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Finally breaking free of 'The Amory Wars' concept within which they've exercised their compositional muscle on each and every album to date, Coheed and Cambria's eighth studio album, 'The Color Before the Sun', is something of a new chapter and rebirth for the band. Not just in lyrical themes and their overriding conceptual aesthetic, but also in terms of the music itself. Of course, there's no radical songcraft renovation per se at work here; after all, it still sounds like Coheed and Cambria. Rather, they've reined in their more progressive side in favour of a very different innovative streak, and one that they've opted to showcase in more succinct and straightforward song structures. Combining prog/classic rock elements and anthemic 90s alt-rock crescendos with, dare I say, poppier persuasions, it all works ever so well.

'The Color Before the Sun' is loaded with great, skilfully composed music that's instantly accessible, albeit with so much emotional depth that we're not talking about ephemeral listening value here. Far from it, in fact. A lot of albums that offer accessibility from the off don't usually hold any potential for listening longevity, but there's a lot of variance in the compositions that, when coupled with the affective heterogeneity throughout the record, its profundity transcends its accessibility. And the various moods that characterise this album are derived not only from a compositional source, but the execution of each and every song. These are masterful musicians at work here; people who not only gel as a unit but seem to have a full awareness of precisely how to combine their instruments in both subtle and more obvious ways to bring to life each of the songs. There are no overt displays of technical virtuosity; rather, a true sense of refinement, rock energy and even restraint at times. It's a similar approach and vibe as drummer Josh Eppard's former band, 3. In fact, said band's frontman, Joey Eppard (Josh's brother) has a similar vocal range to Coheed's Claudio Sanchez, so there is a degree of sonic overlap here.

And yes, while on the subject of Sanchez, Coheed's guitar playing frontman, his voice is simply magnificent here; a man who's able to express such a depth of emotion through his voice while weaving all kinds of interesting vocal melodies into the tapestry of each and every instrumentation. His voice is as captivating as the music itself; both are at one in a simultaneity of sonic allure. Kudos, as well, to Sanchez for his lyrics. A nice balance of simple, but very effective, metaphors, and more literal discourse, the man's masterful with his choice of words.

While the overall production has a nicely balanced, organic sound (with a few vintage/classic sways in how the instruments have been recorded), Josh Eppard's kit sounds particularly gorgeous; its full acoustic beauty has been captured to perfection in all its glory. And the album, in its entirety, is a sonically stirring wonder, with raw rock dynamics that've been given just enough polish so as not to strip the instruments of their innate qualities. It's always refreshing to encounter a record that sounds like its living and breathing, rather than an over-produced one that's been starved of its natural essence. 'The Color Before the Sun' is, without a doubt, full of natural sounding wonderment. And constituted by ten cuts characterised by oodles of captivating charm, this is a very welcome return for Coheed and Cambria, and something of a refreshing one, given their emancipation from 'The Amory Wars'.
300 Entertainment
Review by Mark Holmes
16th Oct 2015
1) Island
2) Eraser
3) Colors
4) Here to Mars
5) Ghost
6) Atlas
7) Young Love
8) You Got Spirit, Kid
9) The Audience
10) Peace to the Mountain
"...constituted by ten cuts characterised by oodles of captivating charm, this is a very welcome return for Coheed and Cambria, and something of a refreshing one, given their emancipation from 'The Amory Wars'."