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

THE AFTERMAN - ASCENSION

Coheed And Cambria

 

Crossover Prog

3.87 | 101 ratings

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Kempokid
4 stars After a couple of unremarkable albums, including the truly awful Year of the Black Rainbow, which simultaneously was too ambitious and aso had very little in the way of actual execution of any ideas, all complete with the terrible production, Coheed and Cambria managed to redeem themselves with The Afterman. What happened here is that much of the songwriting was cleaned up and made more consice, integrating the catchy hooks and riffs into the songs without compromising any impact or complexity. While the songs here may be more simplistic compared to those on the larger scale albums, especially the Good Apollo duology, these are undoubtedly some of the best songs that the band has ever put out, and this is definitely one of my favourites by Coheed and Cambria.

While The Hollow starts things off in an atmospheric, pleasant way that ultimately sets the tone for the album, it's on the band's greatest song Key Entity Extraction I: Domino The Destitute that things kick into high gear. As is customary with any C&C album, the frst true track is both one of the best on the album, and is an anthemic epic that will both cause you to pump your fists in the air and then have the majority of it staying in your head for ages. Domino the Destitute takes both of these aspects, and then amps everything up, telling an entire story, containing some truly epic riffs, and managing to be both incredibly emotional and downright awesome. It's also clear that this is one of the band's proggiest songs, having a distinct chorus, but the rest of the song moving along through countless verses and melodies, each one incredibly memorable, which makes it an absolute blast to repeatedly listen to, as the song is unpredictable, yet easy to listen to. Other songs take on a more conventional approach, such as the pleasant, subdued title track that encompasses a lot of the pop elements present in the band's discography, but still sounding really unique in the sense of the soft riffs with a really lovely guitar tone, all brought together by the symphonic instruments adding another layer of beauty. Mothers Of Men is another song that provides interest, with harder hitting riffs that would often signify an upbeat, energetic song, instead being another one that's fairly slow in pace, both working well, with the signature C&C sound, mixing pop punk and pop with proggy elements and a bombastic storyline. My second favourite section of the album is the 2 next songs in the Key Entity Extraction suite, both being some of their most heavy and energetic material. Hollywood the Cracked is a heavy, abrasive song filled with distortion and screaming, that then is elevated to whole new heights once Claudio Sanchez begins singing cleanly, unleashing some of the best high notes in his career and just in general being at some of his absolute best in terms of vocal work. While the song is over quickly, the noise in the last 30 seconds or so acts as a brilliant precursor to Vic the Butcher, which is incredibly energetic and is one of those songs that I find incredibly hard to not sing along to. I love the certain demented quality it has to it with the creepy backing vocals and the lyrics describing one of my favourite pieces of lore by the band.

Overall, despite there being a couple of moments that interest me less than others, the album as a whole is easily one of Coheed and Cambria's best, with tight songwriting and incredible hooks and instrumentation in general, being varied, yet never to the point where it becomes cumbersome. I prefer The Afterman: Ascension to Descension, despite both being very good, and this one being more rock oriented, while Descension was far more eclectic. I'd recommend that a newcomer to the band would still either start with their second or thrid album, due to being more indicative of the band's overall sound, but this is an excellent album for sure.

Best songs: Domino The Destitute, Hollywood the Cracked, Vic the Butcher

Weakest songs: Goodnight, Fair Lady

Verdict: Less proggy than some of their past works, but definitely for the better, putting some sort of restraint on their ambitions, causing the album to not get out of hand in the same way that year of the Black Rainbow did. While this is part 1 of a 2 album series, you can honestly listen to this by itself if you want to, as Subtraction ends the album in a way that does provide closure, although I'd still recommend to listening to both in a row.

Kempokid | 4/5 |

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