Coheed and Cambria
The Afterman: Ascension


3.5
great

Review

by Brent Stephenson USER (67 Reviews)
October 8th, 2012 | 32 replies | 2,510 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Not a true return to form, but at the very least proof that Coheed haven't run out of steam just yet.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Coheed and Cambria is a decisively difficult band to write about in a succinct or singular manner. Even in reference to a single album, the fact that their entire discography is based around Claudio Sanchez's expansive Amory Wars mythos has to be taken into account, breaking any illusion that any Coheed release exists in true isolation from its fellows, and on top of that, member changes, personal tribulations, and label changes have all left their distinct marks on the past few years of the band's career. In the aftermath of the arrest and expulsion of Michael Todd, to the recent reunion with original drummer Josh Eppard, and everything in between, The Afterman: Ascension sees Coheed more as a band struggling to recapture their footing rather than one that's experienced a true revitalization.

Up until this point in the band's career, the role that the story of the Amory Wars has played in the band's music has indeed been a central one, but it's remained more as a unifying thread that ties the thematic elements of the music and separate albums together. However, on The Afterman the story is placed front and center in a nearly blunt narrative style, giving the album more of the feel of a soundtrack and creating some fairly uncomfortable moments therein. By their very nature, Coheed has always straddled the line between campy and serious, but with tracks like "Holly Wood the Cracked" and "Evagria the Faithful", the band crosses into fullblown absurdity. The chugging intro riff and off key lead work that signals the intro of "Holly Wood" might actually have accomplished it's menacing intent if it wasn't the for off putting and slightly elementary lyrical content (I mean the character's name is Holly Wood, come on). Much in the same way, the rhythmic dinging and vocal patterns in the intro to "Evagria" wouldn't feel entirely out of place in a cheesy broadway musical bit.

That being said, The Afterman also contains some of Coheed's best moments since the release of Good Apollo I. "Domino the Destitute" brings back the 7+ minute prog outings that were missing from Year of the Black Rainbow in triumphant fashion, replete with driving rhythms, seamless transitions, fairly jaw dropping basslines, and choruses that prove that Claudio is still more than capable of producing massive hooks. In much the same fashion, the explosively riffy and hook laden "Vic the Butcher" begs the question of just how solid YotBR could have been without all the dead weight, and may just well be the band's best track since GAIV: I. "Mothers of Men" and "Goodnight, Fair Lady" both sit somewhere in between the poppy sensibilities of Blood Red Summer and The Suffering, and some of Good Apollo's noodlier moments, but contain enough of their own character to keep from feeling like filler, and "The Afterman" finds Coheed giving their softer side a much needed shot in the arm by exploring a much airier feel than most have come to expect.

With all of its triumphs and downfalls, The Afterman: Ascension seems to mark a turning point in the band's career in a "back to basics" sort of way without being overly cliché by (mostly) shifting focus away from the runaway elements that stretched YotBR so thin and left a sort of "phoned in" feeling to much of Good Apollo IV: II. However, it's important to note that Ascension isn't really Part I of a double album as much as it is the first half what seems to be an exceedingly long album, as "Subtraction" gives no real sense of finality or transition and ends the affair on sort of an anticlimax. Whether or not that was the best choice to make for the entire release remains to be seen, but for the most part, it seems that Coheed may be well on their way to recapturing their former glory.



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user ratings (746)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Starblind (2)
    A rushed, sloppy, unfocused mess of an album....

    Cam McNeil (4)
    Year of the Black Rainbow will forever be known as a temporary detour in the increasingly ...

    Alex Beebe (4)
    The boys of Coheed release another ambitious installment in their series of concept albums...

    SowingSeason STAFF (3.5)
    The Afterman: Ascension marks indisputable growth for a band that up until this point seem...

  • Robert Lowe CONTRIBUTOR (4)
    Welcome home Coheed fans, The Afterman: Ascension is so good it erases the damage done by ...

    Thompson D. Gerhart STAFF (4)
    Coheed and Cambria regroup and release the soul successor to From Fear Through The Eyes Of...

    Seth Barry-Hinton (4.5)
    Simultaneously a return to form and a step up....

    Alex Carlson (3.5)
    Coheed and Cambria's first half of their double album lacks a unified mood like their past...


Comments:Add a Comment 
marksellsuswallets
October 8th 2012



4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Kind of a hasty writeup but whatever. Before you get all buttdevastated by the rating read the review and then remember that I'm probably a bigger Coheed fan than you are.

Ire
October 8th 2012



41746 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

no no no

marksellsuswallets
October 8th 2012



4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Shut up maing.

Tyrael
October 8th 2012



20725 Comments


lol ramy

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
October 8th 2012



7971 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

After the past couple albums I was really not excited for this

marksellsuswallets
October 8th 2012



4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

They both had their good qualities and a fair amount of jams between them but yeah, I know what you mean.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
October 8th 2012



17196 Comments


josh and brent on the same post? if i click my heels 3 times can i go back to 2009?

marksellsuswallets
October 8th 2012



4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If only

RutseyLives
October 8th 2012



190 Comments


cogeed and gaymbria

marksellsuswallets
October 8th 2012



4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Demo version of Subtraction is better than the album version now that I listen to it.



heyadam
October 8th 2012



1704 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The title track has grown on me immensely: Your selfishness has robbed you of the man you could have been.. People complain about the lack of flow between songs, but in the context of the concept the sporadicalness fits perfectly.

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

marksellsuswallets
October 8th 2012



4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The concept was technically flipping between universes in Good Apollo I so they've accomplished the whole sporadic concept thing with a sense of flow already, and way better.

RutseyLives
October 8th 2012



190 Comments


2112>

marksellsuswallets
October 8th 2012



4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I miss the good trolls.

RutseyLives
October 8th 2012



190 Comments


lol there were never any good trolls nostalgia is messin with your head dude

marksellsuswallets
October 8th 2012



4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Eliminator bro

RutseyLives
October 8th 2012



190 Comments


nope

marksellsuswallets
October 8th 2012



4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yup

Dunpeal
October 9th 2012



3594 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

summary is spot on

marksellsuswallets
October 9th 2012



4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

God I miss being a contributor haha. I wish more people could admit Holly Wood is really atrocious and stop using the "heaviest Coheed evurrr" cop out just because "omg chugz ugguuuu".



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