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Music / Coheed and Cambria

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The Band. note 

I would do anything for you
Kill anyone for you

Coheed and Cambria is a prog-rock band from New York, not a kind of cigar. Their concept albums tell a science fiction story taken directly from lead singer/guitarist's comic book The Amory Wars.

Each studio album (bar The Color Before The Sun) corresponds to a chapter in the comics and are released in more or less chronological order.

Here's a list, but, be warned, the titles are ridiculous:

  • The Second Stage Turbine Blade (2002, technically the second part of the story)
  • In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 (2003)
  • Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness (2005)
  • Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World For Tomorrow (2007)
  • Year of the Black Rainbow (2010, a prequel)
  • The Afterman: Ascension (2012)
  • The Afterman: Descension (2013)
  • The Color Before The Sun (2015)
  • Vaxis - Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures (2018)
  • Vaxis - Act II: A Window of the Waking Mind (2022)

Like most music projects that involve telling a story, it's halfway between Plot, What Plot? and Mind Screw, though the comics help to tell a coherent narrative (though as you'll see below, it can get hard to follow anyway).

The current line-up consists of:

  • Claudio Sanchez - Vocals, Guitar
  • Travis Stever - Guitar, Backing Vocals
  • Zach Cooper - Bass, Backing Vocals
  • Josh Eppard - Drums, Backing Vocals, Samples

The tropes below cover both the band and comics for convenience's sake.

This band and comic provide examples of the following tropes:

  • Alien Sky: Shown on the second page of the new comics, with several planets clearly visible.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: It has been mentioned Ambellina was cast out by the other Prise, but for reasons unknown at the moment.
    • Year of the Black Rainbow suggests that it's a combination of her own choice and a punishment for acting against Paranoia's instruction.
    • Claudio in the comics as well. In fact, most of the cast are outcasts in one way or another.
  • All There in the Manual: The albums follow the story of the comics pretty loosely, meaning you have to read them to actually understand what's going on. What makes this even more difficult is that the comics haven't caught up to the albums yet, leaving the meaning of No World for Tomorrow, the saga's apparent Grand Finale, completely up in the air.
  • Album Intro Track: All of their story albums have one.
    • "Second Stage Turbine Blade" on The Second Stage Turbine Blade.
    • "The Ring in Return" on In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3.
    • Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness has two. It starts with the orchestral instrumental "Keeping the Blade", which then segues into "Always and Never", a short acoustic song that flows into the actual opening track, "Welcome Home".
    • No World for Tomorrow has "The Reaping".
    • Year of the Black Rainbow has "One".
    • The Afterman: Ascension has "The Hollow".
    • The Unheavenly Creatures has "Prologue".
  • Arc Words: Some variant of "What did I do to deserve this?" appears at least once in every album since In Keeping Secrets. The comics retcons this into Second Stage Turbine Blade as well.
    • The lyrics to four different songs in Good Apollo Vol. 1 mention "one kiss/one last kiss."
    • The phrase “I’d do anything for you” and its variants appear through most of the albums, sometimes used romantically (like in Good Apollo) and sometimes used in the context of familial love (The Crowing, Domino the Destitute)
  • Arc Number: Three.
    • There's a song called 33,
    • Another song by The Prize Fighter Inferno—Claudio S's side project—is called 78, a multiple of three,
    • 78 is also the number of planets in the Keywork, which has a symbol that contains two groups of three circles and a triangle.
    • The Organization KBI had three members, not to mention three letters.
    • 21:13 is a bonus track on In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth 3. According to Word of God, 21:13 is the time Claudio was supposed to be home by. It's essentially "Everything Evil" from Claudio's point of view.
    • There are many more than this...
      • But just to mention one of them: the planet where it all started is called 'Silent Earth: 3' (which, chronologically, is the band's third musical installment in the Amory Wars saga).
  • Arrow Cam: In the music video for "Blood Red Summer", when Claudio is using a compound bow to defend a barricaded house against his zombified bandmates, the arrow he shoots at Josh is followed by the camera until it hits him in the chest. Unfortunately for Claudio, Josh only spits up some liquid and staggers a bit before yanking the arrow out and continuing his advance.
  • Artificial Human: The IRO-Bots.
  • Art Initiates Life: Considering the Writing Writer has to physically enter the story to kill off characters ahead of time, it can be safely assumed his world long ago took on a life of its own
  • Artistic License – Biology: Yeah, viruses? They don't work like that. At all. To be fair, reality doesn't seem to be quite the same in Heaven's Fence. Especially considering that this is fiction within fiction.
  • Arm Cannon: Coheed's right arm is revealed to actually be a large gun.
  • Audience Participation Song: During live shows, the whole crowd tends to chant the chorus of "In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3".
  • Author Avatar: Claudio Kilgannon, who both looks like and is named after Claudio Sanchez. His siblings are also named after Claudio Sanchez's real-life siblings. In-Universe, Claudio Kilgannon is the Author Avatar for the Writer... who is also an avatar of Claudio Sanchez, to the point of sharing his real-life relationship troubles.
  • Author Appeal:
    • Coheed and Cambria's children (Matthew, Maria, and Claudio) are named after Claudio Sanchez and his siblings. He has stated that naming the characters after real people (particularly Newo Ikkin, named after his then-girlfriend Nikki Owen, and Claudio, named after himself) is his biggest regret with the project.
    • Count the number of attractive blonds; this can't be a coincidence: Claudio K's girlfriend, Newo, is blond; A minor character mentioned in passing in the novel Year of the Black Rainbow is said to have blond hair; the Prise are a race of blond women.
    • It extends to Real Life too: the backup singers for the Neverender concerts were both blonde, and Claudio's wife is blonde to boot.
  • Big Bad: Resident Sorcerous Overlord Wilhelm Ryan.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Coheed again, his left arm features a number of curved blades.
  • Blessed with Suck: Being The Chosen One, known as the Crowing, comes at a price: once it becomes your destiny you are also destined to lose everything you love.
  • Book Ends: "The Willing Well IV: The Final Cut" features samples of the child dialogue from "Always and Never" as it fades out at the end.
  • Capital Letters Are Magic: It distinguishes The Fence from...a fence.
  • Character Title: Coheed and Cambria are two of the main characters. The band used to be called Shabütie for whatever reason before their first drummer left.
  • The Chosen One: Claudio Kilgannon is the Crowing, a prophesied god-like savior. It makes sense in a weird way since even within the story, he is the Author Avatar of the Writer.
  • Colon Cancer: "The Willing Well III: Apollo II: The Telling Truth".
  • Concept Album: Like Blue Öyster Cult, more a concept band (though we'll see what they'll do when The Amory Wars comics are done)
    • Taking steps back with The Afterman albums: While taking place in the same universe as The Amory Wars, it mainly is about Sirus Amory, the man who tries to figure out the power of what later on becomes the Keywork.
    • The Color Before the Sun averts this trope, being a normal studio release.
    • Unheavenly Creatures, a soft-reboot intended to set up a five-album story based around the character of Vaxis, returns to the Amory Wars continuity.
  • Continuity Snarl: Okay, first there were albums. Five of 'em, now. Add in two different comic adaptations (one discontinued after the second issue). In Second Stage Turbine Blade, there are differences between the album and comic story. Now, there's also a graphic novel version of the third album, Good Apollo Volume One, which may or may not follow the original comics. Also, there's a novel version of the prequel album that doesn't fit entirely into the comic continuity, and the author has hinted at the possibility of turning all the albums into books. Which means that there are three continuities:
    • The albums
    • The comics, plus two discontinued series, plus retcons throughout the first two volumes of the current series
    • The novels, which, if they are written, will be in a slightly different timeline.
  • Dark Reprise: "Willing Well III: Apollo II: the Telling Truth", the climactic song of Good Apollo: Vol. 1, is the second, more brutal part of the earlier track "Apollo I: the Writing Writer".
  • Darker and Edgier: Year of the Black Rainbow
  • A Day in the Limelight: 33 for Patrick, and, according to Claudio S., the first three vocalized songs in In Keeping Secrets for Sizer.
  • Death of the Author: In-story. After coming through the Willing Well to kill Ambellina and force Claudio to become The Crowing, The Writer returns home and is shot by police after slitting Erica Court's throat. However, Heaven's Fence still exists and the story goes on without him.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Al the Killer, for the Loveable Rogue. He's basically an Ax-Crazy expy of Han Solo, as while he's an outlaw who offers to take the heroes on board his ship, he's a brutal Serial Killer who eventually turns on the heroes and receives a Karmic Death, rather than being a Jerk with a Heart of Gold as Han was.
  • Downer Ending: both volumes of the comic: Volume one has a minor downer ending, with Coheed and Cambria being ready to die, and everything looking generally not good. However, Volume Two has Coheed and Cambria dead after disrupting the Keywork, the Prise apparently mostly dead after they sacrifice themselves to fix the Keywork, the resistance torn apart, their leader Mariah dead, Well-Intentioned Extremist Inferno (at least, judging by the flash-forwards) somewhat insane, and Claudio Kilgannon, the Keywork's saviour, bitter and apathetic, simply living his life out in a sewer. The villains have lost a single named character, Admiral Crom, whose resurrection (possibly as a giant robot, judging by a couple images in the ''No World For Tomorrow'' lyric book is strongly hinted at.
    • Averted in Year of the Black Rainbow: The main bad guys all survive (though they still get the crap kicked out of them), but the KBI destroy House Atlantic, the Prise decimate the URA fleet, the Black Rainbow disappears, and Inferno gives Coheed and Cambria the opportunity to have a normal life. Of course, considering how the rest of the series plays out, this is little comfort in the long run.
    • Also averted by Unheavenly Creatures: Nostrand and Nia escape the Dark Sentencer.
    • Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV stands out; Jesse is killed in a fight with Mayo Deftinwolf, Wilhelm Ryan escapes with the Red Army, and The Writer murders Ambellina in front of Claudio. And when The Writer returns to the real world through the Willing Well, he's shot by police after slitting Erica Court's throat.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: With the song titles "Apollo I: The Writing Writer" and "The Lying Lies & Dirty Secrets of Miss Erica Court"
    • Everything Evil has an "inspecting inspector." Let's just say that the band really likes its Xing Xs.
  • The Dragon: General Mayo Deftinwolf.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Michael Todd's history of drug issues eventually got him kicked out of the band after he got arrested in Massachusetts while on tour for robbing a Walgreens and absconding with six bottles of oxycodone.
  • Dude Sounds Like a Lady: Claudio can sing so high he makes Jónsi Birgisson sound like Tom Waits in comparison.
  • Elite Mooks: The Onstantine Priests, which can be summed up as the Amory Wars equivalent of the Nazgul.
  • Epic Rocking: Roughly 80% of their material. It's difficult to say what the longest song is, and we're not exaggerating here - it literally depends on how you define "song". "The Willing Well" is 29:44 long, but it's divided into four tracks and includes the hidden track "Bron Yr"; the latter of these only runs for 1:21, which would bump the whole thing down to 28:12 once you cut out the intervening silence. Then there's "Key Entity Extraction", which runs for 29:13, but not only is that divided into five non-consecutive tracks, but the fifth of those is literally on a different disc from the first four. "The End Complete" is also noteworthy at 24:26, divided into five tracks; "The Camper Velourium" is 15:00 and divided into three. The longest song not divided into multiple tracks is probably "21:13", which runs for 9:47, with "The Light & the Glass" not far behind at 9:39. (Various releases of The Second Stage Turbine Blade look like they might have a longer example, but that's due to the hidden track "IRO-Bot", which takes up 6:11 of running time on its own, not counting the silence before it.)
  • Even the Guys Want Him: What can we say? Claudio Sanchez is a very handsome man.
  • Evil Overlord: Wilhelm Ryan.
  • Faceless Mooks: The Unified Red Army.
  • The Fantastic Trope of Wonderous Titles: Many album titles to choose from.
  • Genre Mashup: While they are often associated with prog-rock/prog-metal, they also incorporate elements of alt-rock, pop-punk, post-hardcore, indie rock, emo, space rock, hard rock, and pop-rock among other genres.
  • A God Am I: Coheed, when the Monstar activates.
    • And, apparently—though we must wait until the comics eventually come to the fourth album— Wilhelm Ryan and Claudio Kilgannon.
    • And, even more so, the Writer, who is the god of the Keywork
  • Gorn: The Year of the Black Rainbow novel has quite a few gory deaths.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Cambria has traces of Mage DNA; this is suggested to be the source of her Psychic Powers.
  • The Hero Dies: Coheed and Cambria both die at the end of the first album. No World for Tomorrow may also end with Claudio pulling a Heroic Sacrifice to destroy Wilhelm Ryan, but we can't be certain until the comic for that album comes out.
  • Hero Killer: General Deftinwolf kills Sizer and Inferno.
  • Hollywood Cyborg: Coheed (and possibly other IRO-bots), Crom, and Deftinwolf.
  • I Call It "Vera": Al the Killer's rifle, "The Faint of Hearts"
    • Jossed, when he meets Claudio it's revealed that was the name of the bar.
  • Ironic Echo: "What did I do to deserve this?"
  • Loudness War: Pretty much everything they did clips badly, except some of the acoustic stuff.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Pull the trigger and the nightmare stops!" is but one of many...
    • The whole of Willing Well II: From Fear Through The Eyes of Madness.
    • "Goodnight, Fair Lady" has a catchy, upbeat tune. It's about slipping someone a mickey.
    • "The Devil in Jersey City" is a fairly upbeat song about gang rape.
    • "Number City" is pretty upbeat.....for a song about a car accident.
  • Lyrics/Video Mismatch: Since their songs all (allegedly) follow the same plot as the comics, and most of their videos... well... don't, this is a given.
    • Finally averted with Unheavenly Creatures, the videos for 'Unheavenly Creatures' and 'The Gutter' depicting the events of the album.
  • Long Title: The Second Stage Turbine Blade and In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 aren't too bad. But then there's Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness and Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV Volume Two: No World For Tomorrow.
  • Mad God: The omnipotent Writer doesn't just have conversations with his bicycle; he actually follows its editorial advice.
  • Misogyny Song: "Welcome Home" is basically about the Writer fantasizing about murdering his girlfriend and ranting about how she ruined his life. Not a straight example, as the Writer is shown to be a fairly deranged and selfish character.
  • New Sound Album: Year of the Black Rainbow most definitely, but it could be argued that every album is a significant change. To be specific:
    • The Second Stage Turbine Blade was an odd fusion of progressive metal, emo, post-hardcore, and indie rock. Which of those genres got the most emphasis depended on the song.
    • In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 featured a more straightforward progressive metal sound, with the majority of the emo influences toned down (with the exception of a couple songs, such as "Blood Red Summer").
    • From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness was lighter and less prog-metal oriented, with the obvious exception of "Welcome Home", instead sounding more like alternative rock with progressive leanings towards the end.
    • No World for Tomorrow shifted back towards progressive metal, albeit a bit heavier and with better production. The melodies were also less bright and Claudio's voice got lower, though the latter change arguably came in on the previous album.
    • Year of the Black Rainbow featured a much darker, less melodic style of prog-metal, with industrial rock and space rock influences thrown throughout. This change is part of what makes this album the black sheep of the band's main discography.
    • The Afterman: Ascension went back to the sound of NWFT, and Descension was on the lighter side and features a more alternative sound, but in a distinctly different way from FFTTEOM.
    • The Color Before the Sun takes a complete detour from their previous outings and delves more into the alt-rock and pop-rock genres. It also ditches the concept the band had been running with in favor of singular songs.
    • The Unheavenly Creatures brings back the prog-metal/prog-rock sound and the concept, continuing both sonically and lyrically from where the band left off before TCBTS.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Josephine's body contains the Monstar antidote. Guess who gets killed by Coheed.
  • Offing the Offspring: Coheed and Cambria do this early on by poisoning their two youngest children, beating their injured older daughter to death with a hammer, but never get a chance to kill their other son...because they realize that their children weren't infected with a disease that would kill the Keywork, and General Deftinwolf deceived them into murdering their children for no reason.
  • Our Angels Are Different: The blue-skinned, blond-haired Prise
  • Our Souls Are Different: The souls of the Keywork are trapped as zombies.
  • Power Trio: KBI (The Knowledge, Cambria; the Beast, Coheed; and the Inferno, Jesse)
    • Also connected to Arc Number above, with the number three
    • Supreme Tri-Mage Wilhelm Ryan, General Mayo Deftinwolf, and Admiral Veilar Crom are another trio. Also, others may exist (possibly Claudio Kilgannon, Ambellina, and Inferno on the third album?)
    • Creature, Sister Spider, and Colossus, before the events of Unheavenly Creatures.
  • Progressive Metal: Some of their heavier songs, namely "Welcome Home", "No World For Tomorrow", and "Key Entity Extraction III: Vic the Butcher".
  • Psychic Powers: Coheed's wife Cambria has telepathy, telekinesis, clairvoyance...
    • And Claudio (the character, not the singer) also has some form of Psychic Powers
  • Psycho Serum: For the Beast in the syringa dragonfly stinger.
  • Rage Against the Author: Happens slightly in Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV Volume One: From Fear Through The Eyes of Madness.
    • "My God is a coward!"
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Played straight?...and, uh, averted? Really, it's a bit confusing. First, you have The Beast, also known as Coheed Kilgannon. He's stated to be the Helionaut ("Sun Sailor", whatever that actually means), and is told he is "man's stab at defying god". This stab comes in the form of being able to destroy the Star Transformers creating the big blue glowing net of Heaven's Fence. This seems to be a blasphemy, naturally, since God doesn't want his precious Fence destroyed. Enter son Claudio, who has the powers of the Crowing, which means he is a Messiah. His powers include (apparently) some of his mother's ESP, especially clairvoyance, the unique abilities to become invisible and intangible and bring the dead—briefly—back to life, and (though seemingly for unrelated reasons that his father has) the power to destroy these Star Transformers. Which is in God's plan. Yeah, we have trouble following it too.
  • Retcon: The first album's comic adaption has numerous differences:
    • Claudio K is no longer suicidal.
    • Ambellina appears here, rather than later in the series.
    • Patrick is killed by an Onstantine Priest, rather than by a car crash as the album implies.
    • Between the two volumes of the Second Stage Turbine Blade arc, the switch in artists has resulted in slightly different character designs, as well as Coheed's arm blades switching direction to curve forward, now matching the comic book covers.
  • Revenge Ballad: No World For Tomorrow is filled with these. In particular: "Gravemakers and Gunslingers", "Justice in Murder", and "The End Complete".
    Cause God knows I ain't now stoppin' 'til you breathe none!
  • Revenge via Storytelling: The Writer has no intention of killing Ambellina until his relationship in the real world with Erica Court goes sour, after which he decides to kill the character based on her to make Claudio realize his destiny.
  • Robot War: The video for "The Broken". Also, the video along with some established background information suggests that the war preceding the series was a Robot War. As it turns out, the Great Offscreen War was actually between Wilhelm Ryan and all the other Mages, ending with Ryan triumphing and turning the surviving Mages into Onstantine Priests.
  • Scary Black Man: General Deftinwolf again.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Many to Star Wars:
      • When Claudio is on the garbage ship, the narration mentions that he'll be fine unless the walls start to move.
      • Admiral Crom looks a lot like Boba Fett, Iron Man, and a Cylon.
      • Although the line has been altered somewhat in the rerelease, Cambria says a few things that sound like lines from Star Wars.
    • 21:13 is named in homage to Rush's album 2112.
    • The Prize Fighter Inferno song "Elm Street Loverboy" is about Freddy Krueger.
    • The acoustic demo of "Junesong Provision" starts with a clip from Army of Darkness.
      • The Prize Fighter Inferno song "Holiday Fool" is about Evil Dead 2.
  • Space Opera: The entirety of The Amory Wars storyline. A somewhat strange example as, while it has things associated with the genre like starships, robots, and laser weapons, most of the planets look like 21st century Earth in terms of technology.
  • Spell My Name with an S: The main title of songs 7-9 on In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3 is either "The Velourium Camper" or "The Camper Velourium"—the original CD and many websites list it as "Velourium Camper", but the re-released CD and official website list it as "Camper Velourium."
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Sizer and Chase share similarities with Coheed and Cambria, respectively, though considering who created them, this may have been intentional.
  • Villain Song: Several.
    • Parts of "In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3" are from the perspective of General Mayo.
    • "The Velourium Camper III: Al The Killer" for Al.
    • "Key Entity Extraction III: Vic the Butcher" for Vic.
    • “Ten Speed (of God’s Blood and Burial)” is about the titular demonic bicycle.
    • “Bad Man” off Vaxis II is about Candelaria, leader of the Liar’s Club and main antagonist of the album.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Claudio (the singer) honestly sounds like a girl in some of his songs. A Favor House Atlantic is a pretty good example of this.
  • Voice of the Legion: Used in a few songs, most noticeably "The Velourium Camper III: Al The Killer"
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Poor, poor Sizer.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Jesse "Inferno" Kilgannon, all the way:
    "These worlds need a hero...and I burn the prototypes."
  • Wham Line: From the final chapter of Window of the Waking Mind, when Vaxis reaches into the Keywork, and pulls something out…
    Sirius Amory: “All Mother, we’re free.”
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Considering that their songs follow a plot based directly on a series of comics, this isn't surprising. Seriously, divining the story through the lyrics alone is borderline impossible.
    • One example of Word Salad Lyrics: 'You're frightened of leaving this truly gone fishing amalgam' Makes a bit of sense if you think about it, but still messed up.
    • Word Salad Title: Although they make more sense if you're familiar with the concept of the band, they're still pretty word salad-y.

Alternative Title(s): The Amory Wars