That fall, I started at a Christian college, and despite the wealth of secular music available around me (note: not a very conservative college), I had no desire for any of it. Then, the press for this album started coming out. As I’ve mentioned before, Coheed and Cambria was one of my favorite bands in high school. And while I had been satisfied to ignore them during the months prior, the idea of new Coheed made me have second thoughts.
And brother, I prayed about that mess. I asked God about it, and after a few weeks of prayer, and one week of fasting from any music (brother, it was a hard week), I felt like I had the freedom to make my own choice.
The following week, I let myself listen to The Mars Volta, and during the opening moments of Deloused in the Comatorium, the presence of God fell heavy on my dorm room. And in that moment, I realized that the line between the sacred and the secular was bullshit, and that God could be found anywhere.
That moment has informed almost all of my listening habits, and much of my personal worldview. And it was this album that spurned me to look beyond my self-imposed confines.
That being said, I haven’t actually spent much time with this album. I think the first time I listened through the entire time was just a few days ago (I never had the patience for the Wishing Well suite).
Don’t get me wrong: I absolutely love this record. The triple punch of Always & Never, Welcome Home, and Ten Speed (of God’s Blood and Burial) is absolutely perfect. And the album doesn’t really slope off after that. The entire disc (even Wishing Well, as I know now) is a masterpiece. Like In Keeping Secrets, this album finds Claudio & Co. churning out track after track of their hook-laden progressive metal.
Read that again. I swear it’s not an oxymoron.
Usually, progressive metal concept albums about comic books written by the lead singer aren’t this catchy. Tunes like “The Suffering” and “Once Upon Your Dead Body” are straight up pop-rock master strokes. “Welcome Home” recaptures the spirit of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” and doesn’t leave wanting. Ballads like “Always & Never” and “Welcome Home” were pulled straight of some hair metalist’s notebook. If this album isn’t as good as In Keeping Secrets, it’s just a notch below. Good Apollo is certainly mixed better though.
And so while I’ve never taken the time to properly get to know this album, I’m looking forward to it. Like a kid in high school that I never really talked to but I just knew was super cool, only to build a close friendship with them later in life. That happens, right?