It’s easy to make fun of prog-rockers Coheed and Cambria. I mean, really? A sci-fi space-prog-opera spanning five albums, multiple series of comic books, as well as spin-off projects that sometimes are completely tangential and seem absolutely absurd.

All that absurdity aside, they’ve really rewarded those fans who’ve stuck through with them this far. They’ve been my favorite band since I was 12 years old, so you can imagine my joy when, last week, the band released an update on the release of their fifth album – a prequel to the current story (again, too complicated to explain here) that would bring the story of Coheed and Cambria full circle.

Granted, I’m ecstatic. I mean, we’re talking FAVORITE BAND here. But here’s the thing: their last release, in my opinion, was pretty underwhelming. 2007’s Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World For Tomorow was heavy on the production and less so on the quirky songwriting that had made their previous three albums so explorable. While still a solid release, it wasn’t the band I had come to love over the previous years. Since then, I’ve been biding my time, faith in my heroes a little dashed, but not destroyed. Their Neverender concert series was among the coolest things I’d ever heard, but it wasn’t new ‘Heed.

And here we go: Counting down to April 2010 (birthday present for me!) and the release of their fifth full-length, Year of the Black Rainbow. In addition to the album, they’ll be releasing a 300-page novel (prose, not graphic, as is usually the case with Claudio Sanchez & Co.) explaining the story of Coheed and Cambria in detail- an interesting addition at least. We can only hope that it’s a return to form and quality for the band, and, if so, it should be one of the best albums of next year. Consider it my most anticipated.