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In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3 - Coheed and Cambria

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Genre: Indie Rock & Punk - Hardcore / Artist: Coheed and Cambria / Audio CD released 2004-09-13 at Sony

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      20.02.2009 13:12
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      One of the jewels in the crown of the 'new prog' genre

      *Some sequels are better than others!*

      I should preface this review by mentioning that this album is part of a musical/story arc of four titles and if you have both the time and the funds, you should listen to all four for a truly epic experience. My review for the first part is titled 'A heady cocktail of heavy metal, space opera and madness'.

      I politely urge you to read it for a better introduction to the band and what they do. This isn't just for the 1.5p I'll get if you rate me, but because as a group they're a very original creative force and I'm not copying my description of their style three times. I have more than enough to say without resorting to that!

      *Personnel*

      The musicians on this release are fairly static when compared to the first studio album, although there are decidedly more effects, electronic sections and clever post-production tricks on IKS than had been seen before.

      Claudio Sanchez - Vocals, guitar
      Travis Stever - Guitar, Vocals
      Michael Todd - Bass, Vocals
      Joshua Eppard - Drums, Vocals
      Danny Louis - Additional keyboards (The only new addition of note for this second studio album).

      *A measure of success*

      This album managed to make #52 in the billboard top 200 on its release and 'A Favour House Atlantic' helped to garner media interest and new converts in/to the group.

      *Style guide*

      The formula from 'The Second Stage Turbine Blade' hasn't changed massively and densely packed, anthemic choruses, dark imagery and wonderfully played guitar contributions are the order of the day. It remains exceedingly eclectic, but the addition of a few more populist tracks such as 'A Favour House Atlantic' and 'Blood Red Summer' means that this album was somewhat successful at moving Coheed and Cambria from the bedrooms of the initiated to music television, bigger venues and (heavens above!) some radio airplay.

      'In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3' (IKS from now on in) draws on tracks from their earlier studio album and tracks such as 'The Ring in Return' and 'IRO-Bot' are reprieved, albeit with different versions. In my eyes, this adds to the courageous scope of the storyline and reinforces my comparison to an opera made in my earlier review. If Wagner was several hundred years old and wrote heavy metal, I'm sure he would approve.

      As with all their releases, this isn't an easy listening and the patient rock/heavy metal fan will be rewarded for repeated listens. It took a while to grow on me but is now up there among my favourite records.

      *Themes and screams - a {brief} guide to prevent Coheed and Cambria confusion*

      Claudio Sanchez is not one for tidy resolutions and IKS displays this well. Despite being the second studio album from Coheed and Cambria, it is intended as the third narrative instalment in the tale of the Amory Wars (see www.theamorywars.com). Yes, I'm confused too!

      Leading on the from the fairly implausible events of the first album in which the protagonist Coheed is tricked into killing his children to prevent galactic Armageddon, IKS sees the appearance of his one remaining child, Claudio. Claudio seeks revenge on those responsible for the death of his siblings and gangs up with some unlikely associates to wreak revenge on the wonderfully named 'Wilhelm Ryan' and his right hand man 'Mayo Detinwolf'. Ryan and Detinwolf, on the other hand, realise that Claudio is destined for greatness and do all they can to prevent his ascendency. In case this was all a bit too easy to follow, IKS also weaves in the beginnings of a new twist to the story, in which Claudio gradually begins to realise an inkling of his awesome potential in 'The Crowing'.

      While themes of murder, revenge and godhood are pretty common fare for science fiction, they make crafting an album difficult. I can't help but feel that there's a certain tension played out on this album between balancing the needs of narrative and the talents of the musicians involved. Although the album weighs in at a meaty 23 tracks, roughly ten of these are blank space (a private joke before the wonderful ~10 minute closing track?)

      *Top Tunes*

      As with my first review, you're better off buying the whole album, as some tracks don't work so well in isolation. If you do decide to cherry pick, the following are my tips for an afternoon spent head banging:

      'In keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3' - A huge track, which moves the story along neatly and allows Claudio to make use of most of his vocal range and gives a chance for plenty of intricate guitar moments.
      'The Crowing' - Beautiful layered vocals and a real sense of urgency.
      'Camper Velourium III: Al the Killer' - Menacing vocals modulating into snarls and screams, as the group tell us the tale of the Camper Velourium (a spaceship).
      'A Favour House Atlantic' - A moment of clarity and rock common sense that offers some singalong fun on a record with few lighter moments.

      Remember that www.amazon.co.uk will typically offer the cheapest downloads (better than iTunes and the like).

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    • Product Details

      Disc #1 Tracklisting
      1 The Ring In Return
      2 In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3
      3 Cuts Marked In The March Of Men
      4 Three Evils (Embodied In Love And Shadow)
      5 The Crowing
      6 Blood Red Summer
      7 The Camper Velourium I: Faint Of Hearts
      8 The Camper Velourium II: Backend Of Forever
      9 The Camper Velourium III: Al The Killer
      10 A Favor House Atlantic
      11 The Light & The Glass