Coheed and Cambria

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Prog rock masters Coheed and Cambria finalize their saga with a prequel

:: Coheed and Cambria ::
:: w/ Circa Survive  Torche ::
::  Ogden Theatre :: May 11::

By Joe Kovack

When it comes to storytelling with intensely intricate rock and roll, Coheed and Cambria have perfected the genre. They may even have helped to reinvent it.

Rock bands are no strangers to concept albums focusing on a central story or theme, but the boys of Coheed and Cambria took it a step further by creating a five-album saga penned The Amory Wars. The brainchild of lead singer Claudio Sanchez, the saga follows the story of lovers Coheed and Cambria Kilgannon, and their quest to save their children and the world in the fictional universe called Heaven’s Fence. While the sci-fi plot adds that extra appeal to the hardcore fan, many fans old and new dig them without even realizing the profundity of the story behind the music, as bass player Michael Robert Todd told The Marquee in a recent interview.

“Being that it’s an ongoing saga, it can work with us or against us. The people that are really into the band really like it, but for someone who may have never heard us before it can be a little daunting. It has enabled us to add that extra tier of media for our fans if they choose. But we’re a rock band first, the story and the saga is there if you want it, but we’re not trying to cram it down anybody’s throat. It’s amazing we’re still gaining fans after ten years and five albums, I think it’s the live show that’s really translated all these years and every time we play it seems that a couple more people come out the next time,” Todd said.

Coheed and Cambria’s sound is as epic as the story it helps present, with Sanchez’s larger-than-life guitar chops and vocals; Travis Stever, whose guitar is parallel to the frontman’s; ex-Dillinger Escape Plan member Chris Pennie providing drumming that pulsates yet doesn’t overpower; and Todd’s melodic bass interweaving throughout. Their songs can lift you up and drive you headstrong into oblivion, and then bring you to a place of tranquility and serenity, which serves quite well for the feel of the new album and the whole story itself.

Coheed and Cambria have proven through the years that they can bring a powerful energy to their sound that becomes infectious — like a pop song that is so catchy it stays in your head. But these guys do it with a more progressive, off tempo approach. They’ve drawn comparisons to Rush and Iron Maiden, respectfully, and rightfully so. They all share the same element of pushing the boundaries of conventional rock, but still have that subtle pop quality that can appeal to the masses.

Year of the Black Rainbow shares the formula of their past records yet exceeds them in intensity and focus. This may be attributed to new producers Atticus Ross (Nine Inch Nails, Jane’s Addiction) and Joe Barresi (Queens of the Stone Age, Tool), who added an outside perspective that helped with the creative block the guys were feeling. “I don’t know if it was writer’s block, it was more like writer’s diarrhea,” laughed Todd. “We were just writing a ton of shit and we realized, ‘What do we do with all this stuff?’ These guys were real hands-on and more of an artistically contributing factor than most producers we had worked with. It was like adding another band member, they took the music and changed perspective and the record has a lot of different vibes than we’ve done before. It’s different but we’re psyched on it,” Todd said.

The tour, which starts April 22, will mark the band’s first headlining effort in over two years. But fans shouldn’t fret, thinking that the band may be a little rusty. In fact, they may be more prepared and excited than ever. Having opened up for Ronnie James Dio and Tony Iomi’s band Heaven and Hell this past summer, and also playing with John Paul Jones and Slipknot, the guys of Coheed and Cambria have shared the stage with some great acts these last two years and are more ready than ever to kick off their own headlining tour again.

“I get why we got to do the opening slots, and we did some great ones. We’ve definitely gained some fans that have maybe dismissed us before but then saw us live and became a fan. But the headlining tour is where we feel most comfortable. It’s like practice,” said Todd. “We play every night for two hours, and we get better. It’s really healthy and therapeutic. This tour is going to be pretty mellow production wise, maybe some smoke and shit, but for the most part it’s just going be an old school rock show. And this is what we love to do, so fans are going see a real happy band out there.”

:: Coheed and Cambria ::

:: w/ Circa Survive  Torche ::

:: Ogden Theatre :: May 11::

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