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on 9 June 2017
‘The Afterman: Ascension’ is the first of Coheed & Cambria’s double album story. At 40 minutes, it’s a very short album for the band. It took me awhile to get into this album, but there’s some decent stuff on here. The sound mainly comes close to replicating their early work, with a few tracks showing different ideas. “The Afterman” was an early favourite for me, with a more subdued approach to the vocals. “Holly Wood the Cracked” has a much more angsty attitude than you expect from Coheed. “Mothers of Men” sounds like a Good Apollo’ song and features the female backing vocals. Occasionally, there’s a few Sci-Fi sounds and dialogue which is very reminiscent Ayreon’s work. Overall, it’s a solid release but not near their best work.
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The Afterman: Ascension is the sixth full-length studio album from the unique American band Coheed And Cambria.

If you have never heard the band before, they mix Progressive Rock tendencies such as long conceptual tracks, multiple time signatures, recurring themes, occasional use of keys and electronics etc with occasional heavy sections of heavily distorted low pitched guitars and double-kicks, although the band never go too far with either and mainly tend to exist around a core sound of cheerful melodic alternative rock (that's just a bit more varied and expressive than usual). As such, the band can cultivate a broad audience from Metal fans to Emo fans to Prog fans, and are especially suited to fans of all three.

They also have an incredibly expressive and diverse signer who is most famous for his high-pitched slightly feminine vocals but also has an unbelievably large range of tones and styles and can convey emotion vocally better than almost any of his peers. He is able to display a character's conviction, sadness or pain really effectively which makes for seriously interesting listening.

Like their two Good Apollo albums (which were the band's third and fourth studio albums), The Afterman is a set of two related albums consisting of this 2012 album, Ascension, and 2013's upcoming Descension album, although that being said The Afterman is more truly a double album than the two Apollos were since both parts were written and recorded simultaneously this time.

Like all double albums this inevitably raises the question of whether the band should have just taken the best tracks and made one very good album, and I guess we'll have to wait until 2013 to really find out.

Musically, this particular album covers a few different angles. For example, with the return of drummer Josh Eppard after a two-album absence, there are parts of the record which are fairly reminiscent of the band's earlier work in feel, such as in a lot of the aforementioned `The Key Entity Extraction I: Domino The Destitute' and `Goodnight, Fair Lady.'

There are also moments such as `The Key Entity Extraction III: Vic The Butcher' and `Mothers Of Men' which are more reminiscent of the direction that the band went on their previous album Year Of The Black Rainbow as well as some territory that's fairly unexplored for the band at all.

When you get down to it, this isn't necessarily the band's most heavy or energetic album, or indeed particularly filled with ballads and soft songs. It sits somewhere in the middle of the band's musical spectrum, but as long as you just enjoy the music that's there it shouldn't be a problem. Luckily, the music that's there is very good.

Lyrically; Like all of the band's albums the lyrics tell a part of the story of The Amory Wars, a complex multi-generational cross-media Sci-Fi story, set in the fictional universe of Heaven's Fence, that is also illustrated in-part in graphic novels, actual novels, Coffee Table Books, an upcoming movie project with Mark Walburg and in the lyrics of band member's side projects. The Afterman's story takes place around the very beginning of the timeline, before the events chronicled in the band's first four albums and deals with Sirius Amory and his All Mother spaceship (which occasionally talks during the tracks) as well as the background to a few lost souls. It centers around the revelation that the Keyframe is actually powered by the souls of the dead, imprisoning them in a grim afterlife.

In terms of the production job, by Michael Birnbaum, Chris Bittner & the band, the album sounds possibly closest to Good Apollo Part 1. The band's previous two albums were often criticized for their production jobs and with this record, although it may still not please everyone, it seems to be aiming for a more normal sound, not going too weird or too sweet. Its fairly brief in length, but then it is only one half of a double album so that's to be expected.

I have to admit that initially, I was actually a little disappointed by the album, as the pre-released tracks `The Key Entity Extraction I: Domino The Destitute' and its title track `The Afterman' were so absolutely brilliant (right from the off, they became two of my favourite Coheed tracks and they just keep getting better on each listen) that when it came to the rest of the album, nothing else felt of an equal quality. This wouldn't be a problem for anyone who just listens to the record for the first time without hearing anything beforehand though, you'd just get a great record with two obvious highlights. It also has to be said that the feeling of disappointment did go away on repeat listens, as the second half of the album grew on me a lot.

Overall; The Afterman: Ascension is a grower and you should definitely add it to your Coheed collection if you are already a fan. It contains some very strong songs (two of the finest Coheed songs ever in tracks two and three) and covers enough of their different styles to interest fans of almost all the band's eras at least a little bit. If you never heard the band at all, you may want to start your collection elsewhere with some of the more fan-favourite stuff and then move to this once you know you definitely like them.
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on 22 October 2012
As a Coheed and Cambria fan since the original "Shabutie" days - the prequel to what would become the 4-man progressive rock tour de force - I had great expectations for Coheed's latest effort "The Afterman: Ascension".

The announcement of the album caused excitement as well as concern with the proclamation that this would be part one of a double album; the second part to be aptly titled "The Afterman: Descension" which is set to be released in four months.

The first three Coheed releases were spectacular but I personally felt that the albums "No World for Tomorrow" and "Year of the Black Rainbow" were both filled with half brilliant/half dull tracks.

It is the first Coheed and Cambria album featuring Zach Cooper on bass - after former bassist Mic Todd was charged for armed robbery, and has since confirmed that he is battling testicular cancer. This is the first Coheed release to feature Josh Eppard on drums since 2005.

With the first single "Key Entity Extraction I: Domino the Destitute" maintaining an almost Queen-inspired epic, as well as one of Coheed's best video clips, I had my fingers crossed for this album.

In true Coheed fashion, the first track "The Hollow" is an introductory melody with a Rhodes piano and the signature sci-fi creepiness of past releases; it does what a Coheed introduction is meant to do: Introduce you to the next chapter of The Amory Wars storyline.

"Key Entity Extraction I: Domino the Destitute" follows, being the longest track on the album clocking at 7 minutes and 51 seconds. Even though the majority of fans would have heard this single by now - it's still worth noting that Claudio Sanchez's voice is much more energized than the previous Co&Ca efforts. Sanchez, who suffers from severe acid reflux (not helped by his history of chain-smoking), has clearly healed his chords and reaches some of the highest notes he can. This single could easily be one of the most ambitious tracks in their 17 year history.

Track 3 "The Afterman" is significantly different to anything Coheed has ever written before. With an almost dreamy pop-like rhythm and a tap-tempo delay that reminds me of Modest Mouse's "float on" - this may be the albums weak point for "true" Coheed fans. Personally, I thoroughly respect the track.

Track 4 of 9 "Mothers of Men" could have effortlessly come straight off 2005's Good Apollo...Vol. I with Claudio's distinctive Puerto Rican girly backing vocals tearing through the speakers. The track ends abruptly and moves on into "Goodnight Fair Lady", another composition that melodically resembles Coheed's earlier work. A little bit like a more up-beat version of Thin Lizzy's "Romeo and the Lonely Girl"; this catchy number stands out and ends with the science fiction voice "Caution! Second Entity Identified" which flows to the honest Coheed end-album series "Key Entity Extraction II to IV"

"II: Holly Wood the Cracked" is the "Gravemakers and Gunslingers" of the album, also ending prematurely in an aural battle of explosions.

"III: Vic The Butcher" is almost like the answer to In Keeping Secrets...' "The Velourium Camper III: Al the Killer". Bear with me here, I know it's getting complicated! "Vic The Butcher" is one of the further-distorted and heavier tracks on the album. My Chemical Romance sprung to mind on first listen. The plot continues at the end of the track with the creepy spaceship voice alerting that the unidentified entity is approaching and so forth.

"IV: Evagria the Faithful" is the album's second-longest track and keeps up with Coheed's well-produced reputation for rock ballads. As mentioned before, Claudio's electric vocals sound as clean as ever and certainly do symbolise why he is one of today's finest progressive rock vocalists. With the confirmation that the follow up album "Descension" will carry the series on to part five of the "Key Entity Extraction's" then it is only fair that this single leaves the lyrics unanswered.

The final track "Subtraction" resembles Claudio Sanchez's solo project "The Prize Fighter Inferno" with an electronica and classically-stimulated acoustic three minutes; I found this to be the perfect closing track to the entire masterpiece. The out of place Atari game pinging in the background suits very well and closes the album at only 39 minutes long.

Regardless of the short and sudden track listing and the fact that this may be Coheed and Cambria's softest album to date; "The Afterman: Ascension" is the solution to the mixed feelings about their previous album "Year of the Black Rainbow".

I would be happy to say that this is one of Coheed's most spectacular works since the mid naughties. With this year's announcement that the mighty Mark Wahlberg will be producing a live-action film based on the Coheed and Cambria narrative, I wait anxiously and gracefully for the next part of The Afterman.
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on 3 February 2013
This is such an excellant album. This is the first part of the Afterman and in my personal opinion has one of the best storylines in the whole Amory Wars arc.
If you're a true Coheed fan then you should already own this.

A personal tip from me is I got this on standard Vinyl too, which sounds alot warmer than the CD, and from Amazon it comes in Orange from the V2 Coop label.

Also you should buy Afterman: Descension. Both albums complement each other, and feels like you're truly immersed in the story when played after each other.

I wish I could give this more than 5 stars.
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on 17 March 2016
The record came as described, new and unopened. However, when the record arrived it had a scratch on side B that is in the middle third of the first song that causes a constant popping throughout that section. This may or not be the fault of this seller because other wise the service was top notch.
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on 8 February 2013
Another quality album from a great band.

I chose 5 stars as a rating, becasue I couldn't choose six.

Excellent. Buy it. Listen to it. You won't be disappointed
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on 31 December 2015
Basically, if you like any or all of the previous Coheed and Cambria albums you'll like this. Same with Afterman descension, which is like part 2 of this album. Good stuff!
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on 26 February 2014
Incredible (Part 1) Album by an incredibly consistent band. The vinyl sounds wonderful and includes the album on CD. Go and buy Descension as well!!
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on 8 November 2012
Great album. Please to own it. Now up to date on everything they own. Subtraction is the perfect ending, only wish the album lasted longer.
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on 4 September 2014
This is an ok recording but is totally blown away by Descension.
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