Coheed & Cambria did it again. They have successfully created yet another awesome concept album. The fact that it’s about a sci-fi universe makes it even better. Add to this the band’s obvious skills in song writing and making music, and you’ve got a formula that is unparalleled.
1. The Hollow
All that “The Hollow” really is is an introduction to the rest of the album. It’s quieter than most of the other stuff on the album, and since the rest of the album’s pretty heavy, this is a good way to start if off. Instead of actual vocals in this song, there’s a conversation between two of the album’s characters: The All Mother, and, I’m assuming Domino. The piano is awesome as well.
2. Key Entity Extraction I: Domino the Destitute
“Domino the Destitute” is one of Coheed’s heaviest songs. The guitar introduction is simply awesome, and sounds awesome. As soon as Claudio Sanchez starts singing, the guitar instantly gets heavier. The drumming is awesome on this track as well. As usual with Coheed, the song writing is stellar. Domino the Destitute is a song about – you guessed it – Domino. Judging by the lyrics, he’s a fighter, and doesn’t give up. Despite being about a fictional character, it can be applied to real life, and that’s something that Coheed does really well here. The style is awesome throughout the song’s eight minutes, never becoming too repetitive. Overall, this is just a great song, lyrically and musically. Plus it contributes a key piece of the album’s story, being about one of the album’s characters.
3. The Afterman
Again, this song has an excellent guitar intro. And the drum roll that’s added a few seconds in is great as well, and is a a style that Coheed and Cambria often uses in their quieter songs. This is a love song, and is very similar to songs like Pearl of the Stars and Made Out of Nothing (All That I Am). It’s about searching for someone you love, and devotion. I’m assuming that it’s about Evagria, another character. Another great song.
4. Mothers of Men
This is one of the album’s weaker songs. It’s kind of your standard rock song, which is something I generally don’t expect of Coheed. It sounds great, and it provides an awesome part of the album’s story. Again though, the band’s songwriting skills make it applicable to real life. The line “Nobody listens anymore, to what was said” is a great line that is a part of the story, but can also be applied to the world. A good song, but not great.
5. Goodnight Fair Lady
The outro of Mothers of Men lead into this song perfectly. The chatter at the end just stops and Claudio just says “Goodnight”. It’s great, and then the music begins. This is a quieter song, and is great musically. The guitar work on this song is some of the best on the album, and when it’s merged with the drum and bass lines it sounds great. Lyrically, there are some awesome lines. “It’s my fate to be your greatest mistake” is awesome. Another excellent song, though the end is kind of annoying.
6. Hollywood the Cracked
This song is about another character of the album, Hollywood. Who is, apparently, cracked. I guess. Anyways, it’s a great song. They get a little QOTSA guitar riff going at the beginning, and that is really awesome. The guitar work only gets better, before taking a backseat to Claudio Sanchez. The lyrics are awesome, and the chorus is great and really catchy. I know that doesn’t make a song, but it really does sound awesome. The line “She’s a few cards short of a full deck, a joker in the game” leads me to believe that Hollywood isn’t necessarily sane, and is something of a wild card. This adds perspective, as, at this point in the album, we’ve got the fighter, and now the wild card. Again, it’s awesome how applicable to real life this is. There’s always someone who’s a joker in the game, isn’t there?
7. Vic the Butcher
I have to say, I love how the songs lead into each other. From the explosions and other sound effects that make up the outro of Hollywood the Cracked comes the opening guitar riff of Vic the Butcher, as if it were rising from the ashes. That is an extremely effective tool, an sounds awesome. So this is another song about a character, this time Vic. This song is really fast and really have, and sounds frantic at points. That is really awesome. Lyrically, it’s awesome as well. “You think I care about your phony pleasantries?” and “The truth will cut you down to pieces” are both awesome lines that are about Vic, who is obviously someone who has been deceived in the past and doesn’t trust anyone as a result. And, again, the lyrics are applicable to real life. Coheed writes with in a masterful style. I’d also like to commend the chant of “Hang your secrets, hang em up, hang em up now”, as it’s really awesome. But the voice at the end is annoying, even though it does add to the story.
8. Evagria the Faithful
This song has almost a techno feel at the beginning. It’s another change of style, and is really awesome. This is the final Key Entity song on the album, and it’s awesome. Evagria is a character that is reliable, and, well, faithful. It’s a lot softer than the other Key Entity songs, but that’s alright, as you get the feeling that Evagria is the calmest of the Entities. It’s amazing how Coheed manages to get across the personality of a character through their musical style. The lyrics are great, and, again, applicable to real life. “I’m the bricks in your wall” describes Evagria, but there’s someone in everyone’s life that is the bricks in their wall. Again, it’s really awesome how the band manages to do that. It’s really, really awesome. And the use of some techno instruments (if you can call them instruments) in this song is really cool as well. Another awesome song.
This song is extremely similar to Pearl of the Stars. The vocals are different, almost as if Claudio’s whispering. Lyrically it’s amazing. “You gave your best, but you gave it once.” is a really awesome line. And ending the album with a quiet sing is a great move. And the music? It’s not all that complex, but it’s great, and provides a perfect backing for Claudio’s vocal work. It picks up at the end too, which sounds great, though it never goes as heavy as the rest album. Overall, a masterful ballad and a great way to end the first part of Coheed’s double album.
The Afterman: Ascension can be viewed as two separate albums. They Key Entity parts, and the remaining tracks. The Entity tracks are pretty heavy, and each has a different musical style that portrays the personality of the character. Also, the lyrics are great both in the context of the album and in real life. The same applies for the rest of the songs, though they aren’t as good musically. Overall, it is an excellent album.
What did you think? Comment with your opinion on the album!