REVIEW: Coheed And Cambria – ‘The Color Before The Sun’

coheed color before

Artist: Coheed and Cambria
Album: The Color Before The Sun
Genre: Alt-Rock
Label: 300 Entertainment

It is certainly a daring move, this far into one’s career, to dismantle a foundation that has held heavy mystery, intrigue and fandom, circulating at the center of the behemoth known as Coheed and Cambria. As the band prepares to release their newest LP, I find them at their most vulnerable, for The Color Before The Sun is the band’s first non-canonical effort from The Amory Wars.

But what does this mean for the band? In terms of musical expression, it presents the band at their most minimalist. Recorded live, The Color Before The Sun grooves with passion, purity and purpose far denser than the band’s recent releases. Cutting down on complex riffage, sparse medleys and tangent, essentially everything poured into The Color Before The Sun shines with purpose.

While at first the record felt underwhelming to me, after nearly a month with it I can say that is has grown and manifested in wonderful ways. I fear die-hard fans may be put off by the work, but I ask for patience, for time will treat this record very well. I remember passing through each song telling myself I was enjoying it, but not necessarily loving it. All it really took was one night for me to wake up and scream choruses through my apartment and need these songs like a drug.

“Island” is a fucking perfect opener. Pardon the language, but damn that song is fire. Drummer Josh Eppard and bassist Zach “Super Duper” Cooper groove harder than I have ever heard them, giving the sound huge reasonance for guitarists Travis Stever and Claudio Sanchez to soar over. The riffs may be toned down in a sense, but that doesn’t mean they have lost any aggression or drive. While the guitars aren’t swirling like madness at the forefront of the track, they are building the walls that encapsulate Sanchez’s melodies, and when all paired together, birth a great fucking song. Try getting nearly any of the vocals or melodies out of your head; I certainly can’t.

“Eraser” drives with the same urgency as “Island,” but provides a darker tone, with Sanchez’s lyrics feeling desperate in the search for answers pertaining to where life has gone. New to fatherhood, Sanchez’s lyrics resonate strong with the themes of identity, legacy, life and more. The rhythm section continue to shine, making way for everything to come together in small, but heavily important ways.

“Colors” is the first true left-field outing for the band. Slowing things down, Sanchez sounds nearly unrecognizable during the verse, creating a mellow vibe to explode into a spectrum of textures for the chorus. “Here To Mars,” a previously released single is just as much of a powerhouse as “Island”; the track is unforgiving in its explosive chorus, that could possibly be the best chorus the band has ever written. “Ghost” slows things down for an acoustic outing, and again Sanchez finds himself almost unrecognizable vocally, showcasing that even though The Color Before The Sun takes things back a little, the band is as exposed and raw as they have ever been.

“Atlas” is easily one of the highlights of the record. Screaming with energy, the band pours everything into the six-minute entry focused on Sanchez’s son. Though the message and themes felt on the track can easily be applied to any father, and this love, this guiding reason can be felt through every instrument resonated on the track. Soaring between melodies and riffs that could have been on Coheed’s early work, the band plows through one of their best tracks. Bursting with youth, love and invigoration, “Atlas” is almost worth the price of admission.

“Young Love” is a fun, though possibly forgettable track that still packs a heavy chorus. “You Got Spirit, Kid,” the album’s lead single is just as fun as it was upon release, though post-”Atlas,” the album takes a two-track dip, only to be revitalized by “The Audience.” One of the heaviest tracks the band has done, “The Audience” is a thundering song that brings Coheed’s gnarly guitar fills back in a new form, staying true to the album’s purity in songwriting. “Peace To The Mountain,” the album’s closer is as beautiful as the name insists. Building on a simple melody, Coheed and Cambria continue to build and build, with the track culminating in one of their most beautifully infectious moments. As it does in the beginning, The Color Before The Sun ends wonderfully.

It’s not easy to scale things back when certain musical complexities are expected of you, but Coheed and Cambria destroy any pre-conceived notions expected of them and release one of their purest works. Relaxing on the riffage, and accelerating with energy, The Color Before The Sun will welcome you with open arms, if you let it. This may not be Coheed’s best record, but who cares? Get lost in an album handled with care and love, and respect the band’s unrelenting ear for infectious pop-rock songs and sing your heart out.

“Where’s my lifesaver when I’m screaming danger?”

SCORE: 8.5/10

Drew Caruso

Drew Caruso is a Bostonian who, when not writing about music and film, spends his time getting lost in New England, reading books, talking about science whether people want to listen or not, and more. To see the thoughts of a scientist by day and a writer by night, follow him on Twitter.
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  • dio blanblu

    where’s my lightsaber when I’m screaming danger ?