Coheed and Cambria
The Afterman: Ascension


3.5
great

Review

by Alex Carlson USER (48 Reviews)
October 8th, 2012 | 61 replies | 7,441 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Coheed and Cambria's first half of their double album lacks a unified mood like their past albums, but still has some engaging and impressive tracks that'll keep you listening until Descension lands in 2013.

9 of 9 thought this review was well written

Coheed and Cambria should’ve never been a hit on radio. With such a tremendous emphasis on concept albums and over-the-top, seven-minute-long compositions on many of the band’s albums, they seemed to be just too ambitious to settle in the rock charts. They have always sat in between the yardbending storytelling of Rush and the heavier alternative rock of At the Drive-in, but since their debut album, the band has gathered a following that embraces their musicianship and their intricate narrative of the Amory Wars. Coheed and Cambria slowly began to pick up steam in the growingly complex story of the Keywork and its followers after four studio albums, mostly thanks to the amazing compositions that complimented an almost intimate story (seen best in the third album Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness). However, with their previous album, Year of the Black Rainbow, Coheed and Cambria’s skill began to harden and the intimacy had been taken away in favor of bigger tracks, not in size, but in mood. Year of the Black Rainbow was just TOO big.

The Afterman: Ascension is Coheed and Cambria’s sixth album, but it’s the first part of a double album with a new approach to the expansive mythos. Following the namesake of the Amory Wars, Sirius Amory, The Afterman mixes in startling encounters with dead souls and interplanetary energy links. It’s over-the-top as always, as Coheed and Cambria’s Amory Wars mythos has always been filled to the brim with mind-scrambling complexities and if you haven’t educated yourself with the graphic novels, you’re bound to be just as thrown off as ever. Especially with a full-length film on the way, understanding Claudio Sanchez’s massive mythology of robots, godlike writers, and interstellar energies is an uphill battle. The more relatable and personal elements seen in From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness are scrambled and mixed into a story that’s more about discovery than personal struggle. It’s more for the revisiting fans than newcomers, so if you’re new to Coheed’s mythology, Ascension won’t be up your alley when it comes to conceptual work.

But if you’re only out for the Coheed music, you’ll find a very surreal mix of new and old in The Afterman: Ascension. Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness seems to be in serious recall during the first half of The Afterman: Ascension, because Coheed and Cambria’s compositions (despite having such enormous and lofty settings in the mythos) nail that darker alternative rock vibe seen in their third studio album. The band has taken cues from other influences on “Key Entity Extraction II: Holly Wood the Cracked,” where Sanchez snarls alongside a heavy, heavy melody, sounding almost like Dirt-era Alice in Chains of all things. It’s in songs like “The Afterman” where things really get bizarre, with Sanchez echoing U2’s The Edge with lighter and toned guitar sounds, a stark contrast from other songs on the album. The No World for Tomorrow trappings appear in the later track “Key Entity Extraction III: Vic the Butcher,” where furious drums from Josh Eppard and a thunderous and climactic ending make the song one of the heaviest on the album. “Mothers of Men” and more prominently “Goodnight Fair Lady” echo “Apollo I: The Writing Writer” of From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness, a steady pace mixed with textured guitar themes from Sanchez

As can be gathered, The Afterman: Ascension is a mixed bag not in quality, but in tone. Being the first of a double album, The Afterman: Ascension is a brief portion of this big story, clocking in at around 39 minutes. For what it delivers, however, it’s a fine album, one with a band trying to step outside its comfort zone on some songs and holding their ground in others. The brief length is definitely a downer, but the album’s biggest flaw is its collective nature. While there are some fantastic songs on this album, the cohesion is lost when drawing from so many moods from the band’s past albums, especially for a concept album. There is no overarching mood emanating from The Afterman: Ascension, which makes the album feel anthological and scattered.

At the end of the day, The Afterman: Ascension takes bits and pieces from a number of past works to make an ultimately enjoyable first half of this double album. You can’t tell if it’s an intimate and personal album like From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness or a more epic and bombastic tale like Year of the Black Rainbow and that’s a discouragement. Coheed and Cambria is a band with a lot of great musical ideas; they’ve proven that from the get-go. The Afterman double album is off to a solid start, thanks to a revisiting of the better sounds of their career, but it also doesn’t feel cohesive enough to be a star player in the band’s catalog. If the bigger-than-big anthems of Year of the Black Rainbow threw you off, The Afterman: Ascension is the beginning of something more refined and textured for Coheed and Cambria. Right now, though, it’s just the beginning. Bring on The Afterman: Descension.



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user ratings (746)
Chart.
3.8
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Comments:Add a Comment 
PostMesmeric
October 8th 2012



317 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Stream on RollingStone.com: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/coheed-and-cambria-the-afterman-album-premiere-20121008

YoYoMancuso
October 8th 2012



10828 Comments


great review

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 8th 2012



19434 Comments


There's an actual full steam of this now? Fuck yes!

Digging: Musk Ox - Woodfall

theacademy
October 8th 2012



28232 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

yo can u text me your review

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 8th 2012



19434 Comments


@theacademy, me?

KILL
October 8th 2012



70543 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

weeeeeeee

Digging: Gal Costa - Gal Costa

heyadam
October 8th 2012



1704 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Really great review man. I ordered the box set and just got my digital download last night, so after classes today I'm going to chill and check this out again

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

paxman
October 8th 2012



4084 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

So the other review got deleted

paxman
October 8th 2012



4084 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I have to disagree with part of the review, because I think Black Rainbow was their most "intimate" album.

johnnydeking29
October 8th 2012



8976 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Am soooo hyped, my copy just got dispatched

Digging: Naked City - Radio

Oceanus
October 8th 2012



877 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'll try really hard to like this album, promise, but with track names like "Holly Wood the Cracked", it's just like...

ugh...

Cipieron
October 8th 2012



3508 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review, can't wait to pick this up tomorrow

StrizzMatik
October 8th 2012



3175 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is so much better than Year of the Black Rainbow, and it does an excellent job of bridging their older albums to their newer sound.

Digging: United Nations - The Next Four Years

Oblivioncry
October 8th 2012



601 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i really agree that the tone is scattered in all directions. there is no cohesion in atmosphere, style or tone. its all over the place. i like about every track (the hollywood track is off-putting at times) but the jarring switch in tone is bewildering.

zxlkho
October 8th 2012



3460 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is their best album since Good Apollo 1

marksellsuswallets
October 8th 2012



4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Keep trying to finish up a review for this but it's like a million words long. Eh. Holly Wood is seriously Coheed's worst song by a long shot, it's fucking terrible. I mean he named a character fucking Holly Wood...shit's mad lazy.

zxlkho
October 8th 2012



3460 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah Holly Wood is easily the worst on here. The rest is great though

static2dope
October 8th 2012



898 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

well this album sucks

JazzHands333
October 8th 2012



312 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review. Great album. I'm pleased that there's a stream that didn't get taken down rapidly so I can post my own.

Pos'd!

static2dope
October 8th 2012



898 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

actually the album isnt great its terrible so youre wrong change your rating. thanks



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