Coheed and Cambria – The Color Before The Sun (ALBUM REVIEW)

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Once a celebrated genre, the prog-rock post-hardcore sector of music has been lacking as of late. Popular in the mid-2000’s, you generally listen back on the music with a wistful sense of nostalgia, sometimes coupled with a tinge of embarrassment. Other times with a knowing nod at a time long gone. Those longing stares at your musical past are no longer needed as Coheed and Cambria are back, filling that void with The Color Before the Sun, a delightful throwback with a modern sense of self.

Coheed has an interesting discography. Most of their albums are conceptual, dwelling in a space they’ve dubbed the “Armory Wars”, a story that’s now been written into a both a comic series and a full length novel. Straying away from their usual antics, Coheed and Cambria’s latest album does not follow the same format, straying from the expected storyline of the Armory Wars and instead focusing on what can only be understood as a “grown up” version of themselves.

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Right off the bat it’s important to note that, though the band is treading new waters, it’s not taking itself too seriously. Single “Atlas”, a song frontman Claudio Sanchez wrote in anticipation of the birth of his son, is heartfelt and appreciative. Again, it’s taking their sound into a new sphere reminding rockers everywhere that it’s ok to be a grown up and still have fun.

In contrast is “You Got Spirit, Kid”. Closer to their older work, the opening of the song is reminiscent of Warped Tour and torn up Chucks, moving into a bridge and chorus that leads to the main theme of the song, “nobody gives a fuck who you are”, acting as both an anthem and a self-mantra, it’s liberating.

Many fans of Coheed and Cambria may not appreciate what the band is doing here; though they are clear in their prog-rock roots there’s still rumblings of a softer side that many would deem as them “selling out”. However, had they been listening closely in the first place they would have caught on to these elements throughout their discography. Truthfully, Coheed isn’t doing anything all that out of the box from their previous work, rather, they’ve expanded on subtleties that maybe weren’t as apparent from the get-go.

Fifth track “Ghost” follows “From Here to Mars”, the latter acting as a rhythm-guitar heavy love song followed by the lighter ‘Ghost’ that in contrast almost sounds like a whisper. Dwelling on his relationship with his parents, Sanchez drones quietly in the track, dubbing it noteworthy. If nothing else, the band keeps to the epic sounding instrumentals, a theme they’ve carried throughout their career.

Sanchez’s voice has always had elements of early Dennis DeYoung with that post-hardcore wail he’s so well known for. While The Color Before the Sun isn’t coming too far from their past albums, it is a step towards a new sound that could outlast the nostalgia and kitsch we’re used to seeing from Coheed. The album comes in waves, not always steady, and though mostly expected, still somewhat surprising.

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