This song was charted with the help of sailingwhisper, who sent me the drums, guitar (rhythm and lead) and vocal/harmony charts that were what the rest of this custom was built on.
Continuing the chain of "you may know [artist] by [hit single], but here's [deep cut]," you may already be familiar with "Welcome Home," which was in RB1, of course. But this song takes us back earlier in Coheed and Cambria's discography - pretty much as early as you can get (without venturing into early demos or even Shabutie), as it's the first (proper) song on their first album, meaning for many people it was their first taste of Coheed. It's one hell of a first impression. I love the whole of this band's discography - they have a way of combining proggy complexity and killer riffs with poppy energy and endlessly catchy hooks that's matched by no other group - and out of everything they've done, this track has to be my absolute favorite (well, besides perhaps the title-track from The Afterman). While their later work has mostly focused more on the prog and hard rock side of their music (while still maintaining some pop flair), their early albums border more on post-hardcore, emo, and even pop punk at times - a fusion which I've always found incredibly charming.
This track has a little bit of it all. The first minute is in half-time compared to the main portion of the the song, centered around a groovy, almost hip-hop like beat with syncopated accents. It's decidedly proggy, but also shows off some of the band's early emo elements, with the twinkly clean guitars interweaving around each other with arpeggios. After a brief interlude with another syncopated beat and some sharp guitar harmonics, we're launched into the verse, which kicks on the distortion, speeds up the tempo to an energetic, pop-punk-like pace, and introduces Claudio Sanchez's voice to the mix. The chorus hits you with some really endearing guitar leads, and an extremely addictive melody, such that after you hear this song you can't stop singing it to yourself for at least a week (well, that happens with a lot of Coheed songs actually). The bridge slows things down, starting off soft and pretty, but then bringing back the distortion for a rather heavy breakdown. Following this is a reprise of the intro theme, but now adding an awesomely raw solo filled with screeching harmonics courtesy of Bad Brains guitarist Dr. Know (who also fills in some overdubbed leads in the choruses). A dramatic buildup brings us into the last chorus, with an added outro filled with trademark Coheed "na ha haaa oohh" vocalizations. As far as lyrics go, in the sci-fi Amory Wars concept that all of their albums (besides one) are lyrically and thematically connected to, this song is about the band's namesake characters, Coheed and Cambria, being forced to kill their own children (hence "Maria my star, Matthew goodnight"). So you can infer that it's some pretty damn emotional subject matter, and even though it isn't directly about him personally, Claudio's impassioned vocals really make it sound like it is.
While all the instruments are fairly challenging and very fun to play, the highlight here is probably the guitar chart. The half time intro is filled with clean guitar arpeggio patterns, and when the tempo picks up and the distortion kicks in at the verse, you'll be playing a punky chord riff. The chorus alternates between melodic chord sustains and ascending and descending chords with mixed 8th and 16th strumming. Throughout the choruses, overdubbed leads from Dr. Know are interspersed, ranging from simple sustains to difficult HOPO runs. When the intro theme is reprised 2/3rds of the way through the song, rather than going back to the same pattern, Dr. Know makes his return with that solo, that's not too fast but is very free-form rhythmically. Well, not too fast until it culminates in a crazy note spam near the end.
The bass chart in this song is also particularly awesome and a highlight of this whole set of songs. The bass playing here much of the time is the antithesis to the typical "8th strumming the root note" style of bass, as Mic Todd seems never content to just coast along without playing some sort of melodic counterpoint to the main riff, or at least throwing in a neat fill here and there when forced to hang back. Of particular note is the bass in the half-time sections, which glides up and down the scale in a fantastically smooth and pleasing bassline.
This song's drum chart is also very fun and varied, with a bit of quirkiness as a result of Josh Eppard's open-handed sticking. The intro theme (and its return) are based on a 16th note hi-hat pattern (with some quick rolls mixed in) that could almost be a hip-hop beat, while also having some syncopated crash hits and fills. Before the verse hits, there's a cool pattern on the ride with sorta-ghost notes on the hi-hat. The verses take on an energetic, pop-punkish beat with mixed eights and quarters on the hi-hat and ride, and the chorus switches the snare to 1 and 3, then goes into a tricky hi-hat pattern with off-beat snares and quick hi-hat rolls.
Those familiar with the band and the oft-compared-to-Geddy-Lee vocal style of Claudio Sanchez should know roughly what to expect from this vocal chart. When the vocals come in, they start in a soft, relatively low register, but suddenly burst into Claudio's high pitched glory on "THE ONE THAT GRABS AT YOUR AAANKLEEEEEEEEE!" The chorus can be a bit tricky at first, but it's not too hard to learn and it's really fun to sing. The harmonies are limited to a few key phrases, besides the outro chorus where they are more present, but they're nice harmonies!
The keys part has this charming little descending synth line that's a little tricky, but it's basically the same melody every time, and it only comes in at the second verse and the outro.
As an alternative to actual keys, there's also a rhythm version that more authentically charts the twin guitar parts of Claudio and Travis rather than having them combined into one chart, with the former on keys and the latter on guitar - though be warned, it omits the overdubbed solos from Dr. Know. Here's a link for a preview of that version: