Episode 1: The Story Complete
It’s been 8 years since the beginning of “The Amory Wars,” the official title of the George Lucas-esque space opera comic book series introduced by Coheed & Cambria’s 2002 concept album The Second Stage Turbine Blade. While geek-friendly frontman Claudio Sanchez closes the storybook with the prequel to Coheed & Cambria’s four albums, Year of the Black Rainbow gives birth to the events leading up to the fictional story of the Kilgannon family, protagonists of “The Armory Wars.”
Opening with “One,” this marks the first time the instrumental theme used in every installment of “The Amory Wars” changes in melody, although utilizing the same notes. Tracks like “The Broken” and “Here We Are Juggernaut” exemplify the guitar-heavy rock anthems that made Coheed & Cambria popular.
The albums following Second Stage Turbine Blade paid homage to rock acts like Rush and Iron Maiden. Year of the Black Rainbow excludes direct story references as well as the use of ’70s influences with tracks like “Guns of Summer,” “This Shattered Symphony,” and “When Skeletons Live,” bringing back the post-hardcore edge in Second Stage Turbine Blade. Maybe the inclusion of former The Dillinger Escape Plan drummer Chris Pennie brought such inspiration.
In the same vein as past Coheed & Cambria ballads like “Wake Up,” “Far” showcases the new production with Joe Barresi and Nine Inch Nails collaborator Atticus Ross, giving the track an industrial sheen.
Year of the Black Rainbow is an album made of paid dues, not only to the New York hardcore scene, but to the guitar gods. Although still a concept piece, it marks the point where Coheed & Cambria stopped writing music just to tell a story and instead wrote music to tell their story so far.