Four months into my tour of duty in Iraq, I received a care package from my twin brother, James. He and I have a tense love/hate relationship. Enclosed were a variety of CD’s. Now, here I am, four months in the shit, sick and tired of the sand, the sight and smell of the dead and dying, the constant threat of death/explosions/gunfire, and a feeling of being strung the fuck out. My brother and I have never seen eye to eye musically, so, in a resigned way, I randomly plucked a CD from the box (In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3), placed it in my worn out CD Walkman (which was battered and half working from vast amounts of sand), randomly selected a track (#4- “Three Evils”), and I was blown away. I made it a point to listen to the entire album, restarting from the first track, then backtracking to the first album, marveling at the sheer variety of musical tone; they went from punk to lyrical, emotional metal, to a poppy in-between. At first, I was baffled. How could I, a classic rock aficionado, be intrigued, nay titillated, by this amalgam of punk/metal/pop/rock? Besides the awesome guitar and bass work, and the most stunning vocal work by a fat man I have ever heard, there was also the fact that there was a underlying space opera story in the lyrics. I soon found myself picking tracks to sync up with desperate moments in my war torn life. If I needed something to psych myself up before riding out in a convoy, I might play in my head (since I couldn’t bring a Walkman with me) “Hearshot Kid Disaster” or “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3” (the track of the same name off of the same album). If I needed something to perk me up after a particularly nasty day, I would crank “God Send Conspirator” or “A Favor House Atlantic.” This trend continued into my post-Iraq life. It was not uncommon to hear me blasting Coheed & Cambria during my drunken ragers at all hours of the day. As soon as Good Apollo, I’m burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness came out, I bought it and was once again amazed at the variety of musical styling. Regretfully, this is a musical journey left unfinished, as I have been broke as a joke for quite a while and have not been able to purchase Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow or Year of the Black Rainbow. As for concerts, I have no input, as I can’t bring myself to go to a concert. I see myself as too out of place to go. I would stick out like a sore thumb, like an overprotective father tailing his kid. One of these days, I will overcome my self-deprecating limitations and attend a show. All in all, Coheed & Cambria have taught me to expand my musical horizons. Were it not for them, I would never have looked past classic rock, metal, and country rock. The moral of the story would be to always keep a open mind.
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