The Way Up and Down: “The Afterman”

Following closely on the heels of October’s “Afterman: Ascension” Coheed & Cambria dropped “Afterman: Descension” this week. Parts of it have been released as previews, and “Iron Fist” was an acoustic staple of the 2011 headline tour.

I loved Ascension, and had the nagging worry that Descension wouldn’t quite measure up. My doubts were as misdirected as Super Bowl proposition bets – Descension thoroughly rocks.

Despite hearing “Sentry” live, and seeing the pre-drop videos, tucking in with good headphones and the high quality encoding reveals even more grittiness and a Claudio solo that has the same controlled chaos as his hair. Only “Number City” deviates from crunchy expectations, and it’s not bad, just a little pop infused for my tastes (Horns? Synthesized or real, on a Coheed release?) Also in the pop vein, “Away We Go” has a hook that runs frighteningly deep – it may take over from “Blood Red Summer” with the most hummable 2-bar Coheed musical phrase. “Iron Fist” is more rounded and complex on the bottom as compared to the acoustic version, and it fits wonderfully well here.

Coheed’s late winter/early spring headline tour has just kicked off, and I’m looking forward to seeing at least two or three shows including their first Radio City gig in mid-March. I’m confident that the intensity of Descension will carry over live just as Ascension propelled the fall headline tour.

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