Coheed and Cambria
The Unheavenly Creatures


4.0
excellent

Review

by Thompson D. Gerhart STAFF
October 9th, 2018 | 39 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A fluid collection of top-notch signature singles that espouses self-influence without self-indulgence.

As with most of Coheed and Cambria's albums, it's difficult to find fault in their latest outing. The first in a new series of Amory Wars-based concept pieces that will somehow eventually relate to the tale of a creator who talks to his demented bicycle, The Unheavenly Creatures takes on the Colosseum-rattling chants of No World for Tomorrow, the pop hooks of In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3, the electronics of Year of the Black Rainbow, and some grim edge from From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness. It's no shock that at this point in Coheed's career, their self-influence is readily apparent. The real surprise is that for all of the amalgamation of past sounds, The Unheavenly Creatures steers clear of mimicry and self-indulgence in delivering a new slew of relevant signature tracks.

Okay, so maybe an album full of 5+ minute tracks can't steer away from being labelled as "self-indulgent." But for all the runtime in the world, no track on The Unheavenly Creatures feels too bloated. Most feature significant change-ups and bridges that keep things fresh while maintaining the catchy feel of a deftly-directed single. In fact, though there's a solid flow on the album from start to finish, damn near every song on the album feels like it could be a single all its own.

This isn't entirely a Coheed first - I'd dare say the band have been making some of the catchiest rock music of the 21st century. Nor would I say it's necessarily an extraordinary positive for the band in the broader sense. While songs like "Toys" are undeniably fun and steady head-nodders, the consistent format striking the balance between offering radio-friendly cuts and fan appeasing long-form comes at the cost of any true C&C epics and suites in the vein of "The Light & The Glass", "2113", or "The Willing Well."

That said, the absence of Coheed's long-form songwriting isn't overbearing on The Unheavenly Creatures. In all honesty, with the way tracks like "Black Sunday" and "Queen of the Dark" take time to rev up to speed and given the already lengthy runtime of the album, I'd be concerned that anything longer would propel the album to a gluttonous bloat. As it stands, slow-burners like the aforementioned tracks certainly do pay off, though the band are at their best when the build-up is present, but not belabored. My favorite example here is "All On Fire," which fires from a somber piano intro to build into one of the album's most memorable choruses and inarguably hallmark fretboard dancing, only to mix that almost forgotten piano back in with the track's early-Coheed energy.

Naturally, the album's slowly accelerating tracks are buoyed by those with more immediate impact like "Love Protocol" (which features some of the same Police influences as fan-favorite "Number City"), "The Dark Sentencer," and "True Ugly." But perhaps only "The Pavilion (A Long Way Back)" brings an immediate, upbeat energy that just grows and grows, building from an absurdly catchy melody and keeping the listener immersed in its twinkling choruses as it continuously presses upward. Its only fault is that it's based almost entirely on a core melody that's taken nearly wholesale from Tears for Fears's "Everybody Wants to Rule the World." But hey, it's a good melody, right"

The Unheavenly Creatures finishes as an album of incredibly strong material for a band on their ninth studio recording. Every song on the album manages to drive both an air of "epicness" that was most apparent on No World for Tomorrow and a Coheed-specific quirky catchiness that the band has been refining for years. Still, I can't shake the feeling that a little something is missing - whether it's a "2113" or the introspective lyrical darkness of the group's first trio of albums. It's the same feeling I had with No World for Tomorrow - though no fault can be found with any material offered, there's still some little, invisible piece missing. But that piece is only what keeps The Unheavenly Creatures from reaching for honors like "album of the year," while its current state still qualifies it for a highly regarded honorable mention and a high degree of critical and commercial anticipation for what's to come on Vaxis Acts II through IV.



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user ratings (178)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Xenophanes STAFF (4)
Welcome Home...

Rowan5215 STAFF (4)
ok this is epic...

btpw (3.5)
Not what I hoped it would be, but still another strong effort in an impressive back catalog....

Balto (4.5)
"Welcome Home."...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Odal
October 9th 2018


351 Comments


Great review. I do agree that the album is missing a long and sweeping multi-part song to tie things together, but that's really my only complaint. I'm a huge Coheed fanboy to the point that I've pretty much grown to like all their songs and can ignore their (admittedly many) faults. Some of the songs like Queen of the Dark and Lucky Stars don't really hit their mark for me and I find Night-Time Walkers pretty hilarious with its over-the-top robot vocals, but these flaws have always made me appreciate them more and how they just...go for it.

I think Claudio's songwriting has maybe stagnated a bit since they tend to not take as many risks as their older material, but I'll be damned if I haven't been jamming this nonstop since it released.

Toondude10
October 9th 2018


13242 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

sweet review



liked this more than you did but I definitely get why people wouldn't really dig this as much

Digging: Ice Nine Kills - The Silver Scream

Xenophanes
Staff Reviewer
October 9th 2018


1385 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Two staff reviews with the same rating lmbo

Digging: Coheed and Cambria - Vaxis - Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures

SowingSeason
Moderator
October 9th 2018


28087 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Guess it's time for me to drop my review as well.

Digging: mewithoutYou - [Untitled]

bowlermicah
October 9th 2018


36 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"As with most of Coheed and Cambria's albums, it's difficult to find fault in their latest outing."

Coheed is my favorite band, but this ain't it.

BeyondCosby
October 9th 2018


2211 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Solid review man. I agree with your sentiment that the album is missing something a little more.... "rewarding". I think this album could have benefit from something a little longer, but it's still so damn good.

Point1
October 9th 2018


343 Comments


the fuck is a vaxis

BeyondCosby
October 9th 2018


2211 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's one of the character's name.

AtomicWaste
Moderator
October 9th 2018


2777 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is a suite of albums about Vaxisnation. Vaxisnate your children.

Hellscythe
October 9th 2018


2924 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

interestingly, the Vaxis - Act 1 portion of the title doesn't actually appear anywhere on the packaging whatsoever.

bowlermicah
October 9th 2018


36 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

They pulled a NWFT. That one is technically Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV: Volume Two - No World for Tomorrow.

Xenophanes
Staff Reviewer
October 9th 2018


1385 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Sowing maybe we’ll make this the Age of Adz 2018

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
October 9th 2018


31306 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

just so were all clear:



acceptance speech actually got more staff love than age of adz (and deservedly so)

Xenophanes
Staff Reviewer
October 9th 2018


1385 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

True, but I don’t think that all of those people were staff at the same time nor were they all the same rating.

Storm In A Teacup
October 9th 2018


24024 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

less than a month before I get to see them again. love it

Sauce
October 9th 2018


903 Comments


i wanna 4.5 it but it's definitely just a 4 : (

Green Baron
October 9th 2018


24300 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I wish the Toys-True Ugly set was cut from the album

Almost done, but those are the 4 weakest songs back to back to back to back

Green Baron
October 9th 2018


24300 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nevermind, Old Flames is weak as fuck



a whole minute of na na nas, really guys

Sauce
October 9th 2018


903 Comments


wtf true ugly is my favorite track on the album

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
October 9th 2018


40652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

a) are there literally people who don't like Toys and b) why do they think it's acceptable to share that opinion with the world



great review atomic

Digging: St. Vincent - MassEducation



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