Release DetailsLABEL Equal Vision
RELEASED ON 3/12/2002
Coheed And Cambria
The Second Stage Turbine Blade
posted on 12/2005 By:
It often pays to be late to the party and the music world is no exception. Many times later fans of a band are rewarded with remastered albums or bonus tracks while the early fans, having shelled out the same money for the original album, are left to holding the bag. That’s the case here with the reissue of Coheed and Cambria’s debut album complete with three bonus tracks but I’m not bitter or anything as I hold my inferior 10 song version (yeah right!). If you’ve heard this release before you can just skip to the last paragraph.
For the small minority of you (or majority considering this is a metal site!) that have never heard Coheed and Cambria, you might be amazed to learn this band blew up on MTV on the album after this one. Personally I find this pretty surprising as they have one of the most polarizing lead singers in recent memory. If you took the effeminate, high register vocals of Geddy Lee from Rush and combined them with the high pitched vocal dynamics of Jeremy Enigk of Sunny Day Real Estate, you’re starting to get the picture. So this is definitely a love ‘em or hate ‘em type of vocals but they fit the songs well and judging from their subsequent success, apparently more people like it than not.
So once you get past the vocals there’s actually a lot to like about this watershed release as it still stands in stark contrast to many of their peers even three years later. Coheed and Cambria really pioneered the genre of emo epics and long multi-part songs laced with many different cross genre elements with prog and metal being two big ones. As such, most of the songs here are fashioned much like classical music with several different movements comprising a song. This sounds ambitious and it is. In the hands of a lesser band this would simply fall apart but these guys had all done time in various hardcore bands before starting this one so the musicianship is top notch.
As for their sound, they typically start off with a slow, off tempo prog rock opening before settling into the more standard mid paced muted metal down stroking that makes up much of the songs. But even this can be unconventional in the hands of this band as they mix in plenty of catchy rock riffs and stuttering starts and stops to keep you on your toes. Towards the end of the songs you can feel the tension mount as they build, both musically and vocally, into stunning cathartic crescendos that literally leave you spellbound. This is where the vocals and the denser, metal sound of the guitars really pay off as any other approach would not even come close to matching the intensity of the powerful passages found throughout this release. That’s the core of their approach but there are little flourishes here and there, mainly piano and keyboards, that give it a bit more layered sound than the typical emo band but it’s really the innovative songwriting and vocals that propel this album into the top ranks.
Last but not least, there are three bonus tracks on this disc. The first is the oddly straight forward song entitled “Elf Tower New Mexico.” It’s a good song just not quite as dynamic or varied as many of the songs on the rest of the album. Another is an acoustic version of regular album song “Junesong Provision”. It’s actually very different as they used a completely different double-layered reverb heavy vocal approach on this one. Lastly, there’s a demo version of “Everything Evil” which doesn’t top the regular album version. If you already have this record, you really have to be a rabid fan to pay money for these extra songs as none of them top the songs on the first issue. If you don’t, smile at having missed the boat the first time and then scrape up some cash to buy one of the true emo classics.
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