The Color Before the Sun – Coheed and Cambria

the color before the sun

Just recently, Coheed and Cambria released their latest album, The Color Before the Sun. Being their first non-conceptual album, many fans, including myself, were skeptical as to whether or not the album would meet or at least come close to our expectations, but, as it almost always seems, Coheed has succeeded. This follow-up to 2012-13’s double album, The Afterman, does anything but disappoint.

Album Overview:

“Island” – 4.5/5

Being the first track on the album, I had some pretty high expectations for “Island”. What I got met (or exceeded) those expectations. This song has the kind of “in your face” feel to it that I and many others have learned to expect from the first song on any album by any band. Musically, “Island” is simple, yet manages to pull you in with haunting melodies, a great structure, and an “outro” section which features much darker and more complicated guitar rhythms and melodies combined with more complicated drum work at well by Josh Eppard. My only complaint in this song is that this section didn’t last longer. Lyrically, “Island”, and most of the others on this album, is very strong. Coheed’s Claudio Sanchez has always managed to somehow keep his lyrics poetically relatable through all the albums spanning The Amory Wars saga, and it seems that being able to give us insight into his actual life through these lyrics has made them even more so.

“Eraser” – 4/5

The albums third (and final) single, “Eraser”, is somewhat reminiscent of the band’s earlier work on their debut album, The Second Stage Turbine Blade. The song’s intro section succeeds in getting you amped for another hard-hitting track, but leads into a verse that is slightly underwhelming. Despite this, the song has a very powerful chorus that is bound to get the audience singing when the band plays it live. Some melodies are a little weak though and the song lacks a true “B” section. Once again, however, the song is very strong lyrically, meriting that I give “Eraser” a higher rating than I would otherwise.

“Colors” – 4/5

“Colors” is the first “softer” song on this album, and, despite being a bit boring musically, it is a lyrical masterpiece. The lyrics to this song are coated with the feeling of self-doubt and that the world is crashing down around you; a feeling we all go through at times. “Colors” is one of the most relatable songs on the album and that is why I give it such a high rating despite being a little boring. The piano outro, however, is one of my favorite moments on the album.

“Here to Mars” – 5/5

Coming out of a song like “Colors”, “Here to Mars” immediately grasps your attention with it’s slightly more upbeat style. A song Claudio Sanchez wrote for his wife, the subject matter in the lyrics is definitively more positive. This includes hooks such as “There’s no one like you on Earth that could be my universe” and the much more simple yet just as powerful “I will never let you go”. Musically the song is both powerful and humble. Huge choruses accompanied by much more conservative verses that perfectly blend help make this happen. I especially liked the bass lines on this song performed by Zach Cooper. From the moment I first heard this song it was an instant favorite for me.

“Ghost” – 3/5

Being the only song on this album that is performed acoustically, “Ghost” is a nice break from a song as powerful as “Here to Mars”. That being said, this song had the potential to be just as strong as either of the surrounding it, but came off as more of an interlude track, to be honest. The lyrics are great. The melodies are some of the best on the album. The song as a whole, however just doesn’t seem to be up to par with most of the other songs on this album.

“Atlas”- 5/5

Let’s be honest here. Just about every die-hard Coheed fan was waiting for this one for a long time. Back in August of last year, Claudio Sanchez posted a video on YouTube of him playing an acoustic version of this song when he had just written it. That video became a phenomenon amongst these die-hard fans who, almost immediately, began demanding that the song be released as a full band. Well, the day finally came, and the track absolutely does not disappoint. Opening with the same delicate guitar melody as the acoustic version, the song very quickly sets off on an unforgettable journey of a lifetime. The most, in my opinion, upbeat and powerful song on the album, gives you powerful riffs, soaring choruses, and an outro that just brings everything full circle. The song was written for Sanchez’s son, who is the namesake for it, and ensures him that, even though he must be away sometimes, it is always his love for Atlas that will guide him home. My dad has spent the last six months working out-of-state, so this song really hit home for me. This is by far my favorite song on this album. If you only purchase one song from it, make it this one.

“Young Love” – 2/5

I see where Coheed was going with this song, but honestly, it’s the only one on the album I will skip on a full play through. To me, the song is boring, repetitive, and lyrically weaker than most others on the album. There’s really not much else I can say about this one.

“You Got Spirit, Kid” – 3/5

When this song was first released as the first single from this album, I was slightly unimpressed. As I kept listening, however, the song grew on me and I learned to like it. The melodies on the verses seem a bit lazy, but the chorus is A+ sing-along material. Perfect for live shows. How can you not see hundreds or thousands of fans screaming the words “nobody gives a fuck who you are”?  So, my final verdict about this song is that, despite being a little weak as far as the recorded song goes, I can tell this is gonna be a live classic.

“The Audience” – 4.5/5

This song revisits Coheed’s roots as it is the most progressive on the album. Featuring grooving verses and a mid-section that gave me chills, “The Audience” succeeds in demonstrating to any new fans of the band that Coheed isn’t just about the more “pop rock” sound that occurs on the rest of the album, but is down and known to deal some serious blows as well. The song is great in just about every way. My only concern is that the choruses are melodically weak.

“Peace to the Mountain” – 5/5

This really is the only song Coheed could have decided to end this album with. The song is filled with emotional lyrics, excellent instrumental arrangement, and the most beautiful melodies of any verse on the album. Many tears were shed during a listening while reading along with the lyrics. This is probably the most emotional song on the album and it is all brought together by an outro section which features an outstanding arrangement of strings and brass. The only complaint I have is that I couldn’t find anything on this song to criticize. It really is amazing.

Overall Album Rating – 4/5

Coheed and Cambria have always found ways to evolve while staying true to who they are. While this album may not be perfect, it is definitely essential for any die-hard fan and is also a great album to introduce new fans to the band’s music. Hopefully soon I can head over to Best Buy to purchase the album with a bonus track that I have yet to hear. Thanks for reading! GO BUY THIS ALBUM!

 

Everything is Evil

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