Coheed and Cambria - Second Stage Turbine Blade
Record Label: Equal Vision Records
Release Date: February 5, 2002
Rock quartet Coheed and Cambria has always been a band which inspires high admiration or downright disgust. That's been the case with all of their albums, however, one can only imagine how people felt when they heard the band's debut record Second Stage Turbine Blade. What with high pitched vocals, songs that actually were longer than three minutes and oddball lyrics (Cannibalistic unfit family ties!). Nowadays, many fans of the scene who stumbled across this band in their early days will be quick to name this record or their sophomore effort In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 as their pinnacle. But I'm sure you've heard that already.
Second Stage Turbine Blade is a medley of post-hardcore, pop rock, alternative rock and metal. Yet, Coheed and Cambria was able to stand out above their fellow power chord hitters with the aforementioned eclectic qualities. They developed a story line, initially called The Bag On Line Adventures, toured their asses off and now are Gold selling artists in a time where only a little over 100,000 album sales will earn you a #1 spot on the Billboard 200. Considering their love/hate status, this is rather impressive.
Today, the band's five albums span the storyline known as The Amory Wars. Their are comic books and a novel which detail the album's concepts. But alas, we are not here to discuss those.
The record begins with "Second Stage Turbine Blade", a piano theme which is re-visited on the band's next four records. The intro quickly fades into "Time Consumer", a track with a groovy drum line and a memorable chorus. The listener is immediately hit with lead singer Claudio Sanchez's unusual pipes and attentive lyrics. The song, like the ones that follow, has many parts and this makes for a highly interesting listening that holds attention well. Next up, "Devil in Jersey City" follows with it's pop influenced ways and hooky lines. The song is truly one of the finer moments on the album, but that can be applied to the next tune as well.
"Everything Evil" is a ticking time bomb that soars when it goes off. "Oh, I felt much better than this before and if they find out to avoid, then the accidents kept hidden away, but if they stay..." Claudio sings over Travis Stever's lead guitar textures and hard hitting drum kit. The emotional quality is not lost but be damned sure this band isn't emo. That wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing but Coheed has better things going for them and they're only four songs in.
"Delirium Trigger" is perhaps the last real highlight of the album but it's a good one. Another track constructed while the band was still known as Shabutie, it features a creepy opening riff and spine tingling vocal deliverance by Sanchez. Claudio whispers, "You made a good friend to me but while you were outnumbered and torn, you made us do things to you..." while Stever delivers brooding fretwork.
Next up, are "Hearshot Kid Disaster" and "33" which are somewhat less memorable than their preceding tracks. "Disaster" has a distinctive scream which kicks the tune off and "33" has the distinction of being the only song under four minutes. While they are pieced together well enough, they are somehow less charming than the first half of the record.
"Junesong Provision" is filled with heartfelt lyrics and a series of traditional power chord riffing. Perhaps, if it wasn't for Claudio's lyrical and vocal work, this track wouldn't stand out more than their contemporaries at the time. One listen to "paper cut my heart in half and discard the evidence. It's yours to send me the other half, doused in kerosene, in a torched, blazed blood bath" is enough to seal the deal for me.
The album ends with "Neverender" and "God Send Conspirator" which are ballad-esque in their nature but still as post-hardcore influenced as the rest of the album. While they may be nothing to write home about, they create a fitting end. The hidden track "IRO-Bot" peeks in at the end of "God Send" with an odd indie electronica influence. But is anything really odd when it comes to Coheed and Cambria?
Overall, the record easily stands out amongst the scene bands of the early 2000s. Sanchez and company kicked off the longest running conceptual work in the music world with flair and style. While it may not be a very cohesive work like their follow-up In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3, it is still highly memorable and is one of the best rock releases of the decade.
2002? damn? it's been that long since i got into Coheed? that's so crazy to think about.
i love this album, but i might actually prefer the Neverender version. the songs may have lost their rawness, but Chris Pennie on drums is worth the loss. and Claudio sounded way better after a few years of practice :)
there was a 2 week span back when i was in college where this was the only thing that came out of my stereo. i do feel that the neverender live album of this record was just as good as the original. long live THE SECOND STAGE TURBINE BLADE!!!!