Coheed and Cambria isn’t what you would call your average heavy metal band. In fact, it would be wrong to label them as metal to begin with. So why review them on a metal website? Well, bear with me here. Coheed is a very unique group that blends together a multitude of genres, namely progressive rock, punk, indie, and yes, metal. For this reason, the band has an extremely diverse fanbase; consisting of metalheads, emos, hipsters, classic rock fans, you name it. The music of the band chronicles the Amory Wars, an epic comic book series written by frontman Claudio Sanchez. Their latest release, The Afterman: Descension is part II of a double album, a direct sequel to The Afterman: Ascension released back in October, both of which continue the story of the Amory Wars and follow the events revolving around the character Sirius Amory, founder of the Keywork and the seven suns of Heaven’s Fence.
Band: Coheed and Cambria
Album: The Afterman: Descension
Genre: Alt. Metal/Prog Rock
Label: Hundred Handed
Release Date: 2/5/13
The album starts off with some atmospheric acoustic guitar playing that leads into the energetic “Key Entity V: Sentry the Defiant,” which I’ve been excited to hear ever since Claudio released an acoustic version on YouTube a year back. I must say, it didn’t disappoint one bit and it was most impressive to see the end result in studio form. The added distortion and lead guitar parts do it magnificent justice and it makes a compelling case as the strongest track on the album. The entire first half of the album is actually incredibly solid, with the band sounding creative as ever in parts. There is no doubt regarding the ambition of this album; it certainly covers a lot of ground musically. Coheed has always shown great versatility in their music; a trait that is on full display in “Number City” which is a cool, groovy little song that incorporates funk and jazz elements. The following track “Gravity’s Union” is surprisingly epic, and fans will be singing along and crowd surfing to this one for sure. Upon its conclusion, I was convinced that I was halfway through what was easily the best Coheed and Cambria album since Good Apollo Vol. 1.
Unfortunately though, it turned out that I had already reached the climax; from here on out the album pretty much goes downhill. While I genuinely like how the songs flow together very nicely, the end result is consequently rather generic. The sixth track “Away We Go” reverts to their softer format and is a good song in itself. But then we’re treated to an additional two consecutive songs in the same mold, so much that they really don’t stand out at all. Coheed, I love you guys to death but I’ll never understand why on earth you picked “Dark Side of Me,” as your performance on live television.
“2’s My Favorite 1″ offers a degree of redemption upon conclusion of “Descension.” It’s not exactly a highlight track but it gets the band back on its feet for their exit, and the ending outro section does an effective job at bringing the two-part album full circle. Overall, the album is an ambitious achievement by a truly excellent and remarkably consistent band who are every bit deserving of the praise lavished upon them. These guys are not only phenomenal songwriters, but the chemistry between them is undeniable and is a big factor of what makes Coheed and Cambria the definition of expertise and professionalism in rock music today. Not many bands can make two-part albums on this scale anymore, which just goes to show the hell of a band Coheed is. While “The Afterman: Descension” may be the weaker album of the two, it will still receive a welcome reception from fans and critics alike and effectively concludes part II of a fantastic double album in satisfying fashion.
- Key Entity Extraction V: Sentry the Defiant
- The Hard Sell
- Number City
- Gravity’s Union
- Away We Go
- Iron Fist
- Dark Side of Me
- 2′s My Favorite 1
Claudio Sanchez – vocals, guitar
Travis Stever – guitars, backing vocals
Josh Eppard – drums, keys, backing vocals
Zach Cooper – bass, backing vocals