A playful infusion of influences and styles

With the first part of this double album concept released not more than 8 months ago, the wait between chapters shouldn’t have been too unbearable for fans of Coheed and Cambria, but the question remains: Does this album deliver on the high bar that was set with The Afterman: Ascension?

Whether you are immersed in the journey of its sci-fi leanings (‘All Mother’ makes its AI presence felt throughout the album like 2001: A Space Odyssey’s HAL 9000) or just in it for the tunes, there is nothing here that shouldn’t please fans and newbies alike. ‘Pretelethal’ soars as an opener with a stadium-rock grandiosity before the ‘Key Entity Extraction’ suite makes its final mark with the barnstorming ‘Sentry the Defiant’, rocking its way into C&C classic status much like ‘Domino the Destitute’ before it. ‘The Hard Sell’ is the most memorable song here, if not for its licence to groove but its domination in the chorus department; a catchy and addictive beast that is tailor-made for Sanchez’ silky vocal delivery and beckons repeat play. ‘Number City’ evokes Nine Inch Nails before finding its funk-groove adding another catchy chorus to the proceedings.

If I have one complaint about the album, it would be in the front-loading of rockier numbers. After the spectacular ‘Gravity’s Union’, the album drifts into the land of the ballad with four calmer tracks, the 80s classic rock stylings of ‘Away We Go’ and closer ‘2’s my Favorite 1’, the beautiful ‘Iron Fist’ boasting a sweet finger-picked guitar line and some ‘ba ba ba bada da’ sing-alongs sits nice and cosy alongside the contemplative and melancholic radio-bait beauty that is ‘Dark Side of Me’. Whilst all four songs have an honest charm, it almost creates an album of two halves as opposed to the peaks and valleys of Ascension.

The Afterman concept sees Coheed and Cambria sculpting their ‘David’ or painting their ‘Mona Lisa’; a pure artistic legacy that offers up a playful infusion of influences and styles which permeates a finely crafted body of songs, all tied up in a neat bow of sci-fi/comic geekdom. What more could you ask of them?

1. Pretelethal
2. Key Entity Extraction V: Sentry the Defiant
3. The Hard Cell
4. Number City
5. Gravity Union
6. Away We Go
7. Iron Fist
8. Dark Side of Me
9. 2’s My Favourite 1