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


Coheed And Cambria

Crossover Prog

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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

Report this review (#912401)
Posted Sunday, February 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars So...Coheed releases a new album...I already know I'm going to love this.

Yes, I am a massive Coheed fan. I don't really need to say more. But, to be honest, when this album was coming out...I wasn't really expecting much.

I think I was thinking at the time "eugh...double albums...this is going to be left over material". But...this is Coheed...there is a reason behind all this (also, making 2 albums for the price of one saves a lot of money) this a brilliant sequel...or just a hashed up follow up...

It's a brilliant sequel obviously, but the reason why it's brilliant is a bit different to what you would expect. The first album had a "we're back" mentality, with the album being very grand and at times could even be over the top. This album on the other hand has an interesting structure...with the heavier and more out there songs starting the album off...but the other half of the album has a more relaxed and more controlled feeling. This completely reflects the concept of the album, and it really works and actually helps the tones and emotions of the album.

As usual, the band are on top form, and have even shown a lot more experimentation on this album, and at times there experiments could even be described as fearless. Claudios voice has never been stronger in my opinion, and any comments like "he sounds like Geddy Lee on helium" and all that stuff, may even be lost now. Claudio, in my opinion has always had one of the most interesting voices in music, and many people may try and compare him to other people, but at the end of the one can.

1.Pretelethal - Usually Coheed start their albums with a simple instrumental introduction. It was very interesting to see them do a song like this. One of Coheed's most proggy moments in my opinion...and it's only really an introduction. 9/10

2. Key Entity Extraction V: Sentry The Defiant - The obvious single for the album. I remember when the acoustic version of this song leaked, I was pretty excited about this song. Then hearing a live version...and then seeing the band perform it live in the flesh...I was pretty stoked to hear the actual studio version. And yea, I love it. The only problem I have is when the high note is sung, Claudio tends to scream it, but I would have preferred him to have just sung it like he does in the last chorus. A small flaw, but meh, a pretty kick ass song nonetheless. 9/10

3. The Hard Sell - This song reminds me of Mother's Of Men. It has a similar feel and even structure to it. In fact, there may even be a link to these songs, but pretty kick ass nonetheless. Nice interesting harmonies and melodies throughout. 8/10

4. Number City - It starts off as a rather odd song, but as it progresses, its actually more of a return to form for the band. One of the most joyfull chorus' on a Coheed song. It twists and turns in a lot of weird manners, but still one of the most enjoyable songs on the album. 9/10

5. Gravity's Union - I think with Coheed epics, we can get 2 different types of songs. Like Domino in the last album, we had a "anthemic" epic. This is an example of a "progressive" epic, with its anthemic bits coming from the interesting twists and turns that the music has in it. One of Coheed's more interesting moments. 10/10

6. Away We Go - This song is pure cheese...but I love it. What, can I say, I just love cheese. For some reason, this song reminds of Journey (that'll explain the cheese). Definitely one of my favorite songs on the album. 10/10

7. Iron Fist - I remember when I heard the acoustic version of this song, I wasn't too excited. It was alright, but it really didn't excite me. Hearing this new version for the first time, I'm pretty impressed. They were able to take what I thought was an overly simple song, and really decorate it with something really brilliant. The instrumentation really gives this song its magic, and without it, it does seem a bit bland. 8/10

8. Dark Side Of Me - For some odd reason...this might be one of my favorite Coheed songs. Such a powerful vocal performance, and powerful lyrics (mainly due to this song being the climax of the concept). The music video for this song is a must see as well. 10/10

9. 2's My Favourite 1 -Ok...this is a great end to the album, but only one thing was going through my mind..."this sounds like Fall Out Boy." Good poppy ending to the album, and an interesting way to end the whole thing off. 9/10

CONCLUSION: Trying to pick a favorite between these 2 albums is a bit hard. The first one was a lot more in your face I think. This one is a lot more calmer and more easy listening. I think trying to choose between them is like a family choosing between 2 children. I love both albums and think they are masterpieces in Coheed's discographies, and prove that this band have a lot more to say in the coming years. Coheed have been album to get into my top lists of the year, 2 years in a row now. I will just assume that everything they make will be brilliant and never doubt them again.


Report this review (#935404)
Posted Tuesday, March 26, 2013 | Review Permalink

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