Coheed and Cambria: The Unheavenly Creatures

Coheed and Cambria is a four man band that consists of guitarist/vocalists Claudio Sanchez and Travis Stever, drummer Josh Eppard, and Zach Cooper on the bass. Sanchez is the lead singer and also one of the primary songwriters. The group is renowned for their concept pieces because they’re each tied into one ongoing story, The Amory Wars. The 16-year long conceptual project is a science fiction comic book series, and the brainchild of Sanchez who doubles as an illustrator and writer of the comics.

For seven albums the group’s music served as the soundtrack and sort of an audio book for The Amory Wars over the years. What we’re doing is weird,” Sanchez said to Rolling Stone with a laugh. “Concept records in themselves are not weird, but for a band to continue a concept over their discography can be a little intimidating to somebody on the outside. It’s like a monthly issue comic book, like, ‘I don’t want to get invested into this 10 issues in. I need to know where to start. If I can’t get issue one, I’m just not going to read it.”

Now I can’t lie, while the concept of marrying music with a comic book sounds dope, the real selling point to me is the fact that the series has an end.

The Amory Wars comic is written by Sanchez and his wife, Chondra Echert, based on the fictional story of an alternate universe where the main characters, Coheed and Cambria Kilgannon are who many describe as the Adam and Eve of the galaxy. The series tells their story and various stories of their descendants.  Coheed and Cambria are a couple who are the centerpiece of the story, while there are other important characters, their story ties into pretty much everything that happens later on in The Amory Wars. There are hints of a religious connection within the story line. An undeniable connection is the story being set at Heaven’s Fence, a collection of nearly 80 planets in the galaxy.

The story was created by Sanchez who used the comic book to express his feelings and life experiences. As he told Rolling Stone in a 2016 interview, “My real life was just dirty. I created the idea of The Amory Wars as a mask. I was very shy and introverted. It was a way to confess my [feelings] without giving myself to the listeners… Not letting the audience in.”

Since the first installment of the comic book and related album was released in 2002, the band only strayed away from the sci-fi genre for their 2015 release, “The Color Before the Sun.” “The Second Stage Turbine Blade” is where it all began back in 2002. “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3” was released the following year. While the third and fourth albums were split into a two volume installment.  “Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness,” and Volume Two: “No World for Tomorrow,” were released in 2005 and 2007, respectively. There was a bit of a break in between chapters to the saga as the next release would come nearly three years later. “Year of the Black Rainbow” dropped in April of 2010, but they put together a double album and two part series, “The Afterman” soon after.  “The Afterman: Ascension,” was released in October of 2012, and “The Afterman: Descension,” was released at the top of 2013 in February.

As I mentioned earlier, the comic and album duality just recently ended this year. After the 2015 album in which he dedicated to his personal life, in particular his new addition to his family and the change it brought about. Since then, things were a bit tumultuous for the couple, which initiated the beginning of the end for their comic book series. “I started to create songs that didn’t fall within the lines of what I had created for Coheed and Cambria. Then my wife told me that we were pregnant. None of that mattered anymore,” he said to Rolling Stone in the 2016 interview. “My love for her resonated in the record, the prospect of fatherhood started to resonate.”

Blake Holmes