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


Coheed And Cambria


Crossover Prog

3.78 | 99 ratings

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4 stars Coheed and Cambria - "The Afterman: Descension"


There's a darkened room, a subtle noise and a wavering voice. Sounds coming from all angles, like being surrounded by constant happening. Something is coming?


And we're back. This is Coheed & Cambria chapter 6 part two, or chapter negative one, depending on whether this is a prequel or sequel or neither. I'm not really sure what's up with their concept at this point, but all I know is that Sanchez and men have completely nailed the "sonic cliffhanger" he claimed bridged the two halves of the Afterman. "Pretelethal" sounds like an epic rebirth, that feeling when every character in a TV show is dead, but the new episode shows they're not. Truly chilling.

Coheed begin their albums often with these 'intro tracks'. And although "Pretelethal" is a lot more developed than many of the previous intros, even Ascension's "The Hollow", it does serve the purpose of introducing the strike track. Coheed really know how to nail second songs. Build up tension in the intro then boom. Epic. If you don't have a huge grin on your face by the time "Sentry the Defiant" comes in, you're not listening properly. The chorus is one of Coheed's best, with some fantastic guitar work underneath. Over the course of the two parts, Sentry is second only to the great Domino The Destitute, which is now my favourite C&C song.

Although I still consider Ascension to be the stronger of the two, Descension has no weaker tracks. Coheed stabbed at something different with "Holly Wood The Cracked", which really didn't do much for me, and I find myself skipping it often, Descensions stick out of the ordinary is "Number City", while equally out there and ridiculous as Holly Wood, it's actually quite fun in the right mood. "The Hard Sell" appears to be a more open song lyrically, which Coheed have been allowed to do with this prequels saga, and opens with an 80's like vibe. Claudio is really on top voice with his chorus melodies, which are always a selling point for me. When I first heard Coheed, his 'odd' vocal delivery disguised some of the great lines, but once you get used to his very theatrical overpronunciation, some of the choruses are brilliantly catchy.

"Gravity's Union" is the longest song on the album, and although 7 minutes is hardly long for prog standards, it really does feel a little more epic than most of the album, the same feeling that dominated the glorious Domino The Destitute, but not quite as awesome. Still a wonderful song, and definitely one of my favourites. My other favourite is "Away We Go", a softer song with a wonderful chorus. Coheed seem to be touching on more personal topics in these albums, with this song being the upbeat counterpart to the beautiful but heart-wrenching "Subtraction" from Ascension. I always will take simplistic beauty over complex meandering, and here C&C hit the nail on the head with a wonderfully heart-felt song.

The album drops with the next two songs, "Iron Fist" and "Dark Side of Me", but they aren't really bad songs at all, they're just nothing special. They're nowhere near as bad as "Holly Wood The Cracked" or even "Vic The Butcher" from Ascension, but they really bring nothing extra to the party. "2's My Favourite 1", despite having a stupid title, is a great ending. "Subtraction" was an incredible finish to Ascension, and although this song doesn't quite feel like an epic movie finish, it's a nice send-off, and is one of the better songs on the album.

To be honest, this album is hardly new territory for C&C, but I feel them opening up to a more mainstream approach to melody, while still keeping their post-hardcore ("Gravity's Union") and prog (Number City outro) aspects that gained them popularity. They are still essentially alone in this field, and with TMV out of the picture and Muse turning electronic, they now hold the crown for the "new prog" field of bands. I still prefer Ascension to this, but Descension is way more consistent, and over time I think it may grow on me. I hear that Mark Wahlberg and co are hoping to bring this to the big screen, so we can only hope this means more mainstream traffic to the prog world, as Coheed really seem to be leading that front

Recommend this to fans of their earlier stuff, but for new fans, these two albums are definitely the best entry points, but you will need to get used to Claudio's vocal delivery before fully appreciating it.

Originally posted at my facebook page/blog

Gallifrey | 4/5 |


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