Review this album
Nov 26, 2013The thing that I think makes C&C stand out from other prog-rock bands is how unapologetically poppy the songwriting can be at times. Sure there are intricate solos, heavy riffs & an overall ambitious scope, but they're also not afraid of writing earworm hook after earworm hook. They're not afraid of just having fun on a song, or even experiment in different genres. Look at “Number City” for example, which incorporates electronic drums, almost ska-like guitar chords, and even a horn section in a way that just works fantastically. Or “Dark Side of Me”, which is downright R&B-like in the verses between the soft but emotive vocal delivery & smooth finger-picked clean guitar part. There's also the synth-touched soft rocker “Away We Go”, and closer “2's My Favorite 1” that could've easily fit on any Jimmy Eat World album from the last decade. Of course the rest of the album is great prog-rock in every sense (except length), but I love when a band in a genre with a lot of closed-minded fans throws away their stylistic filter & just goes crazy with whatever new idea comes to mind. Every track is memorable, and somehow the track flow still avoids being jarring in that department.
While this isn't the first C&C album I've heard (second following Ascension), it might as well because of that ongoing "story" The Amory Wars. Unfortunately, that leads me to the one thing that keeps me from absolutely loving this album is probably the same problem I'll have once I listen to the rest of C&C's discography. It seems like there's a lot lost in translation from comic to music. You wanna tell a cohesive story? Then tell a cohesive story. Don't just give me a bunch of vague situations from track to track & expect me to piece them together to create some semblance of a narrative that might kinda make a little bit of sense. The reason why some of the most revered concept albums of all time work so well is because the characters, situations & story progression are described with enough vividness to follow along without any kind of additional context. Sure there's a lot of symbolism & other figurative language thrown in for descriptive effect, but it's used to enhance the scene being set at that time, not to dilute it & confuse the listener. From what I've researched, this seems like a very elaborate & character-driven storyline. So why couldn't this have been as coherent as in the comic? Heck, the only mentioning of any character names happens either in the song titles with no explanation, or in these annoying outros that happen on a few songs involving dialogue between some guy & a vaguely computer/alien like female voice with an annoying pitch-lowing effect on it. These moments seem to only be here to lazily give exposition, which doesn't do much good when they're almost as cryptic as the songs before & after them. Luckily some songs are pretty strong lyrically on their own, but I still find it a bit frustrating that I'm unable to know what's really going on here & possibly get the full effect.
In the long run though, despite my little rant on that issue, if you listen just for the music this is a very impressive album. This is a prog-rock band that doesn't feel restrained to just being a prog-rock band, which I find very admirable from a musician's point of view. And even then the songs in the standard heavy prog-rock style are well-written enough to stand out individually. They just need to make these albums “The Amory Wars”, not “vague retellings of some situations that happen to take place in The Amory Wars".
Top 5 tracks: Number City, Sentry the Defiant, Dark Side of Me, The Hard Sell, Away We Go
My review page on Facebook: That Non-Elitist Music Fan… Expand
Feb 7, 2013Tracks to listen to on this: Pretelethal, Gravity's Union, Sentry The Defiant, The Hard Sell and Dark Side of me.
Pretelethal: Haunting and enchanting. The vocals have a mysterious yet beautiful tone and then it explodes into a Led Zeppelin/Pink Floyd-like chorus with great vocal harmony. Josh Eppard's drumming on this are jaw dropping.
Gravity's Union: This song changes tone and time signature about 6 times and has two seperate choruses (the latter chorus is so friggin' epic that you may envision a volcano with souls swarming around it as rain and lightening pour down). This is not only the best on this album, but probably the best Coheed and Cambria song ever (atleast in their top-10). It's very dramatic, theatric, poetic, inspiring, passionate, and powerful. A must listen for anyone who has ears.
Dark Side Of Me: This is the albums barn-burner and rock ballad. Very introspective, powerful, and ballad. Great lyrics.
The Hard Sell: The guitars in this song have a Van Halen groove to the guitar, Dio vocals, and a sweet Pink Floyd inspired guitar solo that all culminates into a chunky-metal chorus that has a Disturbed vibe to it. Coheed and Cambria is definitely a band that loves to be inspired and to use those inspirations to make great songs and this song is no exception.
Sentry The Defiant: The thick yet coherent guitar work here is superb. It has a soaring chorus.
Away We Go: The chorus to this song is so amazing sounding, it has a Thin Lizzies vibe to it and an overall classic-rock sound to the chorus.
Number City: If you are a long time Coheed fan, you may hate this song at first (as I did). This song is a "grower", because it is so infectiously poppy that it gets stuck in your head and it becomes undeniable. Number City is a good song because it breaks up the doom and gloom from the first three songs for a couple minutes. Number City is Descension's comic relief and it is a brilliant piece of story telling.
10/10, a must buy for anyone with ears.… Expand
Apr 26, 2013I hope I can hear songs the likes of Number City (The best counting song ever). It's very catchy and I'm sure you'll love it when you hear it. I also love the Sentry the Defiant, The Hard Sell and Gravity's Union. Those tracks will give you the feel of the band's early albums.
Feb 6, 2013Descension goes back to days of early Coheed, but with even more spark and originality. True rock, but with incredibe depth in lyricism that all relate to a beautiful story. Somehow this album bested its predecessor, Ascension (which was amazing), and has become possible the very best Coheed album of all-time, being only challenged by the three earliest works by this great band. Ascension 9.9, Descension 10, overall Afterman perfection. Check it out and Away We Go.… Expand