One wonders what Coheed and Cambria is going to do once it releases its next album. After all, with that fifth full-length, the Long Island prog nerds will have effectively finished telling the epic tale of the Amory Wars, a sci-fi quest dreamed up by Coheed singer Claudio Sanchez on which his band’s lyrics are based. (The story is all very Homer’s Odyssey mixed with Star Wars and much too complicated to even summarize here.)
It’s a good thing, then, that No World for Tomorrow—the second half of the fourth part of Wars; again, don’t ask—attempts to expand upon the band’s throwback sonics, by incorporating sweeping orchestral touches and even R&B influences (the soulful slow jam “On the Brink”). Unfortunately, on this album, Coheed’s grand statements are too self-indulgent and muddled, its 8-bit-Nintendo metal-shredding cheesy instead of artful. “The Hound (Of Blood and Rank)” sounds just like Bon Jovi at their most hair metal, and “Feathers” is totally Van Halen circa “Jump.” More important, save for the Rush-like single “The Running Free” and the gorgeous, string-laced “Mother Superior,” Tomorrow just drags and meanders, with little really interesting musically to say.
This hasn’t always been the case: On previous albums, Coheed’s intricate riffs and rhythmic complexity—not to mention Sanchez’s helium-high vocals—succeeded even if listeners were unaware of the fantastical storyline. But with Tomorrow, one suspects that the lyrics are supposed to take center stage, which explains the lack of commercial accessibility but certainly makes for a challenging listen. While it’s admirable that Coheed and their Warped pals (My Chemical Romance, especially) are trying to remain creatively fresh, in this case, the band’s ambition exceeds its execution.
Coheed and Cambria
Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Vol. 2: No World for Tomorrow