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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
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Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Coheed and Cambria
In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
Equal Vision Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
The new LP from Coheed and Cambria brings me waaaaaay back. I'm thinking about my preteen years as a nerdy Dragon Warrior, RPG playing machine. I'd be engulfed in a story that robbed me of many sunny days, driveway basketball games, bike rides, and all the other fun stuff you're supposed to do growing up in Suburbia. Instead, I would be playing out an epic battle of good and evil with my hands on the controller; longing for the day I'd actually partake in something as important as saving the world from something like an advancing meteor. I'd give the hero my name and cross my fingers that I'd prevent Armageddon and manage to get the sprite-based damsel in distress with the bright red mohawk.

Whether you've been blessed with a Nintendo Entertainment System or read a few comic books in your day, you should be able to identify with where I'm coming from. Coheed and Cambria's In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 is the sequel to the immensely popular concept-like album, The Second Stage Turbine Blade, which instantly created an army of fans drooling over the band's concoction of intricate songwriting and equally complex storylines. Singer/Sci-Fi novelist, Claudio Sanchez, effectively blurs the lines between song and story once again with this artistic, yet poppy piece of rock. The ongoing story present over these two albums involves two characters for which the band was named (Coheed and Cambria) pitted against an unknown evil force in a dark, nightmarish world. Some would call it weird whereas my Final Fantasy-loving ass calls it ingenious. Either way, it is clear that Sanchez and the gang's lyrically ambitious book/albums have become a phenomenon unlike anything I can recall in independent music. That being said, Coheed definitely does not sacrifice songwriting for storytelling. Throughout IKSSE:3, the listener is barraged with incredibly tight musicianship and spastic tempo changes. Sanchez' vocals still remind me of a cross between Geddy Lee, Michael Jackson, and some guy from N'sync. This time, however, each track musically eclipses the depth of the band's previous work by leaps and bounds. The combination of nostalgic metal riffs and bubblegummy (too poppy?) hooks and yells tends to work in a way that I just can't see being pulled off by any other band. Take the title track for example, an eight minute epic of layered palm mutes and bottom-of-the-neck guitar riffs which have the ability to captivate anyone from the president of the Nickelback fanclub to the next door neighbor who keeps blasting Monster Rock Ballads 4 from his garage/autoshop. "The Crowing" features a combination of guitar and drum work that would make any of the guys in Rush feel honored. Much like its preceding album, IKSSE:3 ends with a cliffhanger as we anticipate the next chapter of the band's epic saga and refining musical techniques.

There is something to be said for the heroic tale that seemed so attractive in my younger years. In a way, it kept me oblivious to the often harsh reality of the world which I have come to know. On the other hand, fantasy stories of overcoming great obstacles fostered in me a sense of imagination and creativity I probably wouldn't have if I hadn't played all those damn video games. Shit, I still play those games today! It is this imaginative quality that's got the best of Coheed and Cambria- a band with a rapidly growing fan base and too much talent to remain in the 'indie' world much longer. Many devotees will wet themselves upon hearing In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 for the first time. There are others who will be turned off by the quirky devotion to a fictional story that progresses with each song. Whether you love 'em or hate 'em though, it is bands like Coheed and Cambria that continue to push the envelope of creativity, once again making Rock and Roll an interesting subject of conversation. Sanchez and company show that music can take on a more encompassing role than the sounds themselves. All music (and I'm not talking about the Opera, although narrative by nature) has a story to tell. Coheed and Cambria might just happen to be the greatest storytellers Rock has seen in a while.

Reviewed by Matt Bendett

See other reviews by Matt Bendett



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