Ambition has never been a problem for Coheed & Cambria, but with GOOD APOLLO, I'M BURNING STAR IV..., the upstate New York progressive-metal quartet has succeeded in topping its already-adventurous previous outings. While extending its sonic reach, however, Coheed & Cambria has also hit new heights of accessibility, often sounding like a kinder, gentler Mars Volta, with soaringly melodic moments peeking through billowing, dense clouds of driving guitars and breakneck rhythms. The group eases into GOOD APOLLO with a moody orchestral opening ("Keeping the Blade") and a deceptively benevolent acoustic track ("Always & Never"), before launching into the blisteringly heavy "Welcome Home." As always, frontman Claudio Sanchez carries the dynamic songs, belting out strangely narrative lyrics in his high, clear voice. Although Coheed & Cambria has been loosely categorized as an "emo" band, here the ensemble fully outgrows that tag, joining an elite company of inventive metal acts (like the aforementioned Mars Volta) that are determined to challenge and fascinate listeners.