`Year of the Black Rainbow,’ is a fine album indeed, maybe a little different than some may have been expecting but of undeniably high quality, in terms of superb songwriting, outstanding musicianship and a production job that feels almost like an instrument unto itself.
I can imagine that the band may lose a few fair weather fans with this album, but those who remain will find a wholly enjoyable album that gets better with each listen.
Coheed and Cambria are not a band you could ever accuse of stagnation. Perhaps ‘Departure,’ is too strong, but this album is certainly different, the album seems to make a conscious effort not to sound too much like 2007’s ‘No World For Tomorrow,’ album, eschewing the slick almost overproduced sound and bright tones for an almost industrial sound, with more electronics, flatter tones and an abundance of samples, electro drums, odd guitar tones and vocal effects.
Drummer Chris Pennie is a perfect fit for this band, and fits perfectly with the band’s established drum style on songs like `World of Lines,’ and `The Broken,’ but adds a whole new flavor to the excellent almost drum solo quality `Guns of Summer,’ and `In The Flame of Error,’ which are at times unlike anything you’ve ever heard on a Coheed album before.
The songwriting also seems to be more in line with the band’s work before Good Apollo than after, but all the new tones, sounds and Claudio’s vocals stop this from sounding like a rehash of new ideas, but rather a new era of Coheed all together.
Lyrically, the album seems to be a lot more personal than the previous two albums and features barely any reference to place names, character names, or words like `Prise,’ `Mon-Star,’ or `Key Frame,’ this may please some sections of the fans and upset others, but given the quality of the lyrics and vocal performance few will be disappointed in any serious way.
Highlights include the fast potential single `World Of Lines,’ the drumming masterpiece `In The Flame of Error,’ and the superb semi-ballad `Pearl of the Stars,’ which features some brilliant unusual percussion, beautiful guitar work and possibly Claudio’s finest vocal performance to date, switching between new low pitched vocals and his traditional style to great effect.
Overall this is a superb Coheed and Cambria album and rewards repeat listening; the new drummer, the very noticeable production and the new lyrical approach keep the album very fresh.
This edition comes with a bonus DVD, featuring interviews with the producers and all of the band, discussing the album, where the band are at in their Career and the book written to accompany the book. The documentary is pretty interesting and while not particularly weighty its a little more in depth than the Documentary for No World For Tomorrow.