Sound — 8
I've been a fan of Coheed And Cambria for a while, and one thing I've noticed is their natural growth as a band. No two records are alike, and Year Of The Black Rainbow again brings something fresh to the foreground. Year Of The Black Rainbow is the prequel as it were to the main story behind Coheed And Cambria, which was finished on their last album, No World For Tomorrow. Reliving the point of diversity, Coheed here have taken another new approach, different to the darkness of Good Apollo, the funky tunes of No World For Tomorrow, and the rawer sounds of In Keeping Secrets and Second Stage Turbine Blade. They have spent no time dwelling in the past, and have embraced new technology and recording possiblities. The result is a barrage of new sounds, synth lines, atmospheric effects, all adding up to build up their new sound. Some moments, much like the guitar work of 'The Broken', you can hear the classic Coheed guitar work, combining together very well. The main thing that this album needed to achieve, was to develop as a band, and venture into new territory. But at simultaneously, they must keep that piece of magic that makes Coheed what they are. They have achieved this well! And fans who have turned the backs on Coheed need to understand that bands need to evolve, they need to grow, to become better!
Lyrics — 8
As with most Coheed records, I was once again very very impressed with the lyrical work by Claudio Sanchez. He has something unique and special around his words; he can word everything pretty much perfect, adding a real charm to the music. Personally, I prefer lyrics coated in mysterious meaning. I like to think what he may be singing about, and whilst thinking you can develop things and words to relate to! Although I usually have nothing but praise for Coheed's lyrics, this album didn't seem to match up to records like Good Apollo and In Keeping Secrets. Granted, they are still very good, just not as good. But yet again, it could be the new style they have gone for, and I can accept that! His vocal rhythms also work very well with the music. For example, again with 'The Broken', the guitar work isn't straight forward, with strange beats. The vocals kind of mirror the guitar work, and almost fit to perfection! Also the lyrics from 'Far' are stand out within the chorus, with the line 'Please, this is what I can give, what else do you need, from me', being executed brilliantly. As always, Claduio Sanchez powers out his utterly unique vocal style, that for me never seems to tire. He has so much natural character to his voice and so much versatility, that he can sing low register, high register and full off a very individual scream! Of course I can appreciate that his voice is'nt for everybody. I mean even at first I was a bit sceptical! But now, I can only appreciate his ability in singing and voice manipulation!
Overall Impression — 8
It's a very solid album from Coheed And Cambria. In my opinion, it is better than No World For Tomorrow, but I can't see it going down as an absolute classic, as the first three records did. For me, the best songs of the album had to be: - The Broken - Far - Pearl Of The Stars - The Black Rainbow I love the new the sound they have gone for. To be honest I have always favoured an album with loads and loads of effects on it, as it just seems to effect the subconscious in an intriguing yet awesome way! For me the album was let down by the lyrics here and there, and some songs seem a bit rushed, with the guitar work very simple, and the vocal lines a bit boring, with no inventiveness within. 'When Skeletons Live' was a dissapointment, and I felt that if it was performed by a band I hadn't heard of, I probably wouldn't listen to it. Regardless of it's flaws, If it was stolen or lost...Of course I would buy it again. Theres nothing like supporting your favourite bands by buying legit records! For me so far, this is the stand out album of 2010, consistent and fresh.