Coheed and Cambria – The Afterman: Descension (2013) Album Review

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Full Review 

Introduction

Coheed and Cambria are notorious for their incredibly ambitious and elaborate projects. Taking a concept to the next level and so far being a concept band, imagination in story telling has always been a bright focus of their music whilst never a necessary component to appreciate the technical and genre merging brilliance of this ‘New-Prog’ band.

The Afterman has a much more informative narrative than previous releases. Where the graphic novels and lyrical study helped the story progress in earlier projects, Afterman features a brief narrative guided by two characters; Sirius Amory, the man who discovers the keywork, and the All-Mother, arguably the ships Artificial Intelligence. The Afterman: Ascension was enjoyable without knowledge of the story as the songs all hold a personal meaning to the band members, mostly lead visionary Claudio Sanchez and this album is no less colourful.

Review

The Afterman: Descension continues on from Ascension musically and in narration. Opener Prelethal features vocals, like The Reaping from No World For Tomorrow, as opposed to The Hollow from Ascension and other album openers (Keeping The Blade – FTTEOM, The Ring In Return – IKSOSE:3, Second Stage Turbine Blade, STTB, One – YOTBR). Already different from other songs of theirs on the surface the opener is a strange hybrid of Pink Floyd, U2 and Rush. This changes in favour of the traditional ‘Heavy Coheed’ sound in Key Entity Extraction V: Sentry The Defiant, a song many have heard the acoustic version of online or even the live version at a concert. However unlike the previous album which had it’s fair share of heavy and melodic songs, the metal influence quickly falls away, only returning momentarily during Gravity’s Union which is possibly the weakest track. The Hard Sell, is a catchy up be, punchy song with an infectious groove. The band’s pop rock elements are noticeable in Away We Go and closer 2’s My Favourite 1. Iron Fist providing the albums acoustic ballad. It’s well put together but on the surface it appears to fall away towards the end. In spite of this, multiple listens allow the latter, more dynamic tracks to filter through and become more understandable and enjoyable.

I give The Afterman: Descension a subjective 8/10. Though the songs are good, it’s sadly over shadowed by the first chapter and other releases. However every listen makes the album even better. It is definitely not Coheed’s greatest release, but it is on to be proud of and one that will grow on any listener with an open mind.

Short Review

 Coheed and Cambria’s second half of their double album The Afterman, Descension is a deeper exploration into the band’s musical influences outside of rock. Though opening with a track that heralds influences of Pink Floyd, the album goes into stranger yet lighter territory. Keystone track Sentry the Defiant is the undisputed rock song, whereas Hard Cell & Number City feature funk and electro respectively. Though strange at first and perhaps dis-likable, the real interest is underneath the first listen and each play through unlocks the deeper cavities of Claudio Sanchez’s Amory Wars. A definite grower and fitting end to the Afterman series.

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