“All Mother, are you awake?
I am always awake. What do you require of me?
“You’ll stay with me, won’t you?
I’ll be there every step of the way.”
With that sad and eerie disembodied conversation, the first thing Coheed and Cambria’s new album, The Afterman: Ascension, gave me was chills. The feeling intensified as the following track, Key Entity Extraction I: Domino the Destitute, slowly built into an addicting anthem. As the album cruised along, I was sent forward and backward through the various sounds of Coheed’s past and a hint of where they could be going next. They had me firmly in their grasp. The final sensation, as the last track wound to its completion, was severe blue balls.
“Wait! That’s it!?!” My fully aroused mind cried when denied the satisfying climax usually offered by C&C. “It’s only 39 minutes!”(Is a short running time an odd complaint? Not when Coheed is concerned, sir).
This was beyond my comprehension. Every Coheed album before this had been a cohesive journey with a natural progression. They begin one way, evolve into something new, and then end somewhere entirely different with callbacks to what came before. It’s cool if they want to change things up – Coheed is all about change and progression – but to cut me off right in the middle like that…
Panicking, I jumped online to solve this mystery. Minutes later (sometimes it takes my cruddy computer a while to get going) I slapped myself. It was part one of a double album. My lips thinned and peeled apart in a greedy grin.
There was more.
I was already WAY behind on my Coheed news. I didn’t know the album I was already listening to was out until three months after its release. Afterman: The Descension is already slated to come out in February.
Feeling much better about things I put the album on repeat. I tend to listen to Coheed’s latest until it has essentially been downloaded to my brain. Instantly becoming the soundtrack to that particular few weeks of my life.
Soon the album started to stick. Weeks later the chills are just as fresh. The blue balls were not. I listened to the songs for what they were instead of what I thought they should be. I found that I LOVED 3 of them. 2 of which I am now addicted to. And the others were all really strong. As excited as I am for The Afterman: Decension, I am thuroughly enjoying Coheed’s current ascension.
Sometimes going back and listening to In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth 3, or one of the Good Apollo albums can be better than a journal. Once the intros begin, I am instantaneously reunited with the Me I was when first hearing it. A lot of music is like that with a lot of people. But it’s different with Coheed.
You see I learned about Coheed at a time when my faith in new music was at its lowest. This stuff called Emo was sweeping through my generation. Many of my friends devolved into angsty whiners with kinda long hair that they worked very hard at making look messy. They quoted nauseating lyrics like, “The truth is you could slit my throat. And with my one last gasping breath. I’d apologize for bleeding on your shirt.”
Are you kidding me?
They got worse. And worse. And worse. I literally wanted to go back in time and prevent my parents from ever conceiving me just so I wouldn’t ever have to be subjected to such repugnent garbage.
People started telling me that this band Coheed & Cambria is an Emo band for kids who hate Emo. “No such thing,” I told them, smelling of smug. I was right (obviously. It’s me, after all) for reasons other than what was apperant to me at the time.
The first ever image I saw of the band was for their song A Favor House Atlantic off of their second album. It looked like this:
As soon as Claudio’s head whipped around, the air blowing back his dark locks, and that hideous voice came out, (a voice I now find remarkable.) I forbade myself from ever giving them a chance.
Some time after that, I heard about the concept behind the band. There was some sort of sci-fi element behind their music. Claudio Sanchez had created this story about androids who didn’t know they were androids, of evil trimages, and another galaxy of 72 planets all united in a big triangle known as the keywork. That sounded…interesting.
I looked into it a little bit but there wasn’t much to find. At that time Claudio had been self publishing a comic book on the concept and they were next to impossible to find. All I had to go on was the music, which was still too odd for me to get into. That was really the first time I learned that although their music is centered around a space opera concept it isn’t the focus of it.
A year later, I as in college, waiting in line for some food, when I looked up and saw MtvU on the TVs lining the walls. I got my next glimpse of the band. It looked like this:
Was this the same band? How did they get that badass over a year or two? Is that footage part of the concept? I guess I’m going to have to look into this.
I went to their website. As soon as their page loaded the song from the video started to play.
And I listened.