Coheed and Cambria are my favorite (active) band of all-time. If you’ve read any of my previous pieces you probably know this already. I’ve mentioned them once or twice. A few months ago I published a post that was exclusively about Coheed, and specifically about their old drummer Josh Eppard and whether or not he would return to the band. Well he has, and they’ve just released a new album, and it’s a keeper.
Part one of a planned two-parter, The Afterman: Ascension is Coheed and Cambria’s sixth album and their first with drummer Josh Eppard since their third album “Good Apollo I: … Volume I” in 2005. The history of the band has been messy and if you’re curious I discuss it in more detail here, or you can watch this fascinatingly transparent interview with Josh recorded earlier this year. I’m not as obsessed with Coheed as I once was but this is a special group of guys who have a singular chemistry and their music, at its best, was brilliant, unexplainable and beyond compare. Ok, enough hyperbole. Let’s get down to the facts.
To make a long story short:
Josh Eppard and Michael Todd (the bass player) both left the band in 2006 due to drug addiction. Mic came back but Josh didn’t. This changed something about Coheed that was hard to explain. Josh, being the drummer and having a distinct style, really impacted Coheed’s signature sound. This was not easy to distinguish at first because Coheed’s lead singer/songwriter Claudio Sanches is VERY distinct, singing very high and making up lots of complicated riffs in their music. So in a way Coheed still sounded like Coheed but it just didn’t sound… ALIVE… anymore. It didn’t sound inspired. This has always been the hard part to explain. Old Coheed (the first three albums) had something ELSE about them – something more than just the sum of their parts. Once the band broke up it couldn’t seem to put itself together again. Everyone could play their instruments and play the songs but the chemistry was gone. Before things could get better things got worse. In 2011 Michael Todd was arrested and was released from the band permanently (although never say never, crazier things have happened) and Josh came back, along with new bassist Zach Cooper. The fans, sure this one-of-a-kind band was done for sure, waited anxiously to see if this new line up would stick, to see what they would sound like…
In my opinion the new album is ridiculously good. Coheed and Cambria have returned to form on The Afterman. It’s clear to me now that the secret ingredient missing from Coheed’s last two albums has been Josh Eppard. Not to take anything away from Mic Todd, who I hope fully recovers and rejoins the band, but the band has never sounded better and they seem to really enjoy playing
together again. The Afterman is finally a true Coheed album, thoroughly new and yet filled with the good old fashioned Coheed and Cambria essence. This is all just me talking, but from what I can gather from Twitter and Facebook I’m
not alone. At a recent show in Toronto the crowd took to chanting “Josh! Josh! Josh!” between songs, and for good reason. He brought Coheed back from the dead, and better than ever.
It’s been great listening to this album over and over. I can tell that it’s a good old Coheed and Cambria album again because I’m singing along but I don’t have any idea what the words are. Plus the song titles are long and hard to remember. Ah… yes… that’s what I’m talking about.
Here’s a really DEEP cut from the album, to give you a taste:
Track 7: Key Entity Extraction III: Vic The Butcher