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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
»No Age
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
The Second Stage Turbine Blade [reissue]
Equal Vision

Rating: 7/10 ?

December 14, 2005
The Second Stage Turbine Blade is the first of Coheed and Cambria's releases and the first chapter in Claudio Sanchez's multi-media science-fiction emo odyssey. Originally released in 2002, two comic books detailing the beginnings of the story have already been released, and, if you're nerdy enough, you already have them in your clutches. These books detail the basis of the story, one that revolves around Coheed, Cambria, their four children and the role they play in an elaborate checks-and-balances system between God and man.

Sounds confusing and extravagant? Trust me, it only goes deeper from there.

Although the title track "The Second Stage Turbine Blade" begins Coheed & Cambria's expansive saga on an ominous note, it's twinkling keys are short-lived, quickly giving way to "Time Consumer," which showcases The Second Stage Turbine Blade's more overt pop/emo/punk flavor, a lightness that has been somewhat lost on the band's more prog-rock influenced work.

To listeners familiar (but not too-familiar) with The Second Stage Turbine Blade, of most interest on this release are the three added-on, previously unreleased tracks - one "new" song and alternate versions of two album tracks. All three songs have been circulating on the internet for some time now, so they're not a colossal addition for the devoted fan, but for casual followers and those still hanging on to their dial-up connections, they prove a welcome addition.

"Elf Tower New Mexico" is the only truly new song on the album, and it sounds exactly like what it is; namely a The Second Stage Turbine Blade B-side. A decent enough song in its own right, one wonders why it wasn't originally included on the disc.

Also attached is an acoustic version of "Junesong Provision," lifted from the band's demo, with a sound that differs drastically from the rambunctious album version. The layering of frontman Claudio Sanchez's falsetto amidst an array of samples from Sam Raimi's cult classic flick "Army of Darkness" creates an unsettling atmosphere that helps to visualize the mood of Sanchez's fictional world in greater depth than the version issued on the band's album.

The last extra song is the unnecessary demo version of "Everything Evil." Despite the obvious monetary implications of having three bonus songs instead of just two, the inclusion of this track serves no real purpose. "Everything Evil" is one of the band's best songs, to be sure, but this alternate version isn't alternate enough to earn its space on a reissue disc. The band's superfans may notice a few differences in sound effects and may sense a few changes in Sanchez's vocal performance, but when it comes right down to it, the inclusion of this track merely amounts to redundancy.

Granted, the songs presented more than deserve the attention they will get with this re-release, but Equal Vision's motives in re-releasing this record are a wee bit suspect, considering that Coheed is now major label fare. But on the upside, The Second Stage Turbine Blade does showcase some of the band's best work. The feel and the flow may be disturbed by the bonus tracks (the hidden "Iro-bot" falls after the bonus material), but it still makes a nice prize item for fans. If you're looking for a proper introduction to the world of Coheed & Cambria, seeking out the original release and then downloading the extra tracks just might be the best way to go.

Reviewed by Natalie B. David
A fresh graduate of the Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia, in her spare time she can be found clumsily manipulating words and phrases for LAS and Beautiful/Decay magazine, hungering for sushi, naming inanimate objects or pondering the existence of stiletto heels. If you see her, you should buy her a cup of coffee because, chances are, she probably needs it.

See other reviews by Natalie B. David



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