Coheed and Cambria have released their second album, and completing segment, to their two-part cinematic journey know as, The Afterman. As I stated in my last review for the first part of this double album, Coheed and Cambria, since their debut, combines the intensity of the high-arching storylines with emotional, polarizing music. Descension is more Claudio-centric, vocals, lyrics, and concept take the spotlight. This album is more guitar-heavy, showing more riffs and solos than their previous album, Ascension. Coheed and Cambria blend bleeding honesty and explorative instrumentation, even more than Ascension.
Returning from Ascension, the band’s newfound energy is higher and brighter. This is especially true in the track “Key Entity Extraction V: Sentry The Defiant”. Explosive distorted guitars that detonate from the get-go, “Sentry” is an anger-inducing, triumphant rally cry. Perfect for following the eerie and ethereal opener, “Pretelethal”, “Sentry” is a better, more powerful track than Ascension’s lead single “Key Entity Extraction I: Domino The Destitute”. Coheed and Cambria pull out all of the tricks and define themselves in this one track – using every technique possible in their palette and painting the most vivid picture.
Coheed and Cambria’s “Key Entity Extraction V: Sentry The Defiant”
Explosive and pulsating; “The Hard Sell” raises it’s fist high in the air, becoming another rallying cry for the masses, evoking the same chanting characteristics of “Vic The Butcher” from Ascension. “Number City” is by far the strangest song CoCa have ever released, becoming a groovy, eerie track that enters with whispering lyrics and finish with frighteningly addictive horns chiming with Claudio’s melodic falsetto. Dissonant and reflective, “Gravity’s Union” is a story in itself. The highest emotional point, the song tells of a traumatic car wreck. Claudio practically throws his heart up on this track, with emotional screams and intense diction. There’s a part around four minutes in, almost like the music follows what’s happening in the story. When Claudio says “This life I can save,” the music goes into a heavy stop and it almost sounds like defibrillators trying to revive the injured body.
“Away We Go” shows the sweeter side of Coheed, becoming a romantic ballad that chimes and flutters in the chambers of your heart. But “Iron Fist” and “Dark Side of Me” turn 180 degrees around and evoke the most degrading and depressing work Coheed and Cambria have ever released. “Iron Fist” features a regret-fueled solo and heartbreaking vocals. “Dark Side of Me” showcases the ability of the band, crafting an emotional journey. “I couldn’t give you what you needed / It’s all my fault,” cries Claudio. “2’s My Favorite 1” wraps up the album with much needed optimism. It also features a small, atmospheric synth outro that ends The Afterman.
Altogether, Coheed and Cambria have released a double album that span the entire sound of seven total albums, harking back on older sounds and exploring many new ones. Descension defeated expectations by trouncing Ascension with great tracks throughout the entire album. There are very, very few complaints. “Iron Fist’s” drums are just plainly annoying, and if you hear the acoustic demo, it’s much, much, much better.
Trivialities aside, The Afterman is a musical foray into the mind of Claudio Sanchez. . Together, they create a seminal, nearly essential 20 songs worth listening to and immersing yourself in. Descension shows the side of darkness and despair, where Ascension shows the side of curiosity and mystery. Each album, in their own right, have their own moods and motions, which is something I’ve never seen pulled off as well as Coheed. The Afterman is the album Coheed and Cambria should be proud of, for years to come.
Written by Dylan Tracy
OurVinyl | Contributor
[To purchase this album on iTunes just click here]