By their own admission, Coheed and Cambria's Year of the Black Rainbow, which hit stores Tuesday (April 13), is their most "accessible" album to date. That sort of makes us wonder how they define the term "accessible" in the first place. For proof, here's frontman Claudio Sanchez to explain the story line behind the disc.
"It's [about] the origin of Coheed and Cambria. Basically, this void forms above Heaven's Fence, which is deemed 'the Black Rainbow' because no one really knows what it is," Sanchez said. "And half the inhabitants believe that maybe it's the Hand of God and the unfortunate things that are about to come. Or it's confirmation that Wilhelm Ryan, the evil dictator that is ruling all of Heaven's Fence, this is the confirmation that he is God. And that actually kind of creates this civil unrest. ... It spawns the creation of Coheed and Cambria."
Totally. And while Rainbow is the prequel to the band's "Armory Wars" story line (which has played out over the course of their four previous albums), Sanchez and his mates maintain that no previous knowledge of the rather lengthy — and slightly insane — sci-fi backstory is necessary to enjoy it. Because, really, at its core, it's an album about universal subjects like love, loss and sacrifice — with about 50 bajillion really killer guitar lines thrown in for good measure.
"In the past, the concept has never really been an essential part for the listener to enjoy the music. I've had fans come up to us who have no idea that there's a concept behind what we do," Sanchez said. "And for myself, as a lyricist, I think I've become a bit more open, and the lyrics are a bit more universal, and the themes that are in the songs are universal. So I like to think of it as accessible in that world. Everybody can really enjoy it. It's not necessary to get into all the other details."
"People keep telling us that it's 'accessible,' and it's hard for us to tell if it is or not," bassist Mic Todd added. "That's a good thing, though. We want people to hear it. We're incredibly proud of it all. ... We think it shows our growth as musicians and songwriters."
So now that their Armory Wars saga is complete, are Coheed — who stopped by the MTV Newsroom on Tuesday to pick up their Musical March Madness Championship Cup — going to put the whole "concept album" thing behind them? Will the next C&C album be (gasp!) a straightforward, totally kick-ass rock album?
"Time will tell. We're all really proud of this record. I think it really reflects who we are as a band and who we are as individuals, and if the band were to stop, this is the full [story,] part one to four-and-a-half. It's all there," Sanchez said. "And there's always ideas to keep going further into the past of the story. ... I think we could do whatever we want, really. I think that I've become a little more open, and the universal themes of the story line are kind of blossoming on this one. But who knows?"
Are you excited to get your hands on Coheed's new album? Let us know in the comments below!