“The Afterman: Descension” is the seventh studio album by progressive rock band Coheed and Cambria and the second part of a double album, the first part of which is “The Afterman: Ascension”.
You can read my review on it here.
The deluxe version of the album was released with a coffee-table book co-written by band member Claudio Sanchez and writer Peter David, giving a song-by-song experience of the concept album. The album follows the Amory Wars storyline, and concentrates on the character Sirius Amory.
In summary, “The Afterman’s” story takes place at the start of the saga. It follows Sirius Amory, an astromner and his All Mother spaceship as they explore a powerful energy source known as the “Keywork” which is powered by the souls of the departed, imprisoned in some form of purgartorial afterlife.
“WHO WILL REPAIR THIS HEART?” is the repeating lyric, as this song is the set up for the next one.
In the book, Claudio explains that the musical ideas came from him jamming with a lot of new gadgets that he picked up on the road.
And he stuck with the lyric because it represents loss and pain.
From a story point of view, a weakened Sirius is being protected by the energy of Evagria The Faithful, from the other entities. But Vic The Butcher, Domino The Destitute and Holy Wood The Cracked are bombarding Evagria, trying to get to Sirius, so they could possess his body and leave this place.
“Key Entity Extraction V: Sentry The Defiant”
A sombre acoustic guitar starts off with a droning open string and a high melody.
Then the song explodes into the riff and the whole band is in.
If you remember from the “Ascension” review, there is a character called Vic The Butcher, who wanted Sentry to kill innocents on his behalf, but when Sentry refused, Vic The Butcher organised others to kill Sentry by hanging, making it look like a suicide to Sentry’s family.
And now both their souls are trapped in the purgatory stage of the Keywork.
The feel of the song reminds me of “No World For Tomorrow”.
Sentry is the last entity that Sirius will encounter.
Evagria explained to Sirius that he had been in the Keywork for 547 days even though to Sirius it was no more than a week. Just think of the movie “Interstellar”.
For Sirius, it was time to go home, only if he could find a way. As the All Mother told him, his chance of survival to return was 30%.
And I saw Sentry as a pseudonym for “Claudio The Defiant” as the music and lyrics came after Claudio had an argument with his manager because the Manager requested that Claudio try and write more accessible music, which Claudio already thought he was. This was his response.
“The Hard Sell”
“You’re selling out to be in!” is the main hook on this song.
In “The Afterman” book, Claudio mentions how this song comes from a personal viewpoint about his struggles with record labels and managers who want him to write more accessible lyrics.
No one starts writing songs for em to become a hit. There is a need inside a person to create.
Sirius has now returned to Heavens Fence and is being questioned about what he saw and what happened. But he doesn’t tell the whole truth, scared as to the consequences that could come if everyone knows that an “afterlife” exists.
And his wife Meri has moved on with her life. She is in a relationship with the Police Officer who saved her at the bar in “Goodnight, Fair Lady” when her drink was spiked.
This is a different Coheed and Cambria with a groovy, funky, fuzzed out bass riff, taking control of the song. It’s almost disco rock and I like it.
And in the story there is a car accident with Sirius and Meri in which Meri is unconscious and taken to ICU.
It’s the longest song on the album and it’s the moods that hook me.
And from the 5 minute mark to the end, it’s desk breaking stuff, with all the layered guitars, the emotive drumming, locked in bass and those infectious vocal melodies from Claudio.
It goes back to before the accident. Sirius and Meri are arguing in the car when it crashes.
And the song ends with a heart monitor beeping.
“Away We Go”
It reminds me of “Feathers” from “No World For Tomorrow”. It has a synth lick to kick it off which is memorable.
This song deals with Meri and her transition into the afterlife.
This is Sirius dealing with the loss of Meri and how he ruins a lot of things.
And you don’t think that a song called “Iron Fist” would be an acoustic ballad, feeling like it’s recorded in the heartland of the country.
The lead from Travis Steer. Its bluesy and full of soul.
“Dark Side Of Me”
As soon as the drums start and the finger picked guitar intro kicks in, I am hooked.
There are bits and pieces from “Here We Are Juggernaut” in the Chorus and the build-up of “Mother Superior”.
It deals with Sirius facing Meri new partner who was also going to be a father. But Sirius ruined it all.
“2’s My Favourite 1”
This one also reminds me of “Feathers” from “No World For Tomorrow”.
Sirius makes the decision to go back to the Keywork and find Meri, to help her transition into the afterlife.
Both albums are different and worthy to be heard.
Check em out.
3 thoughts on “The Record Vault: Coheed And Cambria – The Afterman: Descension”
Talk about putting a lot of thought into an album and the packaging. These guys really did just that. Good on them. I have a new found respect for these guys as I had no idea about the storylines.
The other releases are just as big.
I dig the artwork!