The Afterman: Ascension - Coheed and Cambria
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 30 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30

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  1. May 8, 2014
    9
    At first I didn't like it that much but after another listen, I could help but love this album. From start to finish, Nothing but great tracks that would without a doubt be featured on a greatest hits for Coheed and Cambria. A must buy for sure and it more than makes up for the crappy Year of the Black Rainbow.
  2. Feb 26, 2013
    7
    Before I start this review I think I should mention that as of now this is the only album by prog-rock band Coheed and Cambria I’ve heard in full. I feel the need to point this out because from what I’ve heard this band has a continuous concept running throughout all their albums, this being their sixth, and as a result I don’t wanna come off clueless or ignorant when I don’t get a lyrical theme here and there. Still, I feel like one weakness in this album is that lyrically it’s too ambiguous to follow the cohesive storyline that’s gone throughout their discography, especially for someone who’s new to the “plot”. It’s not like opening up a book and starting in the middle, but rather like reading a book that’s got way too much symbolism to make any kind of clear sense. Pretty much nothing is specified, character-wise or plot-wise. Which wouldn’t be a problem if this album wasn’t meant to follow a cohesive story throughout. There are exceptions to this though, such as The Afterman, which paints an emotional picture of a couple having to deal with a loved one’s death. Or Goodnight Fair Lady, which has a much more straightforward lyrical presentation, at least in the verses. I’ve heard frontman Claudio Sanchez say that this song is partially the scene of a shady date-rapist in a bar set in a Broadway-esque style, and when you pay close attention to the lyrics it’s pretty easy to hear that situation, both lyrically and in the more upbeat and musical-friendly compositional technique. Still, this is not to say this album as a whole isn’t impressive at least musically, because it definitely is. One thing I appreciate about this band is that unlike a lot of progressive or experimental bands, they don’t sacrifice individual songcraft a catchiness in their ambitions. Mother of Men and Goodnight Fair Lady both contain their fair share of infectious guitar riffs and melodies. Plus the more soft and indie-rock leaning sound of The Afterman and Subtraction creates a nice somber atmosphere. The aforementioned musical vibe of Goodnight Fair Lady is just plain fun, which contrasts a lot with the subject matter. And the smooth, almost R&B-esque writing in the chorus of Evagria the Faithful is definitely a highlight. Elsewhere in the song it follows a similarly subdued style. Also despite a lot of polarizing opinions I like Claudio’s rather high voice. It’s got a Geddy Lee-like appeal to it. At the same time though, there’s a couple elements in various tracks that just don’t work. One example is the short vocal section in The Hollow, which features an absolutely awful deepening vocal effect that’s just goofy and annoying, and clearly not in an intended way. It nearly ruins an otherwise well-made instrumental intro. Domino the Destitute, while overall a pretty good prog-metal song, doesn’t justify its near 8-minute length. It barely should’ve gone over 6. That doesn’t get in the way too much though. Holly Wood the Cracked, while it does have a nice dirty and gritty hard rock sound, suffers from some annoying backing vocals and a slight overuse of dissonance. And Vic the Butcher just doesn’t work in pretty much any aspect. It’s a throwaway in my opinion. Still, despite all this, the elements that work really do have impressive results. There’s an overall great songwriting capability and a knack for memorability that, again, a lot of prog bands forget to take into account. It’s just that a few questionable decisions and a lack of lyrical clarity in a supposedly story-driven album keep The Afterman: Ascension keep being a really great one. I’ve heard that C&C has much better albums so I might have to give those a listen sometime. In the meantime though I got a lot of enjoyment out of this album despite its flaws. Top 5 songs: Evagria the Faithful, Goodnight Fair Lady, Subtraction, Mother of Men, The Afterman. Rating: 74/100 Expand
  3. Jan 5, 2013
    10
    It's not my favorite Coheed and Cambria album, but it is definitely accessible for new fans of the band. Coheed has an amazing wealth of inspiration and it shows on The Afterman: Ascension. Everything but rap and country, Coheed touches on almost every genre and reinvents them while doing so. Definitely an impressive album.
  4. Nov 20, 2012
    10
    I am a huge Coheed fan, and in my opinion this is definitely their best album to date. Every song is very emotional and powerful. The new bassist brings a very jazzy feeling to the rhythm section. Overall, the album has a feeling of loss and despair. Lots to love here- good job Claudio & Company :)
  5. Oct 22, 2012
    8
    A vast improvement following from YotBR. Not quite as good as some of their older albums (Good Apollo VI: Vol 1 still holds it's place as my personal favourite, and IKSoSE:III is also better) but it's definitely a good step back in the right direction. Relatively short - but it's left me eagerly awaiting the second half of the double album!
  6. Oct 16, 2012
    7
    Coheed and Cambria have come out with another great album here. While it is significantly shorter than any other of their albums, it is excused because it is only part one of a double album. They remarkably seem to have recovered from the slump in which their last two albums seem to have been produced. While not horrible albums, "The Year of the Black Rainbow" and "Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV: Volume II: there's No World For Tomorrow" strayed from Coheed and Cambria's familiar genre. The Afterman: Ascension returns to their roots so to speak, while still progressing the sound in certain areas (such as production quality). The Afterman: Ascension is truly a great album. Expand
  7. Oct 12, 2012
    10
    I really have enjoyed this album. It takes me back to the old days of Coheed and Cambria. I've enjoyed their past two albums but are really happy that they're kind of going back to the Keeping Secrets and Good Apollo days. Really looking forward to the second part next year!
  8. Oct 11, 2012
    10
    This album is fantastic - it's short because it's half of a double album, but there's a lot to love. Getting Josh Eppard back on drums was the best idea ever, and he absolutely kills it on this album. Otherwise, they've definitely returned to their older sound w/ guitars and melodies, but they've mixed in a lot of compelling time signatures and hits in this album which are a development over past albums.

    As far as the lyrics and stories go, I really haven no idea wtf Claudio is talking about but goddamn the music is sooo bomb.
    Expand
  9. PL3
    Oct 10, 2012
    5
    Coheed is my favorite band of all time, and this album is not the best. They say in interview they come back to the roots. Well, couple of guitar riff make me feel like the first album but. A lot of electronicish sound around and a lots of ballad on this album. The album is too short. The album is very good but some of the old coheed spirit missing. I'm glad because I dont buy the collector box. Still a great album period. But it feel like a new band and not the old coheed band I used to love in the past. Expand
Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. Feb 8, 2013
    60
    [The band's] hardcore sound is as tricky to keep up with as ever. [Mar 2013, p.101]
  2. Nov 2, 2012
    80
    It sparkles with invention, creativity, crushing use of dynamics and, when all's said and done, just really strong songs.
  3. Oct 29, 2012
    80
    So far so grandiose. Fortunately, Coheed's music mirrors the scope of the project as a whole here. [ 6 Oct 2012, p.54]