The Afterman: Ascension review by Coheed and Cambria

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Oct 9, 2012
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.2 (145 votes)
Coheed and Cambria: The Afterman: Ascension
2

Sound — 9
Coheed And Cambria have always been an odd band to me from the beginning they have modeled their lyrics exclusively after a story written by vocalist/guitarist, Claudio Sanchez, and every album they release is a concept album. Their albums are often accompanied by a comic book covering the same material as the songs. Their sound has also been very original since they began, initially with a strong post-hardcore influence, and they've also incorporated elements of classic rock, progressive rock, pop punk, punk rock and heavy metal. Progressive rock has always been the unifying current through all their albums with their other influences seeming to wax and wane. The release of "The Afterman: Ascension" is the first album with Zach Cooper on bass, and the first time since 2005 that they have recorded with drummer Josh Eppard. Mic Todd, the previous bass player, was arrested for armed robbery and left the band shortly after this in 2011. The previous drummer, Chris Pennie, left the band in 2011 due to "creative differences". Since the lineup change the band has managed to gel well with the new and returning member.

"The Afterman: Ascension" consists of 9 tracks that clock in at just under 40 minutes. The composition seems much more reminiscent of old school 70's progressive rock than any of their previous work, while still incorporating all of their various influences. While I have always enjoyed Coheed And Cambria, I have always been a fan of older progressive rock and this album scratches both itches. While I think there will probably be pretty mixed opinions on this album, it may be my favorite release by Coheed And Cambria to date. There is much less distorted guitar than in some of their previous releases, and a lot of keyboards not nearly as heavy as most of their last release, "The Black Rainbow". Drummer, Josh Eppard, has made a strong return on this album and displays that he is a good match for the band. Zach Cooper also performs admirably and makes a good addition to the band. The album is mixed well, and the songs are well arranged, and the order they appear on the album has a good flow.

Lyrics — 9
To be perfectly honest, ClaUdio Sanchez's voice has always been my least favorite part of Coheed And Cambria's music, but either his voice is growing on me or he is improving as a vocalist. The vocal performance on the album is great and I don't have anything to complain about. I've listened to the album trying to figure out what they did as far as processing the vocals because it does seem like there is some processing I think that it is primarily some slight compression, but used in good taste. The lyrics focus on the character, Sirius Amory, and the spaceship called "All Mother".

Some of the lyrics from the album, from the track, "The Afterman", follows: "She gave her heart/ to a falling star/ the news filtered through of this tragedy/ all the walls went up/ around the world she climbs/ as the tears from her eyes fall/ no one understands and no one will/ all she has lost/ if he's not here then where/ if he's not here then where/ if he's not here then where/ if he's not here then where/ what she found in there/ you're the cold blue glare/ the words distressed in unfamiliar/ where the feelings sear/ an emptiness had hung/ and in her chest she clenched/ reality settled as the memories raced/ well, on a screen he lived". Pretty well written, and telling the story of the Amory Wars.

Overall Impression — 9
I have to say that I really enjoyed this album more than I expected, and I'm afraid that means that some Coheed And Cambria fans may not be as happy with the album. My personal taste in music has Coheed And Cambria in the fringes of what I like, but on this release I really enjoyed the album from beginning to end. My favorite songs on the album would have to be "Key Entity Extraction IV: Evagria The Faithful", "Subtraction", and "Mothers Of Men". I didn't really dislike any songs on the album, and I especially enjoyed the limited dialogue that goes on during the album. Especially at the beginning there is a dialogue between Sirius Amory and All Mother that is very "Donnie Darko"-esque on the track "The Hollow" that I really enjoyed. There is a lot of work done on the album to create the right atmosphere for each song to sit in and it was done well. The idea of a band creating music to tell a single underlining story is really interesting, and as each album releases they seem to get better at telling their story.

20 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Guns N' Chains
    Can't wait to get this. Every Coheed record is great. They never disappoint. I'm sure this one will be just as great as the previous releases.
    Zoxfan1109
    I really enjoyed this album and honestly feel like its a step towards them returning to their roots while still expanding in new directions. For instance as I was listening through the album I could hear elements from each of their past albums playing into the new songs but there were certain songs that could have been placed on old albums("Goodnight, Fair Lady" reminds me of some elements of IKSSE and almost like a slower version of the suffering or something off of Good Apollo.). As far as the album being short goes I guess I understand since this is the first half of the double album, the other album will have 9 songs as well and if its at least as long as this one that'll be an hour and twenty minutes of music which would have been fairly long for one album. I still wish they would go back to having some fun though like the poppier songs they had on IKSSE like blood red summer, I miss those days of coheed. Still overall I really love this album.
    a drummer
    ^ Tomorrow. Usually the biggest release of the week will get the friday front page so it can be featured all weekend. And for UG, The Parallax ll is the biggest release this week. This new Coheed is like a return to greatness for them. I knew having Josh Eppard back would change things for the better. 9/10
    troyofyort
    I wouldn't say they never dissappoint, I wasn't too big on the last 2 albums, however this is great. Although the Key entity songs are significantly better than the rest
    gorkyporky
    Its better than YOTBR, at least in my opinion. It sounds like coheed, again, altough i feel that The Afterman should be on a PFI album, not here. It's just so damn short, its over almost before it really begins. And i have to agree with the man above, the Key entity songs are better than the others. Still a great album, i can't wait for the second part to be released.
    Aays
    Great record. I kind of wish Chris had stayed though, that drumline on Guns of Summer is beyond intense
    Countsluggo
    Being a fan since the beginning, their last few albums always throw me for a bit of a loop the first time I hear it. this was no exception to that. After every listen i find something else i love about this record. Its a double album though, so I can't wait for part 2 since that was my only problem, its too damn short. haha
    vppark2
    Bought this album yesterday at fye. i do like the album but i think it needs to grow on me in order for me to listen more...i feel like theres a few filler-type tracks that were not very well needed on this.
    randyaintdead82
    This album's great!!I think that if they had just released the entire Afterman rather than split it into two parts, people wouldn't have that complaint. This definitely leaves me wanting more, can't wait to be able to sit down and listen to this thing as a whole
    crazysam23_Atax
    I've been a fan of Coheed since I picked up Good ApolloIV. And damn, is this great news?! It's like my day keeps getting better and better!
    Eurasian_C
    This album is seriously a masterpiece. I love everything they did on it; they expanded upon everything they've done and they even pulled off new tricks, particularly in Evagria The Faithful. I love this album and I'm definitely looking forward to Descension!
    AnEvilWalrus
    I'm not completely sure what to think of this album yet. It's definitely better than YOTBR, that's for sure, at least. I'm happy to hear the old sound to some degree in parts of this record, shows me they can still do it if they want to. But I do feel like they're feeling a good rock song much, much less than they're feeling this layered, atmospheric stuff that kinda dominates the album. It's not necessarily a bad thing though I suppose. Just personal preference because imo they're better at the rock aspect. Also yeah this album definitely feels like only half a record. I dunno if it can stand totally on its own two legs without Descension. I feel like I might have to hear Descension to be able to really enjoy it. There's nothing wrong with double albums but this one really does feel like it's being cut right in the middle.
    AnEvilWalrus
    I just listened to it again and holy **** is it ever good. They could have cut maybe one or two parts in the middle of Domino that kind of cause it to drag but other than that it's incredible (aside from the "half an album" thing). Coheed still have it.
    Paro_metalhead
    Good album, but it's bit short with only 9 tracks at only 39 minutes...could fit that on an EP!
    Worldonfire91
    HOLY JKDFJKAF! If the second album is as solid as this... man it will be a peak for their career.I'm so glad they went the more melodic route. The songs are just more personable that way. I had a disconnected feeling with YotBR because of that.