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Year of the Black Rainbow is the fifth studio album by rock band Coheed and Cambria, released on April 13, 2010 through Columbia. The album is a prequel to the band's previous four concept albums, which comprise The Amory Wars narrative. Year of the Black Rainbow marks drummer Chris Pennie's only studio appearance. It is the last album to feature Michael Todd on bass.

Year of the Black Rainbow
Coheed and cambria year of the black rainbow.png
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 13, 2010
RecordedJune – July & November – December 2009
Coheed and Cambria chronology
Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow
Year of the Black Rainbow
The Afterman: Ascension
Singles from Year of the Black Rainbow
  1. "The Broken"
    Released: February 9, 2010[4]
  2. "Here We Are Juggernaut"
    Released: March 9, 2010
  3. "World of Lines"
    Released: August 10, 2010
  4. "Far"
    Released: April 5, 2011

The band began recording the album in 2009. Prior to the release of the album, Coheed released two singles, "The Broken" and "Here We Are Juggernaut". The album received mainly positive reviews and peaked at #5 on the Billboard 200 and #35 on the UK Album Chart. The deluxe version of the album was accompanied by a novel written by the band's vocalist/guitarist Claudio Sanchez and writer Peter David.


Background and recordingEdit

The band began recording the album in summer 2009 and finished up later that year in November. Vocalist, guitarist and lyricist Claudio Sanchez noted that the album is very melodic.[5]

The album is produced by Atticus Ross (Nine Inch Nails, Jane's Addiction) and Joe Barresi (Queens of the Stone Age, Tool). According to Sanchez, "they have helped us evolve our sound to be more powerful and dynamic than ever and we think it's definitely our best work to date." Sanchez also states that, "musically, there's a very cinematic tone. There is a lot of atmosphere on this record, and that's something I've always wanted to incorporate on the other records, but just never could attain it as we have on this one."[6] The album has a notably different sound to it than the band's other work. It includes light elements of psychedelic rock, which are not present in the band's other albums.[citation needed]

The album also marked drummer Chris Pennie's studio debut with the band, who had been playing alongside Sanchez, lead guitarist Travis Stever and bassist Michael Todd since 2007. Sanchez stated that: "[Pennie] really kicked ass on this record. There are a lot of tunes on this album that I'm not so sure we would've been able to execute had we not have had him."[6]

Year of the Black Rainbow also completed the main tetralogy of The Amory Wars:[7]


Year of the Black Rainbow's release was preceded by a series of eight intimate club gigs in the northeastern United States, all of which sold out.[8] The band announced a U.S. tour featuring 36 dates (including the eight in March).[9]

The first song released from the album, "The Broken," premiered at midnight on February 9, 2010.[10] On March 10, 2010, a music video for "The Broken" premiered on Myspace.[11]

The first official single from the album, "Here We Are Juggernaut", was uploaded onto the band's Myspace site on March 4, 2010[12] and went on sale March 9, 2010.[13] A special vinyl edition of "Guns of Summer" was released exclusively at Vintage Vinyl for Record Store Day.[14]

The album began streaming on the band's MySpace on April 7, 2010. Two weeks later, "Here We Are Juggernaut", "The Broken" and "Guns of Summer" were released as downloadable content for the Rock Band 2 music store.[15] The album was released by Columbia Records in both a standard format and a deluxe edition, which included a 352-page Year of the Black Rainbow novel, penned by the lead singer Claudio Sanchez and New York Times bestselling author Peter David. In Europe the album was released by Roadrunner Records.

Regarding the album's novelization, Sanchez stated that: "It was kind of tough juggling both of them; recording an album and writing a novel. That was a little strenuous but, for the most part, it was a lot of fun."[16]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Metacritic71/100 [17]
Review scores
AbsolutePunk85% [18]
Allmusic      [19]
The A.V. ClubB+ [20]
Entertainment WeeklyB+ [21]
NME(7/10) [22]
PopMatters           [23]
Rolling Stone      [27]
Slant Magazine      [24]
Spin(4/10) [25]
Sputnikmusic      [26]

The album has received generally positive reviews, garnering a 71/100 on Metacritic from 19 reviews.[17] Rock Sound gave the record a 9 out of 10 and said the album, "is possibly their best record to date."[28] The A.V. Club, who praised the album highly, remarked, "Reconciling its post-hardcore roots with the progressive-rock flourishes that have been eclipsing the band’s sound over the past couple albums, tracks like "Here We Are Juggernaut" and "World Of Lines" far outshine the recent output of Coheed’s closest peer, The Mars Volta..."[20] Allmusic, who gave the record a 4 out of 5, concluded that "any fan of heavy progressive rock music may find this music to be of compelling interest, whether one buys into the conceptual nature of the Amory Wars or not."[19] The NewReview rated the album a 4 out of 5 and said "A big portion of the songs on this album are slower in tempo and that makes the listener really analyze the music and appreciate the subtle nuances that this album has to offer."[29] Paul Brannigan of Kerrang! gave the album four stars out of five and called it "a genuine career highpoint for this most idiosyncratic band".[30] Time Out New York gave it a score of four stars out of five and said that "the band wisely refines a winning formula, sounding properly bombastic on 'The Broken,' and effortlessly hooky on 'Here We Are Juggernaut.'"[31] Altsounds gave it 86% and called it "a pretty brilliant album."[32]

Alternative Press gave the album four stars out of five and said it "feels every bit as massive as the world it sets up. It's not just the heaviest record in Coheed's arsenal; it's also one of the strongest."[17] The Boston Globe gave it a favorable review and stated that "The record is further evidence of the quartet's easy chemistry. The band is both bold and geeky, creating a signature sound that typically triggers strong reaction; one man's progressive is another's pretentious."[33] similarly gave the album four stars out of five and said, "Coheed and Cambria always find new ways to bring in their audience and give them all that they have (no pun intended). This is a great album and I think one of their best to date."[34]

However, some reviews are average, mixed or negative: Drowned in Sound gave the album a score of six out of ten and said, "The adventurous nature of Coheed and Cambria was what made them so thrilling. And while this new tangent of popular method could win them a fair few new fans, it may leave some of the loyal wanting more from their next opus."[35] Q gave it three stars out of five and called it "one space saga that's worth presevering with."[17] On the other hand, BBC Music reported that the album "suffers just a little too much from its own grand, sprawling ambition."[36] Billboard gave it a mixed review, stating that the album "lacks the grandiose thematic concepts of previous outings as well as an immediate single, like past songs 'A Favor House Atlantic' or 'The Suffering.'"[37] The Guardian gave it two stars out of five and stated that "Beneath the veneer of baffling musicality, it's evident there's nothing new under the sun, no matter what galaxy you're in."[38]

Slant Magazine lamented, "There's no trace of Coheed's oddball eclecticism here, or of their dynamic pop sensibilities; instead the emotionally and tonally monochrome Black Rainbow gives the impression of a typically humorless metal act." Slant also criticized the album for featuring an "oppressive production job by Atticus Ross and Joe Barressi" that creates "gloomy atmospherics that shroud each and every track".[24] Rolling Stone met the album with lukewarm reception, commenting on "the same old mix of impressive musicianship and arena-size agita," and that "Rainbow feels both silly and retrograde."[27]

Track listing[19]Edit

All lyrics written by Claudio Sanchez; all music composed by Coheed and Cambria except "One" and "Pearl of the Stars" by Claudio Sanchez and Atticus Ross.

Year of the Black Rainbow
2."The Broken"4:01
3."Guns of Summer"4:50
4."Here We Are Juggernaut"3:52
6."This Shattered Symphony"4:30
7."World of Lines"3:17
8."Made Out of Nothing (All That I Am)"4:40
9."Pearl of the Stars"5:03
10."In the Flame of Error"5:31
11."When Skeletons Live"4:21
12."The Black Rainbow"7:38
Total length:54:24

Deluxe Edition Only

13."Chamberlain (Demo)" (Previously Unreleased Bonus Track)4:20
14."The Lost Shepherd (Demo)" (Previously Unreleased Bonus Track)4:11
Total length:1:02:27

iTunes Exclusive[39]


Deluxe editionEdit

The deluxe edition includes:[40]

  • 352-page Year of the Black Rainbow novel, penned by Claudio Sanchez and author Peter David.
  • "Every End Has A Beginning" DVD featuring studio and interview footage.
  • Coheed and Cambria "Black Card", available only from the band's official website. Black Card Cardholders will be eligible for early entrance to selected shows, discounts on band merchandise and exclusive downloads and offers.
  • Previously-unreleased bonus tracks


Year Single Chart Peak
2010 "Here We Are Juggernaut" Alternative Songs 29


The following people contributed to Year of the Black Rainbow:[42]

Coheed and Cambria[43]Edit

Additional musiciansEdit

  • Wes Styles – additional keyboards
  • Brian Dembow – viola ("Pearl of the Stars")
  • Claudia Sarne – additional keyboards, orchestration ("Pearl of the Stars")

Recording personnelEdit

  • Atticus Ross – producer, recording, mixing
  • Joe Barresi – producer, recording, mixing
  • Jun Murakawa – assistant engineer
  • Dustin Moseley – additional assistant
  • Catherine Marks – mixing assistant ("Here We Are Juggernaut")
  • Mike Fasano – drum tech
  • Dan Druff – guitar tech
  • Brian Gardner – mastering


  • Bill Scoville – album art, layout, design


The album debuted at number 5 on the Billboard 200, and sold 51,000 copies in its first week.[44] In addition, it was number 2 on the Rock Albums chart and the third most digitally downloaded album.[45] In its second week, Year of the Black Rainbow charted at number 42 on the Billboard 200.[45] The album descended to 73 during its third week on the Billboard 200.[45]

Chart (2010) Peak
Billboard 200[44] 5
Billboard Top Digital Albums[45] 3
Billboard Top Rock Albums[45] 2
UK Albums Chart[46] 35


  1. ^ Jason Heller (2010-04-13). "Coheed And Cambria: Year Of The Black Rainbow review". AV Club. Retrieved 2015-08-07.
  2. ^ Tim Newbound (2010-04-12). "Coheed And Cambria: Year Of The Black Rainbow review". Rock Sound. Retrieved 2015-08-07.
  3. ^ Thom Jurek. "AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-08-07.
  4. ^ "iTunes - Music - The Broken - Single by Coheed and Cambria". Apple Inc. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  5. ^ Natalie Zfat (Feb 10, 2009). "Coheed and Cambria's Creator Character Returns for "Very Melodic" Fifth Concept Album". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved May 10, 2010. Another cut, "When Skeletons Live," is more uptempo and melodic.
  6. ^ a b Rick Florino (20 Mar 2010). "Coheed and Cambria — "Quentin Tarantino could direct Black Rainbow because he's never done a sci-fi film"". Artist Direct. Rouge Network. Retrieved May 10, 2010.
  7. ^ "Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria Interview: 'No Iron Maiden Tour'". 2010-04-07. Retrieved 2012-05-21.
  8. ^ "Coheed and Cambria: All March dates are now officially sold out". Twitter. March 15, 2010. Retrieved August 11, 2010.
  9. ^ "Tour Dates". The Official Coheed & Cambria Site. Sony Music Entertainment. Retrieved August 11, 2010.
  10. ^ ShockHound – MP3s Coheed And Cambira MP3 Music Downloads Archived February 12, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Video The Broken van coheed and cambria – Myspace Video". Retrieved 2012-03-16.
  12. ^ "Coheed and Cambria RT @Coheed: #herewearejuggernaut unleashed today at 7pm EST". Facebook. Retrieved 2012-05-21.
  13. ^ "Here We Are Juggernaut: Coheed And Cambria: MP3 Downloads". Retrieved 2012-05-21.
  14. ^ "Coheed And Cambria – Guns Of Summer 7" Picture Disc :: Vintage Vinyl Records". Retrieved 2012-03-16.
  15. ^ "Pot of Gold at the End of the Black Rainbow: New DLC from Coheed & Cambria // Blog // Rock Band®". 2010-04-16. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
  16. ^ "Interview: Coheed and Cambria — "Quentin Tarantino could direct Black Rainbow because he's never done a sci-fi film" – ARTISTdirect News". Retrieved 2012-03-16.
  17. ^ a b c d "Critic Reviews for Year Of The Black Rainbow". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
  18. ^ Nassiff, Thomas (2010-04-20). "Coheed & Cambria - Year of the Black Rainbow - Album Review". AbsolutePunk. Retrieved 2013-05-27.
  19. ^ a b c Year of the Black Rainbow at AllMusic
  20. ^ a b Heller, Jason (2010-04-13). "Coheed And Cambria: Year Of The Black Rainbow | Music | Music Review". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
  21. ^ Greenwald, Andy (2010-04-16). "Coheed and Cambria: Year of the Black Rainbow". Entertainment Weekly: 73.
  22. ^ Edwards, Tom (2010-04-16). "Album Review: Coheed And Cambria - Year Of The Black Rainbow (Roadrunner)". NME.
  23. ^ Conaton, Chris (2010-04-14). "Coheed and Cambria: Year of the Black Rainbow". PopMatters. Retrieved 2013-05-27.
  24. ^ a b Cole, Matthew (2010-04-12). "Coheed and Cambria: Year of the Black Rainbow". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
  25. ^ Kornhaber, Spencer (2010-04-06). "Coheed and Cambria, 'Year of the Black Rainbow' (Columbia)". Spin. Retrieved 2013-05-27.
  26. ^ Hanson, John (2010-04-02). "Review: Coheed and Cambria - Year of the Black Rainbow". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
  27. ^ a b Hoard, Christian (2010-04-12). "Coheed and Cambria - Year of the Black Rainbow". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
  28. ^ Tim Newbound (2010-04-12). "Coheed And Cambria - Year Of The Black Rainbow". Rock Sound. Archived from the original on 2010-04-15. Retrieved 2012-05-21.
  29. ^ Kevin Juliff (2010-04-13). "Coheed and Cambria – Year of the Black Rainbow « The NewReview". The NewReview. Archived from the original on 2010-04-16. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
  30. ^ Brannigan, Paul. Kerrang! #1306, April 03, 2010. Albums. Claudio & Co Soar on album number five. p.50.
  31. ^ smith, Steve (2010-03-15). "Review: Coheed and Cambria". Time Out New York. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
  32. ^ simon.dangerous (2010-04-05). "Coheed & Cambria - Year of the Black Rainbow [Album] | Reviews". Altsounds. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
  33. ^ "Coheed and Cambria, 'Year of the Black Rainbow'". The Boston Globe. April 12, 2010. Retrieved 2013-05-27.(subscription required)
  34. ^ Spinelli, Tom (2010). "Coheed And Cambria - Yea(r) of the Black Rainbow". Retrieved 2013-05-27.
  35. ^ Grant, William (2010-04-14). "Coheed and Cambria - Year of the Black Rainbow". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 2013-05-27.
  36. ^ Pearlman, Mischa (2010-04-09). "Music - Review of Coheed and Cambria - Year of the Black Rainbow". BBC Music. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
  37. ^ "Coheed and Cambria, 'Year of the Black Rainbow'". Billboard. April 2, 2010. Retrieved 2013-05-27.
  38. ^ Thomson, Jamie (2010-04-08). "Coheed and Cambria: Year of the Black Rainbow". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-05-27.
  39. ^ Pre-Order "Year Of The Black Rainbow" (Deluxe Version) by Coheed And Cambria on iTunes
  40. ^ Our First US Headline Tour In Over 2 Years Archived February 20, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  41. ^ "Coheed & Cambria Here We Are Juggernaut". 2010-04-25. Retrieved 2010-04-25.
  42. ^ Year of the Black Rainbow liner notes
  43. ^ "Coheed and Cambria Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved January 25, 2008.
  44. ^ a b Keith Caulfield (April 21, 2010). "MGMT's Top Debut on Billboard 200; Bieber Holds at No. 1". Billboard. Retrieved May 10, 2010. The Billboard 200's second-highest debut comes from Coheed and Cambria's "Year of the Black Rainbow," as it starts with 51,000 copies sold at a career-high rank of No. 5 with 51,000. The rock act's last album, 2007's "No World For Tomorrow," bowed at No. 6 but with a bigger opening sales figure – 62,000.
  45. ^ a b c d e [1]
  46. ^ "Coheed & Cambria | Artist". Official Charts. 2010-04-24. Retrieved 2012-10-22.

External linksEdit