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With the release of Coheed and Cambria´s latest and sixth album, we can report not one but two long awaited returns. On the one hand, Josh Eppard, who left the band for an indefinite time in 2006, resumes the drum post left empty by Chris Pennie. On the other hand, compared to the rather serious sounding predecessor album Year Of The Black Rainbow, the band remembered the more cheerful sounds of earlier albums like In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth. Happiness has returned.
That´s not all. Throughout the entire album, one encounters elements that are strangely familiar. Again, there´s a whole song complex, titled Key Entity Extraction I to IV, comprising tracks that somehow are connected with each other. There are the popular - especially at live gigs -“ohohoho” background choirs (Domino The Destitute) and doesn´t the starting riff of Vic The Butcher somehow remind of, err, Al The Killer from the In Keepings Secrets album?
Those déjà vus or, well déjà entendus (heard) bring up the question whether this is a sign of a lack of creativity. In the case of Coheed and Cambria, though, reminiscences like these can also be interpreted in a more positive light. All of the band´s albums are bound with each other through a story and so, in this way, the new album connects with earlier ones.
Speaking of story line. I have no idea what´s going on in Claudio Sanchez´ fuzzy head for a long time. The Afterman now even deviates from the main story and gives centre stage to a character, who, thus far, has only played a minor role, Sirius Amory. Sirius is a famous astronomer in the parallel universe Heaven´s Fence and makes a discovery that will change him and all mankind forever. So the story goes...
Those of you who want to know more can look forward to the second part of the concept album, The Afterman: Descension, due to be released in early 2013. Or to a feature film that is finally to be realised when everything works out as planned. It will tell the entire Amory Wars saga.
Bottom line: The Afterman: Ascension is an album that wins the listeners´ favours mostly through familiarity. And there´s nothing wrong with that.