Coheed and Cambria’s final piece of their sci-fi epic, entitled Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow, has arrived. The brainchild of Claudio Sanchez, the band’s vocalist and rhythm guitarist, the story spans across a fictional universe that is on the brink of being destroyed, with only one man – Claudio, aka The Crowing, aka The Character – to save it. The fiction is difficult to get into unless you are a fan (like myself), but it is an incredibly rewarding and deep part of the music, and I highly recommend you check it out (especially the new comics that are in the process of being released). But that isn’t what this review is about. No, I won’t shove fictional stories of love and woe, creation and destruction, and right and wrong on you right now (and I will try not to write so melodramatically from here on out, either). No World for Tomorrow, as an album, can be enjoyed all by itself, and it is also easily the band’s best, most polished release to date. Track-by-track, the album goes as such:
The Reaping – A haunting and beautiful acoustic song with chilling lyrics by Claudio. It’s short and sweet but a perfect opening for this album, both in terms of music and in terms of story. Not only that, but it melds perfectly into…
No World for Tomorrow – …the albums title track. This is the new anthem, in my own opinion. The chorus of just makes me want to stand up and shout. The track is just wonderful and perhaps one of the best songs they’ve ever written, in my opinion. I can’t say anything negative about this song.
The Hound (of Blood and Rank) – This is one of the three tracks I had already heard off the album, and it sounds just as good here. Great rhythm, and a nice solo round out this track that is as Coheed as Coheed gets.
Feathers – This song is the biggest surprise for me. It is incredibly catchy and much more…poppy, though I don’t really think that’s the right word. I’m having a hard time getting the chorus out of my head, even as I write this, and I’m sure it will throw many ‘Heed fans for a loop upon first hearing it. Just give it another shot if you don’t like it at first.
The Running Free – The first single, and track number two of those I’d already heard. Again, its another great Coheed track, featuring everything you would expect from the band. Nothing terribly original for them, but it works for me. Plus, it reminds me of jumping around at Warped Tour over this past summer, hearing my first new Coheed track in years.
Mother Superior – Acoustic leaks be darned. The full version of this song is stunning. Great riffs, sweeping strings and dense vocals make this song a true winner. I expect this song to jump to the top of many Coheed fan’s most played lists.
Gravemakers & Gunslingers – The third and final track I had heard before I got the full album. This track is the most-straightforward, and most metal track on the album. It’s fast, furious, and full of great work from the entire band, especially Travis (I think) on the solo.
Justice in Murder – This song was written by Claudio for his recently passed aunt (who died from Alzheimer’s, a disease the band will be having a benefit concert for) and it is one of my favorite songs on the album. Excellent lyrics take the focal point on this one, and the chorus is one that just must be sung along with. An infectious and meaningful track that rounds out the first portion of the record pefectly.
The End Complete:
I: The Fall of House Atlantic – An instrumental track with a great title, this is the first part of the five part series, and it does its purpose well. Nothing spectacular, but fitting.
II: Radio Bye Bye – Despite the poppy name, this song is a very enjoyable little rock song. Another great vocal performance by Claudio, and the end bridge is catchy, and yet another portion that you must sing with. It is also very straightforward, one of the final songs before the true progressive elements of the band come out, starting with…
III: The End Complete – …the title track for the series. This song is as progressive as Coheed gets, with shifting musical styles throughout. What begins as classic Coheed turns to a fast, metal-tinged anthem, straight into a flowing end. Think of this one as this album’s Willing Well II.
IV: The Road and the Damned – The second to last song on the album is the climax of the Amory Wars saga. All around him, Claudio (The Character) is reflecting on his life as the Keywork is crashing down around him. A wonderful song, and very uncharacteristic of Coheed and Cambria. This song pushes what the band is capable of to a whole new level.
V: On the Brink – The end has (unfortunately) come. The Crowing has done what he was made to do, and is now on his way to death. The blues and jazz overtones in this song are brilliant, and the song is very much like a Pink Floyd record. Claudio gives one last spectacular vocal performance in one of the most emotional songs on the album. Also, the end solo is absolutely pefect. Not only is the playing paramount, but it is set to the backdrop of The Final Cut. After all is said and done, the album ends with a crash of a symbol and silence.
In my years as a music fan, I truly cannot say I have ever heard an album that is so perfectly put together, so perfectly polished, or so perfectly, well, perfect. Every song has the potential to be a fan favorite, and each contain everything we’ve come to expect from Coheed and Cambria: marvelous guitar work, fitting drums, and powerful vocal performances from the man with the hair. As a Coheed fan, this album moves me in ways that I have never been moved by music before. To see both the characters and the band come to the end of the saga is incredibly bittersweet, but I am glad to have been part of the ride. I wholeheartedly advise any fan of music, of any kind, to go out and buy this record, turn it on loud, and allow yourself to be taken onto Star IV one last time.
***** / Five Stars