Album Reviews

Coheed and Cambria – The Afterman: Descension

on February 06, 2013, 12:02am
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The mythos behind Coheed and Cambria’s concept album career is exhausting. Along with five albums, there are comics and graphic novels that broaden the story of The Amory Wars to a dizzying scope. Finally, it seemed, the initial story behind the characters of “Coheed” and “Cambria” was completed with 2010’s Year of the Black Rainbow. Then the band announced a double album, to be released in two parts, giving the back story behind everything they had previously released. Entitled The Afterman: Ascension and The Afterman: Descension, the two albums follow Sirius Amory as he shoots into space to discover what makes “The Keywork” function.

Confused yet? Don’t worry; you don’t need the storyline to enjoy the music. The AftermanDescension picks things up where Ascension, released in October 2012, left off and sees Coheed and Cambria experimenting while preserving their prog-via-emo rock sound, all with mixed results.

Descension has the bombast of previous efforts in songs like “Key Entity Extraction V: Sentry the Defiant” and “The Hard Sell”. The former is more emo and the latter more metal, but both will satisfy longtime fans. Softer ballads like “Iron Fist” and “Away We Go”, on the other hand, lack the power of the aforementioned tracks, a forgettable stretch unfortunately in the middle of the album.

Then there’s “Number City”, which introduces an almost indie rock vibe. Opening with a funk-inspired, Nine Inch Nails-fuzz bass line, the music blows open into a bouncing guitar line and trudging drum beat leased out by Modest Mouse. Later on, they toss in some bursts of brass and doubled vocals shedding a whole new light to the band — and a few turned pages to the album’s story.

All the songs showcase lead singer and resident myth-maker Claudio Sanchez’s powerful, emotional voice– the band’s strongest weapon. While Descension lacks the razor hooks of “A Favor House Atlantic”, it does have Sanchez at his most visceral. His growl and howl on “The Hard Sell” are reminders that he has some of the best pipes around– and that he has more than one way of using them, unlike many others.

The Afterman: Descension will keep old fans happy, but it won’t be gaining new ones. It’s not that the storyline is too involved; it’s just that Coheed and Cambria have been doing this same thing for nearly a decade. But if “Number City” is any indication, they might find that more sonic experimentation and less complication suits them well.

Essential Tracks: “Number City”, “The Hard Sell”, and “Key Entity Extraction V: Sentry the Defiant”


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eric watkins
March 13, 2014 at 12:13 am

i’m not sure how you can review this album without mentioning the incredible “Gravity’s Union”. It’s perhaps the band’s greatest song ever, and is almost certainly the best track on the album.

Steve Stark
March 7, 2013 at 4:43 pm

No new fans?! You’re looking at one. I bought both discs of Afterman post January and like Descension even more than Ascension.

February 11, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Fantastic review! I agree with… everything. Even the prog-via-emo!

Justin Kukurudz
February 8, 2013 at 8:17 am

Bad review. Not because it was a somewhat negative review, it was from one point of view. The softer songs are fantastic, for people who enjoy softer songs. Is ‘emo’ a relevant term?

February 8, 2013 at 1:49 am

Anyone who calls Coheed “emo” clearly has no idea what they are talking about.

February 7, 2013 at 2:06 pm

He’s working on a movie. New fan’s will be gained, raguardless. Opinion’s like your’s mean nothing. You seriously just waisted your time with this one. Plus, their old albums are gnarly still, and they already have many old fans to spread the new word.

February 6, 2013 at 12:48 pm

They’ve been doing the same thing for a decade? Lol listen to Second Stage Turbine Blade


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