For years, I just didn’t “get” Coheed and Cambria. Their particular style provided an interesting crossover that pulled fans from pop-punk and prog rock, and I just couldn’t follow. I even once referred to them as “pseudo-prog” with 100% conviction. In hindsight, I attribute my distaste for them for feeling as though they “stole” drummer Chris Pennie from The Dillinger Escape Plan. Thankfully, I’ve since corrected the error of my ways, and I am currently one of “those” people who have a Keywork decal on my car.
Part of what makes Coheed and Cambria the source of such passion among fans is the compelling storyline the band have managed to weave throughout all of their albums. The story, referred to as The Amory Wars, is a bit of a space opera that tells the story of titular characters Coheed and Cambria Kilgannon and their struggle against a powerful space wizard (or something). Sounds like real nerdy stuff because, well, it is. But it rules, and the story actually provides a lot of emotive substance for Claudio & Co to pull from. The group’s most recent opus in the double album The Afterman is probably the most manly-tear filled record so far; to simplify greatly, the record tells of astronaut Sirius Amory’s discovery of Heaven and the series of events that leads him back in order to be with his wife, who tragically died after his return to Earth.
So it goes without saying that Coheed and Cambria’s conceptual Amory Wars universe is both heady and heart-felt. Ever since the group wrapped up The Afterman’s cycle, it was assumed that the group would pull yet another concept record, but it was hard telling where the group would go. The Kilgannons’ stories have been tied up, and The Afterman was a prequel about the discovery of The Keywork that bound the galaxy. Anything going forward would have to be an entirely new story within the universe. Or, you know, the band could drop the conceptual expectations entirely, much to the chagrin of fanatics everywhere.
The group’s freshly announced eighth album The Color Before The Sun will be the group’s first record to not feature an overarching concept to contribute to the Amory Wars universe. Coheed main-man Claudio Sanchez shrugged it off, saying, “I kind of want people to know that Coheed can write that sort of record. I’ve always said in the past that there’s never been a limitation on the band. It makes no sense to me to draw a line in the sand and never cross it.”
Fair enough! No one wants to be put into a box, and I’m sure it will do Claudio some good to be able to be rid of all pretense and speak directly from his own point of view instead of through characters by proxy.
The record’s first single, “You Got Spirit, Kid!” has been made available for streaming over at CoheedandCambria.com, and it’s a biting track that seems like a safe enough single style-wise (not by content, by any means) yet hints at a continuation of the style the band have been working towards on The Afterman. Personally, I get strong “Away We Go” vibes, with a short outro instrumental that digs into a little Pink Floyd influence, however brief it may be. Listen below.
I’m getting hype on the new album already. The Color Before The Sun will be out October 9th through 300 Entertainment. Expect further details to emerge in the coming weeks.