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Coheed And Cambria - The Afterman - Ascension CD (album) cover


Coheed And Cambria


Crossover Prog

3.85 | 110 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars *Lots of Potential Spoilers*

I had listened to Coheed for a couple of years before I ever looked into the ACTUAL STORY that was taking place. I really just liked the music (for the most part) and tried to figure it out on my own. Then time passed and I just kind of... forgot to find out what was actually going on? I don't know, I listen to a lot of music and it's a pretty big dedication to read tons of backstory (in addition to other comics I keep up with). But when I heard about the Afterman duo, I decided it was probably about that time (considering how far back it goes in the storyline). These albums have a special place in my heart, they motivated me to do my research.

When I first heard "Domino the Destitute" (later to be known as "Key Entity Extraction I: Domino The Destitute") I was not impressed. Upon first listen, it seemed very basic and though I would later come to enjoy it, I kept wishing for more from the album. It was the radio edit and it lacked the flavor I would later find DID, in fact, exist in this eight-ish minute long anthem of the downward spiral.

When the video hit the net, I lost my poop.

There had been several incredibly key points that didn't make the radio waves. Points that made this 2D track 3D and all-encompassing. The video told the story and it gave me chills, a goosebump inducer to boot! That was when my interest in the entire project went from "uh oh" to "THERE IT IS!"

Like many Coheed fans, the first thing I heard of either album was Claudio's acoustic demo of "Sentry the Defiant." There were few things I wanted more than to hear a studio version of it. But I was kind of irked to see it wasn't in the track list, and would be on the following album. No, the Children of the Fence and I would end up waiting a year for that slice of awesome. But that story is for another review.

A:A delivers on its name with the simulation of the rise and the pressure built from the ascent, which causes damage to the eventual vessel that is Syrius Amory (the protagonist of the tale) will accrue. You will quickly find that his ascent is not exactly a heavenly rise into Peaceville. . It's really more of a "the higher up you are, the harder the impact of the ground" tale. Though it has very beautiful moments, such as the title track "The Afterman" and the forlorn "Evagria the Faithful," the events taking place are sometimes a little unsettling. Such as the "Goodnight, Fair Lady," which oddly enough is probably one of the more songs you'll hear about someone trying to DATE RAPE a woman (Amory's wife) by putting a Forget-Me-Now in her drink. But because it sounds like a Rush rock opera/musical, it's easy for the actual words to go over your head if you haven't heard Claudio explain what it's about via Youtube video. It would actually be a great tune to serenade a dame with if it weren't for the underlying menacing vibes. I would love to cover it in a public setting, but I also don't want to roll the dice on whether or not I will EVER SEE A VAGINA AGAIN BECAUSE OF IT. Still, a great little ditty!

The Key Entity Extractions were definitely the heavy hitters of the album. They pull you into the emotion the spirits (Domino, Holly Wood, Vic, Evagria) were experiencing at the end of their lives. Domino falls to his vices and poor decisions, so you feel the fall. Holly's vanity took over her mind and resulted in violent action. Vic... well Vic's a fuckin' asshole, so the anger and destruction is very present in his memories. Evagria, love and loss.

The song's final track, "Subtraction," I have a hard time fully enjoying. It's by no means a bad song, I just thought it was better suited for Claudio's side project, "Prize Fighter Inferno." I would later find out that it was originally intended for PFI. So every time I hear it it pulls me out of the C&C element. Granted, both projects have stories based in the same universe... but they're so very different styles. It serves as an alright cliffhanger for the next album, so I try not to see it as the "last track" of the album. I try to see it more as a beginning to the midpoint of the whole picture.

A major change in approach with this album is Claudio's vocal parts. His voice seems to have matured in some way, so you won't hear his high parts if you have hangups about his voice sounding "ladylike" on occasion (I definitely thought it was a chick singing when I heard them for the first time in high school, and I know I'm not the only one who thought that when "A Favor House Atlantic" hit my head. Though I've gotten used to it and now really dig it, I can definitely see why Claudio's past vocal choices turn some people off to their music.

Sanchez has become a better story teller, no longer relying on graphic novels to fill in the blanks. The segues seem less random and more supplemental to the story. It is another era in the Coheed & Cambria lore, and in a way it's them at their best. I wouldn't say "The Afterman" is their best work to date, but it's definitely a new angle on a story that is still being told. If I was introducing someone to the work of C&C, I would probably start with something from "Ascension" or "Descension." They've learned a lot of things about songwriting and it shows in these albums. People that are very anti-Coheed probably aren't going to get into this, but I say give it a shot if you're open to the possibility that MAYBE... just maybe... you'll hear something you like.

REDoftheSentai | 4/5 |


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