This past Tuesday was an important day for Coheed and Cambria fans across the world. It was the day that The Afterman: Descension, the final installment of the band’s two-part concept album series, was released. This album continues the storyline established in The Afterman: Ascension, which was released in October of last year. If you haven’t yet listened to the Ascension album, I would highly recommend that you do so immediately, and ideally before listening to this one. Not only is it an exceptional album, but it is also the necessary prequel to Descension in both music and plot. With that in mind, the release three days ago was understandably a highly anticipated event. Even with all the hype that was created, it still soared above expectations with flying colors. This is an album that will be sure to simultaneously satisfy longtime fans and convert new disciples.
One of the most unique and defining characteristics of Coheed and Cambria is undoubtedly the science fiction universe, known as The Amory Wars, within which the storylines of all seven of their albums are set. This is a highly impressive feat, considering the amount of detail used in defining such a universe. This is a band that has recognized the immense storytelling power of music, and is harnessing it for the purpose of creating an incomparable musical journey.
It is by no means a strictly regarded prerequisite, however, for the listener to be aware of the intricacies of such a complex story to enjoy the alluring songwriting and musicianship that define the group’s music. The Afterman: Descension is no exception; this album includes the whole gamut of rock styles and compositional techniques. Many of the songs are heavy-hitting jams that establish that familiar Coheed sound that we have all come to know and love. The final installment of the Key Entity Extraction suite, “V. Sentry the Defiant,” is a perfect example of this. On the other hand, “Dark Side of Me” is a brilliant representation of the lighter rock ballads at which the band excels.
To hear such a well-constructed album is truly inspirational. Each song on its own is a masterpiece, but when they come together as pieces of the same puzzle, the result is something extremely special. This record is a tremendous blend of chugging metal riffs, acoustic guitar noodling, spacey soundscapes, and, of course, Claudio Sanchez’s distinctive vocals. Here is a musical group that has successfully developed their own unique sound, and they proudly stick with it. This is a universal quality shared by all the artists that are featured here on Audio Intimacy; they bring something distinctively original and authentic to the table.
The Afterman: Descension (and Ascension) is a stroke of genius. I would urge anyone reading this to check it out as soon as possible. Science fiction enthusiasts, progressive metalheads, or alternative rock aficionados will all enjoy this album. Coheed and Cambria has done extremely well with the composition and production on this one.