The album came out in 2015 and it’s the only non-conceptual album the band has released and easily there most accessible. Then again, with each release their old emo hard-core and metal roots got less and less as some prog rock influences came in and then classic rock.
I got the limited edition, deluxe box set which includes two CDs, the album and a disc of demo tracks, plus two hardcover books, one featuring album lyrics and artwork and another featuring a “behind-the-scenes look” of the album’s creative process, plus an in-studio DVD, and a clear 7-inch record of unreleased demo tracks.
I also got a custom house key, a lapel pin, a certificate of authenticity; as well as exclusive, members-only access to new music, videos, concert tickets, merchandise and commentary from the band to a special website that requires a log in and all that.
The acoustic single note riff to kick off “Island” is addictive. It reminds me of Rush and “The Spirit Of Radio”(not because the riffs sound the same, but because of its feel) and then a riff which reminds me of “Jessie’s Girl” kicks in with the same single note riff in distorted played over it. It’s upbeat and poppy, but lyrically the song deals with doubt and about “getting off the island”, in which this case the island is a metaphor for the comfort zone of our lives or the war we have within our head about starting something new or staying with the old.
I live inside this head, and I’m at war
Hero and villain, Same type, keeping score
It has a groovy bass played in the verses and drums which dominate.
Oh Middle age, bring me a crisis
What am I worth, does the truth hurt?
Yes what are we worth and what are our lives worth. There’s nothing like age to get you reassessing and re-evaluating. In this case, Claudio wants the clocks to be turned back to the way things were.
I’ve been nostalgic recently, maybe because I am watching “Sopranos”, but when I think to turning the clocks back to the past, it might sound exciting, but I don’t want to live in a world with a few channels, no internet or slow dial up internet and listening to music based on purchases instead of leasing.
I lost myself along the way
Restless nights mixed with purposeless days
Counting forward, taking steps
To a better man, the one you can live with
The song deals with changes like selling a house, moving to a new house and spending time away from family. And until you get settled again, it takes weeks maybe months before you make sense of it all.
“Here To Mars”
It’s in the stars
And you’re my everything from here to Mars
A very upbeat love song from Claudio to his wife Chondra, like “Blood Red Summer” upbeat.
Make sure you check out the interlude section from 2.18 to 3.02 as it builds up into the Chorus again as Claudio sings, “I will never let you go”.
The acoustic guitar riff keeps repeating like a metronomic grandfather clock. The song is simple, as Claudio’s vocal harmonies carry the song.
That you’re the weight of his anchor,
The love that is guiding him home,
Written for Claudio and Chondra’s son, Atlas.
The song is an apology to The Big Beige, Claudio’s old house in New York. And for those fans who always wondered why the demo releases are called the “Big Beige” versions, well it’s because he did them at home.
I like the repeating guitar lick.
“We leave for the coast/In the wrong hands/You where bruised, disposed”
I like the ending, as at it transitions into “You Got Spirit, Kid”.
“You Got Spirit, Kid”
It’s the first single released for “The Color Before The Sun”.
The plastic king of castle polyethylene
Go on, time to be a good little pig
‘Cause when the rug gets pulled out from underneath
Just embrace the fall
Oh you got spirit, kid
You’re number one
Go on living that farce
Cause nobody gives a f… who you are
Manufactured pop stars don’t have a long shelf life which is a shame, because there is talent there, but it’s never given a chance to be its own beast as others control it. And when it all goes bad, the people who control just move on to the next wannabe. In other words, you will come to a point in life when you realise that the problems you see as big aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things.
There is a nice little Pink Floyd jam at the end which makes an amazing segue into “The Audience”.
This song became a favourite instantly with its Tool like groove. Just listen to the music in the verses. The guitars play an intricate riff, the bass syncs up with the bass drum while the drums free style and still keep a beat.
This is my audience
Forever one together
Cut from the same disease
Ever longing, what and who we are
The fans of Coheed and Cambria have expectations as to how the band should sound, the industries who make money from Coheed and Cambria have expectations as to how the band should sound and the band members themselves as they grow older have evolving wants as to how they should sound. Sometimes they don’t align and sometimes they do.
“Peace To The Mountain”
It’s a simple acoustic, drum and vocal song.
I learned to keep quiet,
How to keep my distance.
Afraid to let strangers in,
How to keep my secrets.
I see this as Claudio hiding behind the characters and the Sci-Fi world he created because he was scared to express his own feelings in his songs. But he’s now older and wiser and at peace with who he is.
So if you were scared to check out Coheed and Cambria before, because of the Armory Wars saga, check out this album.