COHEED AND CAMBRIA
Perennially labelled as a progressive rock act, the amalgam of genres and fusion of disparate styles within Coheed and Cambria's music has seen their popularity soar peripheral to the prog scene's parameters over the years. As such, their appeal ranges from the casual rock fan to those who seek a degree of innovation in their music. And this bunch of American musicians, led by vocalist/guitarist Claudio Sanchez, have always been about innovatory songwriting. 'The Afterman: Ascension', their sixth studio album, is no exception. Part of a two album concept (its companion piece is scheduled for release in February next year), it progresses the band's 'Amory Wars' sci-fi saga by following the character of Sirius Amory. Musically, it's very much what you would expect from Sanchez and co. although the return of Josh Eppard behind the kit after a 5 year absence (he left in 2006 and re-joined last year prior to recordings commencing for 'The Afterman' albums) has injected Coheed's sound with a rhythmic groove that, in one sense, re-ignites a vibe from their earlier material on which he performed. Sanchez, once again, exercises his wide-ranging voice with moments of melodramatic intonation and narrative expression that's ever so apt for the storytelling nature of the music's conceptual essence. And with the album primed by a spoken-word piano-led intro piece, 'The Hollow', the mood is very much set for a narrative-based suite of songs. It's kind of no surprise that it's been recently announced a film production company will be transforming 'The Amory Wars' into a live-action movie. An inevitable move that many of the band's fans would no doubt have been expecting for some time.
My only gripe is that the decision to release 'The Afterman' concept as two discrete albums and not in a double disc package is perhaps a monetary motivated one as clocking in at a mere thirty nine minutes is somewhat on the short side for a Coheed and Cambria release. And the album seems short and 'incomplete' at its climax which will indubitably leave some listeners feeling unfulfilled. With next year's instalment only hitting the forty minute mark, it seems inexplicable all the music wasn't actually released simultaneously or perhaps even trimmed slightly to fit on a single disc, particularly with such a short gap between releases. Still, for what it is, as a standalone album, Coheed and Cambria's latest is a fine addition to their growing canon of work.
THE AFTERMAN: ASCENSION
Review by Mark Holmes
8th Oct 2012
1) The Hollow
2) Key Entity Extraction I: Domino The Destitute
3) The Afterman
4) Mothers of Man
5) Goodnight Fair Lady
6) Key Entity Extraction II: Hollywood The Cracked
7) Key Entity Extraction III: Vic The Butcher
8) Key Entity Extraction IV: Evagria The Faithful
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"Musically, it's very much what you would expect from Sanchez and co. although the return of Josh Eppard behind the kit after a 5 year absence...has injected Coheed's sound with a rhythmic groove that, in one sense, re-ignites a vibe from their earlier material..."