Coheed and Cambria

The Afterman: Ascension

01. The Hollow.
02. Key Entity Extraction I: Domino the Destitute
03. The Afterman
04. Mothers of Men
05. Goodnight, Fair Lady
06. Key Entity Extraction II: Holly Wood the Cracked
07. Key Entity Extraction III: Vic the Butcher
08. Key Entity Extraction IV: Evagria the Faithful
09. Subtraction

[10/09/12]
[Hundred Handed/Everything Evil]

Coheed And Cambria have long been a favorite at Heavy Blog, their progressive rock tendencies becoming more and more pronounced on each album, much to the delight of many. Sadly, their last album, Year Of The Black Rainbow, was largely considered a disappointment, due to the oppressive, inconsistent and muddled production job. Buried underneath the layers of fuzz was a collection of songs that ranged from good to great, but many were unable to look past the off-putting sound. Everyone will be happy to know that The Afterman: Ascension is both a stupendous return to form and perhaps even a career highlight for the band.

The first part of a two part album laying out the back-story to singer/guitarist Claudio Sanchez’s fictional Amory Wars storyline, Afterman is at once both more accessible and more progressive than any previous Coheed outing, boasting a smaller collection of songs that hold up well both as a full, flowing album and a collection of individual tracks, with a few exceptions. The first track is a short spoken intro that sets the tone well, introducing the two main characters for the concept about to take place. After that comes the seven minute long epic ‘Key Entity Extraction 1: Domino The Destitute’, a dense, riff heavy song that hearkens back to ‘No World For Tomorrow’, with some elements brought over from Claudio’s solo project, it’s a memorable and effective track, and a prog song that doesn’t overstay its welcome or devolve into noodling, as so many often do.

The title track of sorts is a song that sounds like it could be straight off of Second Stage Turbine Blade, something that’s sure to please people who have been let down by recent albums. The band’s decision to bring elements from past albums into this one makes for an interesting listening experience for those who’ve been following them for a while.

The bulk of the album consists of the ‘Key Entity Extraction’ tracks, each with their own sonic theme and place in the story. Which brings up the weakest element of this album; the story. Most tracks have some sort of intro or outro pertaining to the concept, and while a fan who’s invested in the lore will certainly welcome their inclusion, they may serve to disrupt the flow for more casual listeners. Nevertheless, Claudio continues his wonderfully abstract method of weaving a story, one that is focused on writing a coherent song, and it serves to make this a concept album that’s accessible to the casual listener as well as one who knows every facet of the story by heart.

The only other criticism that could be leveled is that, while running nearly forty four minutes, it seems to end sooner than one would like. However, it’s always better to have an album that leaves you wanting more, than an album that is overly bloated, and stays its welcome far too long. As an added bonus the band plans to follow up the album with a sequel titled The Afterman: Descension in early 2013, and if this record is any indication, part 2 should be a show stopper. This is the album many people wanted Year of The Black Rainbow to be, and should also please fans disenchanted with the band’s output since Good Apollo Pt.1 . Coheed are back, and better than ever.

Coheed and Cambria – The Afterman: Ascension gets…

4/5

– CK

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