Weekly Recommendation: The Crowing – Coheed and Cambria

Firstly, I know I’m not being very diligent about making this a WEEKLY recommendation, but oh well. I’m sorry if I’ve hurt your feelings. I’d like to say that I don’t have time to make one every week, but that’s simply not true. I’m just lazy and forgetful. I’m trying my best to remember and I hope it gets better but don’t hold out hope for me. Now onto the song.

This is quite possibly Coheed and Cambria’s most progressive and technical song. It’s 6:36 and it goes through so many drastic changes in mood, emotion, key, time, and is one of their great masterpieces. It is the fifth song off of arguably their greatest album titled¬†In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3.¬†I don’t even really know where to start with this song.

In terms of how this song fits into the over-arching story of Coheed’s albums, I can’t tell you too much. I’ve never been a master at learning the story behind the songs but I am pretty sure, this is the song where the main character, Claudio (also the lead singer’s name) finds out his destiny. He is the fated “Crowing”, the one who will both destroy and bring peace to the universe. This is also when Ambelina, a Prise (which is an angel of sorts), is sent to help Claudio but must first have her wings burned off. This is one of their most emotional songs, with Claudio dealing with the world-saving responsibilities that have been laid on him. Some of the most well-crafted lyrics in the band’s history are on this song.

Where this song really shines is in the music behind the vocals. In my opinion, this is the greatest example of the two guitarists carefully crafting their parts to complement each other. One is entirely rhythm based, yet has overwhelmingly complicated sections at times, while the other plays beautiful melodies over the top. The interesting thing about these melodies is they don’t a “lead guitar” kind of role in that they are the main focus of the music. They are meant to complement the lower rhythm parts and that’s what makes them so beautiful.

Alright, this is where the music geek in me really comes out (meaning technical terms and music theory talk). The technical complexity definitely shows itself in the middle section of the song. Until now the song had alternated between 6/8 and 4/4 time, both common time signatures. After going through a very aggressive section with unfathomably fast guitar licks thrown in, it goes into an alternating 6/8, 7/8 section. That’s already a little strange. But to add to that, the guitars are playing 32nd notes in and out of these oddly timed sections. To those of you who still think that doesn’t sound too crazy just listen to the guitars around the 3:15 mark. How you come up with these kinds of things I’m not quite sure but it sounds awesome.

Coheed and Cambria are known for having a lot of progressive rock elements in their music and this song puts them on full display. This song has a wide dynamic range going from extremely heavy and aggressive bouts of rage, to the soft, calm, and quiet sections of inner questioning. The song seamlessly goes from deliberating, to compassionate, to angry, fearful, longing, while resolving at a place of bitter determination. It is truly a Coheed and Cambria classic.