Sound — 10
Possibly the best and most creative installment in the Coheed and Cambria series, "Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Vol 1: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness" was Coheed's major label debut and a highly reviewed album. It lives up to it's name. The opener, "Keeping the Blade", melts classical music with the trademark interlude. It transcends into "Always and Never", an absolutely beautiful acoustic ballad full of stinging lyrics and barebones guitar. "Welcome Home" and "Ten Speed (Of God's Blood and Burial)" are both straightforward rock songs, and both staples in Coheed's catalog. The more poppier "Crossing the Frame" follows up "Ten Speed" in a very catchy fashion. By now, you're hooked. "Apollo I: The Writing Writer" is a damning prog-metal track with more awesome layers than a Taco Bell 7-layer burrito. "Apollo I" provides the first real dark frame for the album. "Once Upon Your Dead Body" is much mellower, but with lyrics of poison and hatred. "Wake Up" is a very soothing love song with a promising chorus. "The Suffering" is a Queen-esque, straight-up rocker with critical acclaim and a catchy beat. "The Lying Lies and Dirty Secrets of Miss Erica Court" is a perfect installation to the album. It blends everything together of Coheed that you love. "Mother, May I" is a rather polyrhythmic half-tempo song that fits in nonetheless. Then, one arrives at the song cycle that is the Willing Well. "I: Fuel For the Feeding End" is possibly the strongest song out of the cycle, with ominous vocals, epic length, and beyond stellar vocals. "II: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness" is quite like a ragtime saloon in hell, and is a perfect follow-up to "Fuel." "III: Apollo II: The Telling Truth" is the sequel to "Apollo I" with a slightly altered song structure and lyrics. Finally, the conclusion of "IV: The Final Cut" lends a dramatic, Shakesperean touch to the whole thing. The hidden instrumental "Bron Y Aur" is a very fitting touch to officially close the album, which singer Claudio Sanchez describes as "a weird song you hear during the credits of a movie."
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are very strong. Take, for example, one of the many breakdowns in "I: Fuel For the Feeding End": "Feed little maggots off the west side of your sin/Run little maggots till they learn of what you did." Sung with Claudio's trademark falsetto vocals and octaved down amazingly to drop-minus-Z (both vocals simultaneously), this one's a showstopper. And in "Always and Never", during the breakdown, Claudio presents lovely deep tones that reach out and touch your heart. The conceptual lyrics go along with the Amory Wars story of Coheed's. Dark and brooding in the coolest way possible, these lyrics are doomsaying and ominous to no exciting end. You have to hear it to believe it.
Overall Impression — 10
This is my personal favorite out of all four records. My favorite songs are "Always and Never", "Welcome Home", "The Lying Lies and Dirty Secrets of Miss Erica Court" and the Willing Well series. I love everything and hate nothing. And no one would ever steal it, I wouldn't ever let them. And I'd never lose it. Two words: buy this! One word: NOW! Thank you for reading.