The Afterman: Ascension Review

artist: Coheed and Cambria date: 10/10/2012 category: compact discs
Coheed and Cambria: The Afterman: Ascension
Released: Oct 9, 2012
Genre: Progressive Rock, Alternative Rock, Post-Hardcore
Label: Hundred Handed, Everything Evil
Number Of Tracks: 9
The first half of a double album, the album continues to follow the story of The Amory Wars. Stylistically, "The Afterman: Ascension" has much more of a classic rock sound than previous releases.
 Sound: 9.3
 Lyrics: 8.8
 Overall Impression: 9.5
 Overall rating:
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reviews (4) 27 comments vote for this album:
overall: 9
The Afterman: Ascension Featured review by: UG Team, on october 10, 2012
3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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. // 9

Lyrics: 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. // 9

Overall Impression: 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. // 9

- Brandon East (c) 2012

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overall: 9.7
The Afterman: Ascension Reviewed by: roland_96, on october 16, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: Being a pretty big fan of Coheed And Cambria, this album was exactly what I wanted out of a record from them. It had epic sound similar to the massive auditory onslaught from last years "Year Of The Black Rainbow", but avoided the pitfall of that record by sounding far less tense and overly serious. The poppy "Goodnight, Fair Lady" is a throwback to the sound of "Feathers" or "The Suffering" from previous records, which is a very welcome return. A progressive metal sound also permeates the album in songs like "Domino The Destitute" or "Holly Wood The Cracked"; they contain the chugging, heavy riffs that frontman Claudio Sanchez is known for churning out, and they sound as fresh as ever. The snake-like "Mothers Of Men" has a great Iron Maiden-tinged riff, and the stadium-bound "Vic The Butcher" has a chorus that will have you speeding down the highway at 70. However, the album isn't all masculine pomp and circumstance. There are several folky-electronica moments on the album such as "Evagria The Faithful" and "Subtraction", which visit a sound similar to that of Sanchez's side-project, the Prize Fighter Inferno. // 10

Lyrics: Though the album is part of an overarching story, the story would be almost indecipherable if not for the cover, art within the liner notes, and the announcements of the band itself. The lyrics of the album, however, are stunning, including my favorite from first single "Domino The Destitute": "Ladies and broken gentlemen, the undisputed champ of misery, and in chis corner, we find his challenger, the pride of Utopia, the greatest thing ever." Though Claudio's singing voice has been rather polarizing in the past, his melodies and narration of the story of Sirius Amory and his discovery of the Keywork (long story) are better than ever. // 9

Overall Impression: In summary, this is some of the best material that Coheed And Cambria have ever produced, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of this band, this genre, or rock music in general. Though the album is fairly balanced, and the songs on the record are all amazing, my favorite moments on the album come with the amazingly dynamic flow that the band creates, such as the bridges and breakdowns of songs like "Domino The Destitute" and "Holly Wood The Cracked", as well as the soft, flowing verses of "The Afterman", and the funk-y riffs in "Evagria The Faithful". An extremely well done album by an extremely talents band. // 10

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overall: 8.3
The Afterman: Ascension Reviewed by: hogara90, on october 22, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: Following on from the 'hard to get into' "Year Of The Black Rainbow", the sound of Coheed And Cambria hasn't evolved as much as reset. The look has altered too. When Joshua Eppard left the band following Apollo I, my disappointment was momentarily lifted when I heard Taylor Hawkins would be stepping in in his place. However, as much as "Apollo II" was the follow up album in name, it never felt like the band had progressed their sound or made a record to match or better its successor. Then came Chris Pennie and "YOTBR". An almost industrial sound came out of this album and while it is a good album with some great moments, a great Coheed album it was not. I don't like when bands purposely make a part 2 of a previous album to piggyback its success and not back their own capabilities, so it would be misleading to say that "The Afterman: Ascension" is the closest Coheed has come to "Apollo I" since releasing it. It would be unfair to compare these albums like I have done with their other albums to this point. That's because this new album finally evolved the sound that made "Apollo I" so mesmerizing. Drawing on what sounds like influences of Thin Lizzy, Pink Floyd and a myriad of 70's classic rock bands, there is a prog rock core to this record that is perfect in its delivery. At times, there are sluggish down-tuned metal riffs but always are the melodies and rhythm tight. Zach Cooper is a perfect fit with Josh Eppard who has returned to the band. Zach embodies the style and feel of Mic Todd with for me what seems to be a looser approach while still maintaining that tightness that is demanded from Eppard's pocket style drumming. The rhythm guitar as always is staccato filled beauty and crunchy while the lead compliments the vocals as much as it drives the song and intertwines seamlessly with the rhythm. // 8

Lyrics: Claudio Sanchez has upped his game and explored his boundaries. The first single I heard off this album was "Domino The Destitute". Here, Claudio is telling the tale of a boxer and his delivery is aggressive as it is tongue in cheek. "Ladies, and broken gentlemen, the undisputed champ, of misery" has a very sarcastic tone to it while "We are together!" can only be described as breathtaking in its intensity as the song draws to a close. For me, Claudio has done very well in exploring his range. On the title track "The Afterman", he again has managed to make my ears prick up and listen with the inclusion of simple but effective lyrics, "Your selfishness has robbed you, of the man you could have been. I wouldn't change a thing about you. I love you dearly... My friend". It seems like business as usual for Sanchez but there is subtle brilliance in the range of intensity and also the simplicity of the lyrics used. // 8

Overall Impression: This for me is their second best album if not on par with "Apollo I". There is a magic on this that is hard to miss. It did take me a few listens to fully get into but the way in which the songs are strung together gives it a flow that keeps you hooked. My three top songs would be "The Afterman", "Mothers Of Men" and "Key Entity Extraction IV: Evagria The Faithful". What I love about this is simply how they have managed to mix complicated and interesting music with the plain sound and simplicity of pop music. A difficult task for any band but one that reaps the best rewards (not always financially, but in my heart). I bought this album on iTunes and will buy a hard copy too for the artwork. I've only ever done this once before for an album and I'm a student with no job. I think that says a lot. // 9

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overall: 9.7
The Afterman: Ascension Reviewed by: Dio10101, on november 27, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: I come into this as a huge Coheed fan, with high expectations for everything they do. The album has a few notable departures from the norm, delving into Electro-Acoustic alternative music with Subtraction, and the ambient electronically driven "Evagria The Faithful". No two songs on the album sound the same(to my ears, at least) and that's one of my favorite things about the album. This album also has some of the most diverse range of guitar tones on any Coheed record. It has the punchy distortion tones from the earlier albums like "IKSSE3", and the fat bass-y drive from "YOTBR". This is also the first album with Josh Eppard (the original drummer for the band) since his departure, and it's good to have him back, along with Zach Cooper (new bassist for the band) who fits in very well, and really shows his stuff (especially on "Evagria The Faithful"). // 10

Lyrics: This album contains some of the better and some of the worse lyrics I've heard from the band. I can't question why he put them there though seeing as how they all fit into a larger concept (The Amory Wars - a running concept that goes through all Coheed And Cambria albums). My only real complaint to speak of is "Holly Wood The Cracked". The verses aren't bad, but they aren't great. The chorus however is kind of cliched sounding in terms of the lyrics ("Holly Wood Holly Wood, Watch out here she comes. Holly Wood Holly Wood Fu**ing a loaded gun"). There's a lot of repetition of simple lyrics on that one. The rest of the album is pretty interesting lyrically, especially tracks like "Domino The Destitute" (about their former bassist), "Evagria The Faithful", and "The Afterman". The lyrics ALWAYS fit the music though, even "Holly Wood The Cracked". Vocals are often the thing that make or break whether or not someone is a Coheed fan. It's really something you have to love or hate. I've seen few people not take a side. I absolutely LOVE Claudio's voice (he is my favorite singer), and I think this album has some of his best vocal performances to date. "Holly Wood" has some really nice belting in it, and the vocal arrangements on "Domino The Destitute" really showcase his ability as a vocalist and a songwriter. // 9

Overall Impression: This album one hundred percent holds it's own to all other Coheed albums, in my opinion. It is a solid album front to back, and there is not a single track I don't like. The most standout tracks to me have to be "Domino The Destitute", "Evagria The Faithful", "Mothers Of Men" and "Goodnight Fair Lady". Each one is written impeccably well, and holds my attention all the way through. They are simply great songs, performed by a great band. I really love how this album is so diverse. You literally go from an 8 minute heavy rock song to a three minute almost indie tune. And then you go from a poppy and upbeat rock song to a metal song. Then from another metal song to electronica. Each song stands alone well, but also works well paired with the other songs, when I listen to the album front to back. The only thing I hate is that the next album isn't out yet! If this were somehow lost, I would without a doubt buy it again. Definitely worth every cent. I'd buy it direct from the band that time though, instead of through Amazon. // 10

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