels a lot like filler. One of the worser songs on the album. Nothing really stands out here. 08. Wake Up - excellent acoustic-y track. Soft, love song with intricate guitars and smart lyrics. Very soothing/emotive. 09. The Suffering - most famous single off the album and one of the most popular. Nice guitar parts, especially the intro. Again, difficult to sing and play to. Clever lyrics. 10. The Lying Lies & Dirty Secrets Of Miss Erica Court - about Claudio's girlfriend in the story, in my opinion gives away some clues to the story but that's my interpretation. Catchy riff and clever song. 11. Mother May I - a bit dull in places, not sure where this fits in and again feels a bit like filler. Another not so good song. 12. The Willing Well I: Fuel For The Feeding End - beginning of epic series of songs. More upbeat than most with exception of following track, difficult to understand most of lyrics but a catchy chorus. Bass and drum work is excellent throughout the song. 13. The Willing Well Ii: From Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness - the title track is the most happy/upbeat song in the series, but still shows how the happiness is almost sucked through each song. Nice guitar licks but not a great song by any means. Catchy in places. 14. The Willing Well Iii: Apollo Ii: The Telling Truth - very similar to earlier track, same opening riff and chorus but has other added sections to match the length of the other songs in the series. Creates clever contrasts and then back into the general mood of the song. Excellent. 15. The Willing Well Iv: The Final Cut - if it were possible to give 11/10, this would ace it. No doubt the outstanding track on the alubm. Opens with an incredibly emotive guitar lick and ends the album perfectly. Bitter lyrics, thought provoking, and simply mind-boggling guitar solos. Ends with and upbeat strumming section, completely against the run of the song, as though contradicting the song's message.
Overall Impression — 10
One of the best albums in my collection, easily. If I lost this, there is no doubt in my mind I'd buy it again. This has made me love Coheed and want to listen to the older stuff just to understand the complex story that lies through all the albums. This album is a most for all music-lovers looking for something different to listen to. Brilliant.