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Coheed and Cambria — The Afterman Descension [Deluxe Edition, iTunes Deluxe Edition] (2013)

 Coheed and Cambria — The Afterman Descension [Deluxe Edition, iTunes Deluxe Edition] (2013)

Coheed and Cambria — The Afterman Descension
Also known as: Beautiful Loser / Shabütie
Location: Nyack, New York, USA
Album release: 2013
Record Label: Everything Evil / VVR28626
Duration:     58:07
Tracks:
01. Pretelethal      3:21
02. Key Entity Extraction V: Sentry The Defiant      5:45
03. The Hard Sell      5:10
04. Number City      3:49
05. Gravity's Union      6:46
06. Away We Go      3:55
07. Iron Fist      4:46
08. Dark Side Of Me      5:03
09. 2's My Favorite 1      4:55
Deluxe Edition:
10. Iron Fist (acoustic stripped demo)     4:36
11. 2's My Favourite 1 (piano demo)     3:26
12. Gravity's Union (demo)     6:37
iTunes Deluxe Edition:
10. Dark Side of Me (Einziger and Sanchez Remix)      4:24
11. Carol Ann      5:05
12. Random Reality Shifts      5:46
Members:
Current:
Claudio Sanchez – lead vocals, guitar (1995–present)
Travis Stever – guitar, backing vocals, lap Steel (1995, 1999–present)
Josh Eppard – drums, backing vocals, keyboards (2000–2006, 2011–present)
Zach Cooper – bass, backing vocals (2012–present)
Former:
Nate Kelley – drums, backing vocals percussion (1995–2000)
Jon Carleo – bass (1995–1996)
Mic Todd – bass, backing vocals (1996–2006, 2007–2011)
Chris Pennie – drums, percussion (2007–2011)
Touring:
Dave Parker – keyboards (2005–2006)
Wes Styles – keyboards (2007–2010), bass (2011–2012)
Studio Recording:
Taylor Hawkins – drums (2007)
(Chris Pennie wrote the original drum parts but was unable to record due to contract issues)
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CLAUDIO SANCHEZ
Birth name: Claudio Paul Sanchez III
Born: March 12, 1978, Suffern, New York, United States
Instruments: Guitar, keyboards, synthesizers, harmonica, vocals
Gear:
Electric Guitars:
- Gibson EDS-1275 Doubleneck SG in Alpine White with EMG-81/85 in 6-string, EMG-85/60 in 12-string
- Gibson '76 Explorer Reissue in Classic White with EMG-81/85 pick-ups, a Graph-Tech nut and Black Schaller tuners (With a Puerto Rican flag sticker behind the tailpiece)
- Gibson '76 Explorer Reissue in Classic White, kept stock (The Running Free video)
- Gibson '76 Explorer Reissue in Ebony with EMG-81/85 pick-ups
- Gibson '76 Explorer Reissue in Cherry Red, kept stock
- Gibson '82 Explorer E2 in Natural Walnut/Maple 5 Piece Contoured Body/Neck with EMG-81/85 pick-ups, a Graph-Tech nut, and Gold Schallers with Black tuners
- Gibson SG Special in Faded Worn-Cherry
- Gibson Les Paul Studio in Alpine White
- Gibson '67 Flying V Reissue in Classic White, kept stock
- Gibson SG Special in Classic White with chrome hardware (With a Puerto Rican flag sticker behind the tailpiece. Early SSTB era
- Minarik Medusa Custom in Cherry Red, kept stock
- Minarik Medusa Custom in Alpine White)
Acoustics:
- Taylor T5 Custom Acoustic/Electric in Spruce Top w/ Cherry Sunburst
- Taylor 814-CE Acoustic/Electric in Honey Sunburst with Natural back and sides
- Taylor 814-CE Acoustic/Electric in Honey Sunburst with Natural back and sides
Amps:
- Bogner Uberschall 100W Head w/ Standard Grill
- Mesa/Boogie Triple Rectifier 150W Solo amplifier Head
- '74 GRO100 Orange Head (Black Covering)
- Mesa/Boogie Rect-o-verb 50W Combo Amp (studio usage)
- VOX AC30CC2X Combo Amp (vox ac30)
- Fender '65 Twin Reverb Combo Amplifier
- Orange OR50 head (seen in 2009)
- Fractal Audio Axe-Fx Ultra (Current live rig Maiden tour 2012)
Cabinets:
- Mesa/Boogie Rectifier Oversized 4x12's guitar cabinet
- Bogner Uberschall 4x12's guitar cabinet
- Marshall 1960A 4x12 guitar cabinet
- Orange 4x12 Cabinet
- Atomic Reactor ARFR-AC Powered Cabinet [Set on top of empty Mesa Cabs] (Current live rig Maiden tour 2012)
Effects:
- Boss LS-2 Line Selector (to select between the Bogner and Vox/Fender)
- Boss NS-2
- Boss RC-20XL (used live for a bit, now used for songwriting)
- Boss RT-20 (used for practice/songwriting)
- Boss SD-1
- VooDoo Lab Sparkle Drive Overdrive/Boost
- Morley Bad Horsie 2 Wah (as described in 2008 interview)
- Dunlop 535Q CryBaby Wah and/or Dunlop Dime wah
- DigiTech Whammy Pedal
- Line 6 DL-4 Digital Delay
- Line 6 FM-4 Filter Modeler
- Ernie Ball VP Junior Passive Volume Pedal
- Boss TU-2 Chromatic Tuner pedal
- Electro Harmonix Holy Grail
- Theremin
- Voodoo Lab Ground Control
- Fractal Audio Axe-FX Ultra
- MXR M-118 analog delay
- The Great Destroyer by Dwarfcraft
- Interstellar OD by Death by Audio
Website: http://www.coheedandcambria.com
-----------------------------------------------------------
Reviewer: Charlie Ralph (http://www.thisisfakediy.co.uk)
Coheed and Cambria are nothing if not ambitious. The scale of their anthemic style defines them, and it can be summed up by the massive scope of their two-part concept album ‘Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV’. The two volumes that make up that career-defining epic are both packed to burst with big choruses, bigger riffs and a loose but grandiose narrative. Those two albums were released eight and six years ago respectively, and after them, one would be expected to ask “but where do they go from here?” The answer to that was 'Year Of The Black Rainbow', a slight stumble for the band that nonetheless had its fair share of gems in the likes of 'Guns Of Summer' and 'Here We Are Juggernaut'. After that though, Coheed and Cambria were keen to prove that their ambitions hadn’t dimmed slightly, and they launched into another two-album-long concept. The first part, ‘The Afterman: Ascension’ was released last year, and the second part. ‘The Afterman: Descension’ is nothing if not an incredible entry into the band’s canon, a fitting follow-up to a brilliant first part, and yet more evidence that there are few bands in metal today who are truly suited to wearing their bombastic nature on their sleeve.
Of course, one would be remised not to mention that there has been a narrative that runs through every single Coheed album, a continuing story for which ‘The Afterman’ is just another section. The scale of this epic is loose and conflicting, so for anyone who isn’t a die-hard fan, it would be simply baffling to attempt to sum up the whole thing concisely. The Afterman itself though is the story of a scientist who discovers the force that binds the 78 planets together that forms the ‘Heaven’s Fence’ alternate universe in which Coheed And Cambria’s story takes place. While this might sound strange to those unfamiliar with the band, none of that has to matter, as what’s most important is that each individual song on this album can be taken on its own, played out of context, and still work fantastically.
Opener ‘Pretelethal’ is a soft introduction to ease listeners in, but from that point on every song moves forward at an incredible pace. A number of songs feature brief intros and outros tying them into the story, but in between there are some of Coheed’s best songs in their lengthy back catalogue. For instance, ‘Gravity’s Union’, clocking in at just under seven minutes and featuring a number of varying time signatures and key changes, is pure joy for any Coheed fan, and although new listeners may be taken aback at first, the chorus is sure to blow anyone away. Indeed, this is undoubtedly the band’s forte, and there’s barely a song on the album that isn’t boosted to another level by a soaring chorus.
One criticism that could be levelled at Coheed and Cambria is that although the scope of their ambitions is undoubtedly grandiose, stylistically they remain stuck in a rut. These detractors may indeed have a point, and listening to their music in a marathon session can occasionally create an air of fatigue, but their style works, and when you go into it fresh, there’s nothing quite like them. On one occasion, early album song ‘Number City’, they do venture into drastically new terrain musically and it doesn’t really work. It almost sounds like a funk-metal crossover, then brings in a horn section, and it just feels disjointed. So perhaps they benefit from sticking to what they know and doing it very, very well.
There’s nothing much astoundingly new in ‘The Afterman: Descension’. There are some incredible songs, and almost every one has a moment where the band show just why they have the fervent following they do. ‘Dark Side Of Me’ is a brilliant ballad for their canon, and songs like the aforementioned ‘Gravity’s Union’ and '2's My Favourite 1' will blow away first-time listeners and ardent fans alike. There’s a slight dipping point of ‘Away We Go’ and ‘Iron Fist’, and this album doesn’t stand up quite as well as either of the ‘Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star’ epics, but nonetheless this is a thoroughly thrilling entry in to Coheed and Cambria’s rich canon, and it’s sure to fill the appetite of fans and new entries to Coheed’s bizarre and baffling world.
Rating: 7/10
-----------------------------------------------------------
 The saga continues…and continues. Seeking to fill in the gaps in their long-running band persona storyline, concept prog rockers Coheed and Cambria this week released The Afterman: Descension, the “part 2” to The Afterman: Ascension released last year.
Let’s face it: creating a concept band around a fictional narrative can get complicated. First of all, the longer the story behind the band moves forward, new fans have to invest an increasing amount of time and energy catching up with the story line, rather than just enjoying the music itself. Second…stories eventually need resolution—an ending. A story can only go so far before it needs to start wrapping up; otherwise, you don’t really have a story—you have a soap opera. The longer you keep trying to milk the narrative, the greater the risk of losing your audience (or at least capping it off).
All this to say, consider the fact that Coheed and Cambria have been doing this for twelve years. Granted, they’ve gone out of their way to make sure fans are following the story (a sci-fi saga called The Armory Wars, written by front man Claudio Sanchez), and have even developed graphic novels to accompany the progression. It’s a great concept which is reportedly even going to become a full-length movie, and the fact that C&C have been able to carry it this long says something about their longevity. But no matter how interesting the story, or how interesting the music (which both are), eventually you’ll stop reaching people if you outlast their interest. And while The Afterman: Descension certainly meets the musical standards of their earlier work, I can’t help but wonder if the band itself is at their tipping point.
So let’s forget the story line for a moment, and just focus on the music. It’s good. Really good. Progressive rock is an interesting genre because of its complex rhythms and chord changes, but even on a prog rock album the songs can start running together. That’s not the case with The Afterman: Descension. By keeping a wide dynamic range (as opposed to keeping all the amps turned to 11), and by varying the styles a bit, Coheed and Cambria have created an album that (musically speaking, at least) can easily hold your attention from beginning to end. The opening track “Pretelethal” sets the tone, building slowly from soft and ethereal to loud and epic, and moments of reflection are tastefully sprinkled among the louder passages. There’s even a song in there that could pass for indie-rock (“Number City”). Taking this album simply on its own, it’s great rock music, period. It’s just that the songs are designed to draw the listener into the story—and with a twelve-year progression now, that may be too long of a journey for some to take.
The upshot is that we’re looking at a fantastic rock band that has made a terrific rock record. In my view, nothing derogatory can be said about Coheed and Cambria’s collective talent or creativity, nor about the quality of their new album. The potential downfall here is the vehicle itself—a story line that has now lasted more than a decade. If you’re just getting started with Coheed and Cambria, you’ll find The Afterman: Descension to be a great listen. If listening makes you want to know more…just be prepared to do your homework.
RATING: 3.5 / 5 stars    
Fortaken: http://mimo.recordingconnection.com
Discography:
The Second Stage Turbine Blade (2002)
In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 (2003)
Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness (2005)
Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow (2007)
Year of the Black Rainbow (2010)
The Afterman: Ascension (2012)
The Afterman: Descension (2013)

 © Musician and novelist Claudio Sanchez at the New York Comic Convention in Manhattan, October 9, 2010.
Photo by Luigi Novi.

Coheed and Cambria — The Afterman Descension [Deluxe Edition, iTunes Deluxe Edition] (2013)

 

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