Coheed and Cambria
The Afterman: Ascension


3.5
great

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
October 11th, 2012 | 707 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Afterman: Ascension marks indisputable growth for a band that up until this point seemed as if it had nowhere else to go.

For Coheed and Cambria disciples, the past five years or so have elicited a lukewarm, almost befuddled response. Their two albums, No World for Tomorrow and Year of the Black Rainbow, dabbled in retro and electronic territories, respectively, and garnered little more than an indifferent shrug from those who worshipped their opening trifecta like it was the holy grail of progressive rock. There was good reason for all of the dissension amongst fans, as signs seemed to point towards Coheed and Cambria losing a step; risking that slow, painful slide into oblivion that we’ve witnessed from other great artists far too often. The eight minute lead single ‘Key Entity Extinction: Domino The Destitute’ was just the apology that we needed to put our unquestioning trust back in the hands of Claudio Sanchez & co. – its heavy rock atmosphere and fluid progression surging like the unbridled optimism that the song managed to evoke. The question heading into The Afterman: Ascension was rather clear: have Coheed and Cambria risen above their recent challenges to produce yet another masterpiece, or is ‘Domino’ just another mirage – a swindle to the tune of Year of the Black Rainbow’s ‘Here We Are Juggernaut?’ The answer doesn’t come in black and white terms, unfortunately, but Coheed’s highly anticipated sixth album is definitely better than anything they’ve done in the past five years.

Afterman: Ascension is a rather brief endeavor, comprising itself of nine tracks totaling just under forty minutes – the first of two Afterman releases set to drop between now and February of 2013. The album’s brevity serves to its advantage, placing the majority of its emphasis on ‘The Key Entity Extraction’ tracks while ornamenting those four standouts with a handful of songs that range anywhere from average to superb. The best moments come early, in the form of the eerie, futuristic intro ‘The Hollow’, the previously discussed ‘Domino The Destitute’, and the complexly interweaving strings and electric guitars of the lush title track. The album may not maintain its impressive start with total uniformity, but the good news is that while it occasionally loses steam, it never actually falters. There are weaker songs, such as the tired-sounding ‘Goodnight, Fair Lady’, but most of the time Ascension is comfortably settled in the kind of midtempo groove that made The Second Stage Turbine Blade an instant classic. No, the songs aren’t quite as good or as fresh sounding as they were in 2002, but there’s also no denying how rejuvenated the band sounds during the chorus to ‘The Key Entity Extinction III: Vic The Butcher’, or the raw energy present in the opening verse of ‘Holly Wood The Cracked.’ While the heavy-handed influence of Year of the Black Rainbow can still be felt throughout this record (occasional electronic dabbling and a pervading tone of seriousness), there’s a tradeoff to be had – and the good outweighs the bad. The vast majority of loyal Coheed fans will discover at least a couple fleeting moments of pure progressive nirvana, making Ascension more than merely adequate.

Those who find fault with the album will most likely find it in a lot of the same places – the band spends too much time going over the top without a firm musical base or coherent plot, the sound can be too sleek and shiny (although, for the most part, this issue has been remedied since Black Rainbow), and even with the astounding ‘Domino The Destitute’, they’ve once again failed to create a song that matches the simultaneous power, complexity, and infectiousness of ‘Welcome Home.’ Although a lot of these issues are minor, they still undermine Coheed’s attempts to create something grander than From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness or as lovable as In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3. This record is juxtaposed somewhere in the middle – luring our attention but not stealing it, and teasing us with offerings of the past but rarely delivering with the conviction of ‘Domino’ or ‘Vic The Butcher.’ In a way, for as much of an improvement as it is over their prior two releases, The Afterman: Ascension shares a lot of the same qualities – and that alone prevents it from achieving magnum opus-like stature.

With Coheed and Cambria’s sixth studio album, they have completely revitalized their sound, thus presenting us with the album that we’ve all been waiting for since From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness’ waning days. Only in spurts does it ascend to the heights of the band’s opening three acts, but it does manage to triumphantly assert itself as a leaps and bounds improvement over Coheed’s most recent material. For faithful followers and new fans alike, The Afterman: Ascension is a genuinely good progressive rock album that will hopefully foreshadow even greater things to come from a talented quartet that seems to draw from an endless pool of creativity and imagination.



Recent reviews by this author
Yellowcard Lift a SailRobert Plant Lullaby And… The Ceaseless Roar
The Rentals Lost In AlphavilleLow Roar 0
Imogen Heap SparksThe Rosebuds Sand + Silence
user ratings (754)
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...

    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...

    Brent Stephenson (3.5)
    Not a true return to form, but at the very least proof that Coheed haven't run out of stea...

    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 
SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 10th 2012


16021 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

That other review on the front page is really good, and I'm publishing this a bit later than I intended because I was on vacation, so I hope it doesn't steal any thunder.

Anyhow, I like this album a lot and here's the stream that I'm sure you all already know about:

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

Digging: Yellowcard - Lift a Sail

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 10th 2012


16023 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Agree with the stuff you said after 'Those who find fault with the album...'
Enjoyed reading the review.

Digging: iamthemorning - Belighted

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
October 10th 2012


7116 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

agreed 100% with the review which was great. would be a 3.5 for me if I didn't love coheeds sound so much.

afergusonart
October 10th 2012


220 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

hey this album rules. good review

ThroneOfAgony
October 10th 2012


3485 Comments


Ok album, still think FFTTEOM IV and SSTB are their best..

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
October 10th 2012


50396 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Stealing my feature, right on

Digging: Viper the Rapper - You'll Cowards Don't Even Smoke Crack

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 10th 2012


16021 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Sorry bro, features before bros

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
October 10th 2012


50396 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Mine better stay flagged when all is said and done though
I've never had the main thread before, it rules

Ire
October 10th 2012


41780 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

wow man you couldn't even let treb have this

wow man


WOW.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 10th 2012


16023 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

you really hate this that much guys ?

Ire
October 10th 2012


41780 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

wow. wow. wow. wow.

unbelievable.

Kris.
October 10th 2012


12345 Comments


they’ve once again failed to create a song that matches the simultaneous power, complexity, and infectiousness of ‘Welcome Home.'



so so so so so so sos so sooooooooooooooooooo wrong holy shit its scary how wrong this is

ti0n
October 10th 2012


1393 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

nice review

Digging: Iceage - Plowing Into the Field of Love

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 10th 2012


16021 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

thanks ti0n

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 10th 2012


16023 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

fksake change that avatar i spend far too long staring like a rabbit in the headlights

Kubrick
October 10th 2012


746 Comments


You're an excellent writer. Keep doing what you're doing dude.

VicariousIntent
October 10th 2012


1593 Comments


You're a very good writer, and I always look forward to your reviews. We agree on a lot of things. But "indisputable
growth"? Sorry but I'll dispute that.

This may be better than YotBR but that's not saying much. If this had come out after Good Apollo everyone would have
been complaining about how they've stagnated, and they'd be right. Claudio writes the same songs over, and over, and
over.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
October 10th 2012


50396 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

"indisputable growth" to a 3.5?
Damn are you implying No World and Black Rainbow are like 2s or something

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 10th 2012


16021 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Thanks to both of you, that means a lot. And as for the indisputable growth line, I want that to be taken in the context of the prior two albums. I don't think this is a progression or expansion compared to some of their earliest material, although no matter how you look at it, it's still a very good album.

Ire
October 10th 2012


41780 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

wow would neg 100 times



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy