All of US rock band's Coheed And Cambria's albums tap into an ongoing, conceptual science fiction narrative written by lead singer Claudio Sanchez called called The Amory Wars. With the band set to release their latest album/ saga The Afterman: Ascension (out 8 October) - not to mention the Amory Wars comics which are set to be developed into a live action film by Mark Wahlberg - Sanchez offers a little recap and explanation of why the band embraced concept albums in this special guest column for Q.
Misunderstood. If I could pick a definition for the public's perception of Coheed And Cambria, I think it might be just that. Our name alone is confusing. I can't count how many times I've been asked what our band is called, only to be met with looks of complete bewilderment after giving the answer. Coherent cantina? Go eden can breather? Honestly, I can't blame anyone for being perplexed.
One of the biggest sources of confusion is the concept woven into the music, a story that began with two characters, Coheed and Cambria, the namesakes of the band who are loosely based on my parents. The story was conceived, much like my interest in music, from my own introversion. Communication was never my strong suit. I'm reclusive by nature, a trait that was debilitating in my youth. I started writing music to express the emotions I couldn't vocalise and the fictional concept was a way to cover these feelings even further... so maybe people would believe they weren't mine to begin with. Like layers on an onion, I thought I could hide safely in the characters of The Amory Wars, the sprawling science fiction tale named for the street where I grew up.
The Amory Wars is not told linearly. Instead, we meet Coheed and Cambria Kilgannon in the middle of their story, where they're living peacefully with their children within an alternate universe called Heaven's Fence, under the iniquitous reign of leader, Wilhelm Ryan. On an average day in their average lives, a single encounter with Ryan's right hand man calls into question everything they know to be true about themselves and the colony. The couple are told that they are actually genetically-engineered androids, created years before as weapons of mass destruction. They're manipulated to believe they've passed a deadly virus down to their children that will bring about the end of the world. The events that ensue are a direct result of the decisions they make to prevent this catastrophe and the endless web of lies they'll discover on the way.
As the band progressed and the complexities of my life naturally expanded, I felt inspired to write songs that helped to shape the plot points of the storyline. The concept departs from the founding characters, carrying on through the vendetta of their oldest son, before branching out into the trials and tribulations of characters who came before and after the Kilgannon family: The reader is introduced to others who affected the universe, including Leonard Hohenberger, the doctor responsible for creating Coheed and Cambria.
The ambition of the concept continues to grow; a tree deeply rooted in real life themes, with science fiction leaves. For those who want something more to accompany the listening experience, the story is there for them. But the concept is not an essential part of liking the music we create. It's important to us that people can enjoy a Coheed song in the same way they would any other song; that it can take on meaning in an individual's life in a wholly unique way.
The double album we'll release this year, The Afterman, is no exception. Conceptually, it skips back in time to introduce Sirius Amory, a scientist credited with discovering the complexities of Heaven's Fence. With this one, the writing approach retrogressed too, back to life directing the fiction, only, I see more of myself in Sirius that I ever did with the early story. Maybe it's a sign of growth... of surrounding ourselves with people who push us to live outside of our comfort zones as individuals and as a band. After all, it's hard to shed light on something when it's still hiding in the dark.
Claudio Sanchez @claudioPsanchez
For more head to Coheedandcambria.com.
11:06 AM | 11/09/2012
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