The Afterman: Ascension
COHEED AND CAMBRIA

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COHEED AND CAMBRIA - The Afterman: Ascension cover
4.29 | 10 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2012

Filed under Progressive Metal

Tracklist

1. The Hollow
2. Key Entity Extraction I: Domino The Destitute
3. The Afterman
4. Mothers Of Men
5. Goodnight, Fair Lady
6. Key Entity Extraction II: Hollywood The Cracked
7. Key Entity Extraction III: Vic The Butcher
8. Key Entity Extraction IV: Evagria The Faithful
9. Subtraction

Line-up/Musicians

- Claudio Sanchez / vocals, guitars
- Travis Stever / guitar, backing vocals
- Zach Cooper / bass, backing vocals
- Josh Eppard / drums, percussion

About this release

Released October 9, 2012, on Hundred Handed/Everything Evil.

Thanks to Time Signature for the addition and Stooge for the updates

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COHEED AND CAMBRIA THE AFTERMAN: ASCENSION reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

arcane-beautiful
Coheed is back...with a new agenda.

Ok, I think everyone should know that I'm a massive fan of this band. From being in bands that basically where cover bands of this band and buying everything they own, yea, I have known them for a long time.

Now, the build up to this album was rather secretive, and its interesting because usually Coheed treat a new album like the second coming of Christ. It might be due to the fact these guys are now signed to there own label, and not to a major one anymore. So really, buying this album is buying each member of the band a cheap KFC. So you should buy it out of charity really.

Now on every album, Coheed do something different, and as usual, they can be notably seen. From the mixed reviews of Year Of The Black Rainbow from critics and fans alike, Coheed decided to ditch the weird production and dark Nine Inch Nails sounding atmospheres, and go back to songwriting, and it worked like a treat on this album.

The songwriting has actually become a lot more compact, and a maturer sound is really appearing on the album. The songs sound more contemporary at times and more to the point. The length of the album also helps the feeling of being “compact”. It's over in heartbeat, and it feels like you just listened to a great string of songs, in order. Usually Coheed albums are a bit longer, and more filler moments can be heard, but this format really works well for the band, and the sequel to this album will also match the feelings felt on this album.

Now concept wise, the band have taken a different approach. Instead of one linear narrative, it focuses on different events and character profiles, as the protagonist Sirius Armory travels back to his past and sees the life through different characters eyes. An interesting idea for a concept, and a great idea to cover an entire double album (in fact, it reminds me a little bit of Ayreon's Flight Of The Navigator double album)

Musically, the band have changed a bit, especially with a new line up. Josh's return to the band has brought back the more rockier drum sound, and new bassist Zach Cooper is just an amazing bassist, who gives the album a certain warmness. Claudio's voice is also better than ever too. Also, I suggest seeing the band live (as I did in November) for an amazing experience. This band will always be dear to my heart.

1. The Hollow – An amazing intro to the album. The atmospheric keyboards, the creepy narration. Perfect way to keep a listener to keep on listening and wait for what's happening next. 10/10

2. Key Entity Extraction I: Domino The Destitute – Ok, I have to admit. When this song was leaked, I was a bit obsessed with it. Out of all the Coheed epics, this is probably my favourite. Also, out of all their longer songs, this seems to be the most compact one. Nothing really gets boring, every section is as enjoyable and interesting as the next, and a lot of climaxes will be heard throughout. Also, it is probably one of Claudio's best lyrical moments. This definitely goes on the top of my list of favourite Coheed songs. 10/10

3. The Afterman – One of Coheed's more softer moments. A very beautiful yet tragic song. The strings on this song are nice touch as well. 10/10

4. Mothers Of Men – One of my least favorite songs on the album, but when considering Coheed, that's like saying my least favourite cake. One of the more rhythmical songs on the album, with a very interesting arrangement throughout. 9/10

5. Goodnight, Fair Lady – A pop song about date rape. Only Coheed could get away with this. The date rape does add a touch of dark humour to the song, but other than that, its incredibly joyous and catchy. 10/10

6. Key Entity Extraction II: Holly Wood The Cracked – This would have been one of the shining moments on this album, the only problem I have with it is that it's too short (usually songs need to be cut down for some bands, Coheed need to make them longer). A more darker side to Coheed, and a flashback to some of the darker material on Year Of The Black Rainbow. One of the albums best chorus' as well. 9/10

7. Key Entity Extraction III: Vic The Butcher – The albums most rocking song. A great sing along chorus and some really kick ass fist in the air moments. This will run around your head through the next few days. 9/10

8. Key Entity Extraction IV: Evagria the Faithful – Probably one of the nicest Coheed softer moments. A very melodic tinged song with a very powerful chorus. I'm glad Josh is back as well, because the drumming on this song really is top notch and some of his best. 10/10

9. Subtraction – An odd way to end off an album, but rather pretty and nice. The arrangement I think is great too, especially the use of keyboards. I have heard that this was supposed to be a Prize Fighter Inferno song, so you can expect a few electronic glitches and soft keys. 9/10

CONCLUSION: This may not be my favourite Coheed album, but after thinking it through, this may be the album that I would give to someone if they wanted to get into Coheed, because it really has everything, and a little bit more. The band have changed a lot over the years, but there's eve stabs back at there older sounds, and even more on the 2nd part of this album (which I will review at some point as well). The shortness of the album also helps a lot more. A very compact little package. Also its Coheed, so expect a masterpiece of music and songwriting.

8.7/10
Kingcrimsonprog
The Afterman: Ascension is the sixth full-length studio album from the unique American band Coheed And Cambria.

If you have never heard the band before, they mix Progressive Rock tendencies such as long conceptual tracks, multiple time signatures, recurring themes, occasional use of keys and electronics etc with occasional heavy sections of heavily distorted low pitched guitars and double-kicks, although the band never go too far with either and mainly tend to exist around a core sound of cheerful melodic alternative rock (that’s just a bit more varied and expressive than usual). As such, the band can cultivate a broad audience from Metal fans to Emo fans to Prog fans, and are especially suited to fans of all three.

They also have an incredibly expressive and diverse signer who is most famous for his high-pitched slightly feminine vocals but also has an unbelievably large range of tones and styles and can convey emotion vocally better than almost any of his peers. He is able to display a character’s conviction, sadness or pain really effectively which makes for seriously interesting listening.

Like their two Good Apollo albums (which were the band’s third and fourth studio albums), The Afterman is a set of two related albums consisting of this 2012 album, Ascension, and 2013′s upcoming Descension album, although that being said The Afterman is more truly a double album than the two Apollos were since both parts were written and recorded simultaneously this time.

Like all double albums this inevitably raises the question of whether the band should have just taken the best tracks and made one very good album, and I guess we’ll have to wait until 2013 to really find out.

Musically, this particular album covers a few different angles. For example, with the return of drummer Josh Eppard after a two-album absence, there are parts of the record which are fairly reminiscent of the band’s earlier work in feel, such as in a lot of the aforementioned `The Key Entity Extraction I: Domino The Destitute’ and `Goodnight, Fair Lady.’

There are also moments such as `The Key Entity Extraction III: Vic The Butcher’ and `Mothers Of Men’ which are more reminiscent of the direction that the band went on their previous album Year Of The Black Rainbow as well as some territory that’s fairly unexplored for the band at all.

When you get down to it, this isn’t necessarily the band’s most heavy or energetic album, or indeed particularly filled with ballads and soft songs. It sits somewhere in the middle of the band’s musical spectrum, but as long as you just enjoy the music that’s there it shouldn’t be a problem. Luckily, the music that’s there is very good.

Lyrically; Like all of the band’s albums the lyrics tell a part of the story of The Amory Wars, a complex multi-generational cross-media Sci-Fi story, set in the fictional universe of Heaven’s Fence, that is also illustrated in-part in graphic novels, actual novels, Coffee Table Books, an upcoming movie project with Mark Walburg and in the lyrics of band member’s side projects. The Afterman’s story takes place around the very beginning of the timeline, before the events chronicled in the band’s first four albums and deals with Sirius Amory and his All Mother spaceship (which occasionally talks during the tracks) as well as the background to a few lost souls. It centers around the revelation that the Keyframe is actually powered by the souls of the dead, imprisoning them in a grim afterlife.

In terms of the production job, by Michael Birnbaum, Chris Bittner & the band, the album sounds possibly closest to Good Apollo Part 1. The band’s previous two albums were often criticized for their production jobs and with this record, although it may still not please everyone, it seems to be aiming for a more normal sound, not going too weird or too sweet. Its fairly brief in length, but then it is only one half of a double album so that’s to be expected.

I have to admit that initially, I was actually a little disappointed by the album, as the pre-released tracks `The Key Entity Extraction I: Domino The Destitute’ and its title track `The Afterman’ were so absolutely brilliant (right from the off, they became two of my favourite Coheed tracks and they just keep getting better on each listen) that when it came to the rest of the album, nothing else felt of an equal quality. This wouldn’t be a problem for anyone who just listens to the record for the first time without hearing anything beforehand though, you’d just get a great record with two obvious highlights. It also has to be said that the feeling of disappointment did go away on repeat listens, as the second half of the album grew on me a lot.

Overall; The Afterman: Ascension is a grower and you should definitely add it to your Coheed collection if you are already a fan. It contains some very strong songs (two of the finest Coheed songs ever in tracks two and three) and covers enough of their different styles to interest fans of almost all the band’s eras at least a little bit. If you never heard the band at all, you may want to start your collection elsewhere with some of the more fan-favourite stuff and then move to this once you know you definitely like them.

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