Coheed and Cambria- The Afterman: Ascension
Record Label: Hundred Handed/Everything Evil
Release Date: October 9, 2012
A disconcerting pattern is developing among some of my favorite bands these days. Bands come out with a buzz worthy album or two, and the skyís the limit. Next, the career defining album, where the band outlines its sound and place in the music scene, at this point the fan base grows to its largest. But itís the peak, the remainder of the time the band releases quality music that does not necessary make the fan base grow, but is more or less for die-hard fans (see Taking Back Sunday). Ascension is not earth shattering, will probably not win any major awards, or make Coheed a MTV mainstay; but it is a good record and will occupy my iPod, car stereo and ear buds for the foreseeable future. At times in Ascension, it feels like a soundtrack to Halo or Portal, with computerized voices and tones. Before I go any further I want to note that this review is a detailed look at the album for its musical value, not necessary a review of the story, which is awesome!
The one feature you expect from every Coheed record, is the musical range, one minute thereíll be screaming echoes, memorizing guitar riffs, the next minute your softly read poetry. This range has been the sharpest tool is C&Cís arsenal, keeping you guessing after every track. The album starts out with, The Hollow an intriguing instrumental that sets the tone of what to expect for the rest of the album. That tone being, computerized melodies tantalizingly continuing the Amory Wars saga. Key Entity Extraction I: Domino The Destitute is the album best offering, with killer guitars, moving vocals and alternating tempos. With elements of earlier C&C songs, The Destitute is a fast paced epic that does not let down. Claudio Sanchez Ďs vocal riffs mesh perfectly with the guitar riffs, and will have you humming along. Within the track is a set of hills and valleys of tempos. Equally as impressive is Josh Eppardís drumming on KEE III: Vic the Butcher. Evident throughout the entire song, the drums provide a powerful beat that drives this war cry of a track. Other stand out tracks include, Mothers of Men, Goodnight Fair Lady and KEE IV: Evagria the Faithful.
Tracks like The Afterman and Subtraction on the other hand, had me yearning more. Donít get me wrong, The Afterman is an okay track, but could be so much better. Most of the song sounds like a build up to an impressive closing. The end of the track does get heavy and interesting, but the buildup takes a little too long and is lacking any staying power. Subtraction was the low point of the album and wasn't the thrilling ending that Ascension deserved. With strange lyrics and vocals, Subtraction sounds like a hidden track, which found its way on to the final product. I understand that the Ascension is just the first part of the Afterman saga, but I expected a better-quality and more significant conclusion to the album, Subtraction ends abruptly and without a high-point.
Overall I am happy with my purchase of the Ascension, and am excited for its sequel. It has quality tracks and in itís entirely, is a good listen. I would recommend it to die-hard C&C fans and alternative rock fans.