Music News

Coheed and Cambria: Year of the Black Rainbow

Artist: Coheed and Cambria

Title: Year of the Black Rainbow
Release date: April 13
Label: Columbia

Yesterday, I wrote about the over-the-top self-titled record by Queen acolytes Foxy Shazam. I gave it a D. But I may have to go back and adjust the grade to something better because, in the end, despite its Green-Day-on-Broadway tendencies, it wasn't hard to listen to. In fact, it was essentially big dumb fun.

Especially when you compare it to the dreary prog-metal of Coheed and Cambria. Not since listening to Joanna Newsom could I wait for an album to run its course. This one, Year of the Black Rainbow, clocks in at nearly an hour (still half the length of Newsom's Have One On Me) but it sure felt like an eternity.

I was already bored off my ass midway through track 3, "Guns of Summer." I even listened to  it at a high volume in an attempt to achieve the full effect of what I'm sure C&C's fans think is Exciting Music.

Speaking of said fans, I'm sure they'll jump all over me for not "getting" metal or prog or whatever genre under which you prefer to label Coheed and Cambria. Perhaps I don't, but I can point to several other records from the past few months alone that out-metal and out-prog Year of the Black Rainbow.  

Now, I'm sure C&C are really good guys and they seem way-earnest about they do, and they seemingly try to take an intellectual approach to their art. Fine. That doesn't change the fact that this record is boring -- and in rock 'n' roll, being boring is a greater sin than being bad. I'd suggest listening to The Dillinger Escape Plan's new one over this record. And though MGMT's new record is by no means metal, it out-progs C&C and brings a lot more energy than this supposedly high-energy rock band.

I know this band has been around a while and has a lot of fans. I'm guessing that they've made vital music in the past. They sound uninspired on this monotonous record. 

Sorry, Coheed and Cambria lovers, the shlock-merchants of Foxy Shazam are totally kicking your favorite band's ass right now.

Best song: The straightforward quasi-ballad "Far," despite its by-the-numbers dark lyrics ("I might be sick, broken, torn to pieces / Whatever this is, this thing that now I've become / You hate it so much").
Rotation: Low
Deja vu: The song titles read like a listing of bands playing at Club Red this weekend: "In the Flame of Error," "Here We Are Juggernaut," "When Skeletons Live," "This Shattered Symphony." Stop, already!
I'd rather listen to: Dillinger Escape Plan
Grade: D- (still better than Midlake)

"Nothing Not New" is a yearlong project in which New Times editorial operations manager Jay Bennett, a 40-year-old music fan and musician, will listen only to music released in 2010. Each Monday through Friday, he will listen to one new record (no best ofs, reissues, or concert recordings) and write about it. Why? Because in the words of his editor, Martin Cizmar, he suffers from "aesthetic atrophy," a wasting away of one's ability to embrace new and different music as one ages. Read more about this all-too-common ailment here.

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