Wednesday, December 30, 2015

#10 of My Top 12 Albums of 2015: The Color Before the Sun

Coheed and Cambria's The Color Before the Sun

Release Date: October 16th, 2015
Label: 300 Entertainment
Genre: Pop Rock, Progressive Rock

    Coheed and Cambria are one of those bands that is just about universally accepted by fans of rock, metal, pop, alternative, and everything in between. They established themselves early on as one of the premier progressive metal bands of the late 90's and early 2000's with a slue of concept albums all revolving around the same storyline but remained pretty much a "cult" band, or one that is loved by a loyal and dedicated following but unheard of by a majority of the population. As time went on, they garnered more singles and even landed a few songs on Guitar Hero and Rockband, expanding their influence and becoming one of the most popular rock bands in recent memory.  So it goes without saying that people were really looking forward to their new album, The Color Before the Sun, coming two years after the conclusion of the Afterman albums which were loved almost as much as the Good Apollo albums by fans and critics  However, Coheed surprised just about everyone when they announced that this album, their eighth, would be the first to not be a part of the Amory Wars storyline.  Also, despite Coheed's genre hopping they do within albums, many were also surprised to hear that this album would be much more Pop Rock centered, leaving behind almost all traced of their trademark progressive metal style.

    The band stayed true to their claims, releasing The Color Before the Sun to presumably worried audiences.  The album is definitely more Pop Rock then I ever remember Coheed, though honestly my history with the band is rather thin, showing literally no trace of them ever being a metal band.  Now, many may justifiably call betrayal at this notion, but I believe that despite the genre shift, which I assume is only for this album, Coheed put out one hell of an album. I have described this to people before as Rush meets Fall Out Boy, or the latter mixed with Coheed, for those already acclimated with the band's work, and that is a very apt description the more I think about it.  That may deter people from this, but trust me, its a weird combination but its in a good way.


    Claudio Sanchez, the singer and mastermind behind all of Coheed's previous lyrics, returns again to write the songs for this album, and I believe he did a great job. One of the main singles from the album, "Eraser", is a great example of his songwriting ability as Sanchez dives into what is feels like to be in the middle of a Middle Age Crisis, looking back at what the man in the song was previously and having trouble fully accepting what he has become. Honestly its a pretty played-out topic and the song's lyrics are primarily repeated lines, but it makes for a very good and relatable pop rock song, particularly for those who have presumably grown up alongside the band.  While listening, I also get a bit of a Michael Jackson vibe with the way the band "ohh ohhs" and Sanchez's delivery of the choruses, mainly "Oh I'm not mad, lean on me man // Oh I'm not mad, you know me man".  Surrounding his vocal delivery is a solid rock foundation, nothing overly complicated and nothing technical, but nothing lacking or to be desired.  If anything, i'd say that Josh Eppard's drumming stand out pretty well on this track, at least to me, but overall it is a very well self-contained and tight track.


    Almost every song follows like "Eraser", all being very well produced and written, easily acceptable by audiences.  That is actually probably the best way to define this album: "Easily Accessible".  Hipsters may complain about that but I believe that is a point in this album's favor, being just a good overall album that you don't need to like a certain genre or another to consider.  Other great tracks include "You Got Spirit, Kid", "Atlas", "Ghost", "The Audience" and "Peace to the Mountain". If there existed a weak track on the album, I would probably point to the fourth of the ten songs, "Colors". It has a very unique feel to it and is the only song like it on the album, but it just doesn't seem to fit too well. The lyrics are great and all but the song seems to interrupt the flow of the songs, especially since it comes immediately after the rocking "Eraser". However, the songs "Ghost" and "Peace to the Mountain" are also both key changers, bring out the softer side of Coheed and using a lot more acoustic guitar, but these songs have an immediate appeal and are maybe some of the best songs on the album, the former featuring Sanchez just about whispering softly every line as a single acoustic guitar is plucked over and over again. It is a gorgeous track and one of my most replayed, but not as much as the one following immediately after, "Atlas".

    "Atlas" is one of the "heaviest" songs on the album and features some of my favorite lines. In the chorus, Sanchez says, "'Cause when your daddy goes off, just you know: // That you're the weight of his anchor // The love that is guiding him home". It seems to be speaking to a small child (Atlas) and reassuring him that even though his father leaves often, don't be worried because you're the reason he can find his way back, that he is not actually "leaving" you.  Its a nice sentiment, though I assume that Coheed has a deeper meaning than this that flies over my head, but I like the literal meaning of the song well enough.

"Peace to the Mountain"

    The Color Before the Sun is beautiful and one of the easiest to just throw on and let it play in the background while you drive, do work, or even exercise. I can't say enough good things about this album other than do not be driven away by the fact that it is not as metal as they usually are, and give it a try, I am positive you will be pleasantly surprised by what you will find.

Click here for Coheed and Cambria's official website
Click here for Coheed and Cambria's official Facebook page
Click here to buy The Color Before the Sun from iTunes
Click here to buy The Color Before the Sun from Amazon.

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