Coheed and Cambria

Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Vol. 2: No World for Tomorrow

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With guitar bombast and shrill vocals, No World for Tomorrow concludes Coheed and Cambria's long-running prog-opera about family, homicide, and the apocalypse. There's enough genuine melody here to attract newcomers, but tuning in to Coheed's sci-narrative during its final installment (Tomorrow is the finale of a multi-chaptered story) is similar to watching Return of the Jedi without seeing any of the preceding Star Wars flicks -- there's still fun to be had, but one can't help but feel a tad uninformed. Accordingly, the album is simple ear candy for those who haven't studied the band's previous releases, and sweet resolution for those who can spot the references to older songs (specifically "Blood Red Summer") and former riffs ("The Crowing"). Claudio Sanchez continues to steer his bandmates through progressive rock territory, using Queensr├┐che's Operation: Mindcrime and Rush's conceptual catalog to help light the way. Like the singer's shockingly huge mound of hair, Sanchez's vocals are campy, ludicrous, but nevertheless appealing, with high notes and vibrato-heavy lines drawing the usual comparisons to Geddy Lee. Still, the whole package may be difficult to stomach for some listeners. This is full-blown rock influenced by Tolkien novels, Marvel comics, and the Sci-Fi Channel; those who don't prefer their music with a side of Dungeons and Dragons should turn away at the first burst of synthesized thunder. But listeners who venture onward will find a number of enjoyable would-be singles: "Feathers," "Running Free," and "The End Complete IV: The Road and the Damned" (quite possibly the most high-brow power ballad this side of "Silent Lucidity").

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