The Amory Wars: An Epic Tale by Coheed and Cambria

I first stumbled into this story just after In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: III was released.

What a bunch of craziness. New prog-rock with an overarching story of sci-fi awesomeness, with a singer who looks like an angry mexican factory worker got attacked by a mophead and lost and sounds like Geddy Lee taught him all he knows.

Following the story was nearly impossible at that point. Some points in the lyrics definitely told you what was going on, but getting the overarching story was fucking impossible. Entire websites (which I pored over) were dedicated to dissecting the lyrics bit by bit and attempting to make a coherent whole of the thing.

Even better, comments and speculation show that the band may have changed the story based on ideas that the fans came up with as to what happened. If they liked the fans idea better than what they had in mind when they wrote it, they went with the fan idea instead.

Fucking brilliant. Crowdsourcing the plot of the story.

I went and purchased The Second Stage Turbine Blade shortly thereafter, and listened to all of it. A lot. I can sing all the songs along with both albums. Hell, I can pretty much do so with all their albums, now.

As the later albums appeared, I became even more impressed with their musicanship. Not only were they telling the story of Claudio, a young genetically made nanobot enhanced person (called an Irobot) and his fight against the corrupt government that killed his parents (as far as we could tell, anyway), but they were doing it with some damned finely crafted songs.

Then, the comic books came. The first set of comics started with Second Stage Turbine Blade, and showed even more of the story.

Strangely, later comics jumped ahead to Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV: Volume I From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness. As a trade paperback. And how the fuck did they ever talk any record executive into allowing that to be the album title? Heavy psychedelics had to have been involved.

Then, the Second Stage comics died. We’re not entirely sure why.

Then, they restarted the comics as The Amory Wars. Starting with Second Stage Turbine Blade. Again.

The last album, Good Apollo I’m Burning Start IV: Volume II No World for Tomorrow, came out.

Then, the first album, Year of the Black Rainbow, was released.

It came with a big hardcover book that tells the tale of Coheed and Cambria, and their creator, and the start of the whole story.

It’s really rather good. Peter A David, one of the Babylon 5 writers, wrote it with the lead singer.

So, if you want a big-ass convoluted sci-fi tale of battles, love, and creepy enhanced people, this is the deal for you.

I just hope to hell that the rest of the story gets told in book form as well, or we’ll never make any damned sense of it all. However, it’ll still be fun to listen to.


~ by Benjamin Kenneally on May 9, 2010.

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