REVIEW: Coheed and Cambria - “Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3”

By Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Chain Border

Sci-Fi fans, listen up: mainstream music is now in your corner.

In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3, the second installment in a planned quadrilogy by the modern-emo group Coheed and Cambria (made up of lead singer/guitarist Claudio Sanchez, guitarist Travis Stever, bassist Michael Todd and drummer Joshua Eppard) is a lush mix of bittersweet harmony, wailing guitar riffs and progressive-rock energy set to a Biblical science fiction concept. The plot of the quadrilogy centers around two Adam-and-Eve-like characters named Coheed and Cambria who must save the universe by sacrificing their own children. The story, which began in their first album The Second Stage Turbine Blade, is a complex saga of death, disease and intergalactic dominance told moment by moment in each song.

Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3 strikes all of the right chords of originality with their second song on the album, entitled the same way as the album is itself. Slow, melodic guitar strumming breaks quickly into a high-energy explosion of epic proportions (think of YOUR favorite sci-fi movie, remember the music, then add a touch of modernistic hardcore rock – that’s Coheed and Cambria). As if the intense music was not enough, Claudio Sanchez adds beautifully sung, yet bitterly projected, lyrics: “Man your own jackhammers/Man your battle stations/we’ll have you dead pretty soon.” At over eight minutes long the song itself is an epic, giving the individualistic feel of what Coheed and Cambria’s mission is going to be. And with the words “dead” or “kill” popping up in every verse it’s made painfully clear exactly how their mission might end.

Three Evils (Embodied In Love And Shadow) is the most telltale song of the album, graphically depicting battles gone wrong and the knowledge of inevitable death set to steady drumming and high-intensity, quickly sung lyrics. In fact, the lyrics are SO intense that, written under the song in the CD insert is the following disclaimer: “These lyrics are part of a story and should not be taken literally.” However, the best part of this track comes ten seconds after the actual song ends. After seconds of sitting in silence, there is the sound of rain, and then a steady dripping sound as though water were hitting lead pipes in a dark, echoing tunnel...and then the footsteps, which get closer and louder...and then the horrendous, frightening screams, shrill and terrifying in their authenticity. Imagine Sigourney Weaver being followed down a dark, secluded pathway in the movie Aliens, add in the psychotic screaming once she is caught and you get the picture.

The final song in this second installment of the Coheed And Cambria story, entitled The Light & The Glass, is hauntingly melodic and desperately melancholic. For those seeking a song that can be torn away from the actual storyline and sung as a traditional emo break-up-and-break-my-heart anthem, this is it. “I told you so, I measured distance in lines departing the rest of my life/But you had better things to do...liar.” The pain is obvious, storyline or no, and our heroes end in disarray, asking for guidance as they make their way through the turbulent galaxy.

There is a hidden track, followed by about a minute and a half of silence, aptly titled A Lot Of Nothing I - XI. This hidden track is known as 2113, but fans of the group Rush don’t fear: this is NOT a stab at the progressive-rockers. Instead, it is an inside joke of Coheed And Cambria, who consistently get compared to them.

And if you like to have your sci-fi with a bit more than turbulent singing, haunting harmonies and desperate lyrics, you can always wait for the graphic novel that lead singer Sanchez is writing (with assistance from comic artist Wes Abbott), due out by the time the fourth album is released. So watch out, Adam and Eve. With Coheed and Cambria fighting the good fight, it looks like you have some serious competition...

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Contact Information:
Post: Equal Vision Records, Inc., PO Box 14, Hudson, NY, 12534

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