COHEED & CAMBRIA – Afterman: The Descension

Coheed & Cambria - The AftermathOnly four months after the release of Coheed & Cambria’s last album, Afterman: The Ascension, the band releases part 2 in the somewhat messy story, based on the story “The Amory Wars”,  see that review for me trying my best to shed some light over this story (however, I don’t think I succeed that well as I’m pretty clueless over it, even a Google search didn’t make matters easier…). The original idea was to make this a double album, but the band decided, rightfully so, that it would have been a bit too much for anyone to chew. Even when you put the confusing story aside and just focusing on the music, it is really a good idea to give the listener some space as C&C’s music is pretty complex and it can be a bit hard to keep the focus if the running time is too long. To be honest, I am still digging in to the first CD four months after it’s release.

What I can state only after one listen to this album is that this one is a much more easy listening affair than its predecessor as the songs are more direct and commercial. Commercial in C&C’s world does NOT mean any “whoa, whoa, livin’ on a prayer” – choruses or the likes. It is hardly likely that any of their tunes will become a mega smash hit any time soon – there is more depth to their songs than that, no matter how poppy they might be. So props to the guys for having the guts to release something like this. But I need to state once again that everything here is done in C&C mode and their sound very much remains the way we’re used to. Both “Peretelethal” and “Key Entity Extraction: Sentry The Defiant”, the album’s opening tracks, goes in the same vein as we were given on part 1, but by the third track “The Hard Sell” things starts to spread a bit more. The song is very groovy, almost funky at times and very catchy. “Number City” gets really close to schizophrenia as the song swings like crazy, adding both horns and influences from pop and 70’s disco and “Gravity’s Union” is both progressive and heavy, but also melodic and accessible. “Away We Go” is a total pop song, all done C&C style, of course and must be one of the most commercial songs they have ever written – one of my favourites on the album, “Iron Fist” has a title that says Heavy Metal (yes, Motörhead used that title for an album and a song…), but it is an acoustic based half ballad – how brilliant! The album ends with “2’s My Favourite 1”, a progressive pop rocker done the C&C way, that comes in an almost AOR-ish semblance – very well done.

Any fan of the band should not be scared off because of the commercial references here, because not once does the band sway off their sound or their brand, but I do think that people who normally doesn’t step into progressive territory might be able to enjoy this disc. I also found that it works very well to listen to both parts one after the other, it actually connects you with the music better, at least when you have had some time to get into part 1. You might not get this album if you’re listening to it in the background while doing the dishes or something like that, this kind of stuff needs the concentration of the listener, but after a couple of times without any outside distractions the songs sticks faster than you’d might think.

Jon Wilmenius (8/10)

Tracklist:

1. Pretelethal
2. Key Entity Extraction V: Sentry the Defiant
3. The Hard Sell
4. Number City
5. Gravity’s Union
6. Away We Go
7. Iron Fist
8. Dark Side of Me
9. 2’s My Favorite 1

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