Coheed and Cambria take a break from the Amory wars to present their first non-conceptual album, The Color Before The Sun.
Coheed and Cambria have made a monumentally successful career in their hard rock space opera The Amory Wars, spanning seven full albums, comic books and a full length novel. Their ever vigilant fanbase known as Children of the Fence remain more diehard and ravenous for new material as the years go by, and if there was ever a band who’s creativity in music couldn’t possibly be explained, then Coheed and Cambria would be it.
And just when you think you have Claudio and company figured out, they throw a curveball and announce their first individual, non Amory Wars album The Color Before The Sun. For the first time we are hearing aspiring spacemen coming back down to Earth to sing about topics like Fatherhood and a bad break up. Quite the stark contrast from science fantasy to relatable real world experiences.
After seven full albums of the same continuing canon, it does make sense that something different sounds appealing. In the press sendout for the album, Claudio Sanchez explained: “I kind of want people to know that Coheed can write that sort of record…I’ve always said in the past that there’s never been a limitation on the band. It makes no sense to me to draw a line in the sand and never cross it.”
When you have trusted a band for years with the material they consistently produce it can still feel uneasy with what to expect. In some cases you might be pleasantly surprised, where others you will feel burned and betrayed at what you just paid for.
As for new material from Coheed and Cambria in 2015, the new album’s featured single You Got Spirit, Kid might be the best showcase of what to expect from The Color Before The Sun.
You Got Spirit, Kid sets the lighter tone of this entire album. It is instantly recognizable as Coheed and Cambria but at the same time much lighter and more mellow than anything from their previous albums. The high guitar riffs and rhythmic percussion create this light-hearted summer feeling and Claudio is just as dynamic as ever in what appears to sound like a simple, self-realization song.
And the theme of a more light-hearted feeling is felt though many different songs. Even the tracks that have a little more guitar focus and vocal volume like Eraser and Atlas still feel significantly softer than the raw blasts of energy from their previous discography, both lyrically and instrumentally.
The tracks that will stand out to most Coheed fans that have stuck with the band for years are conversly the softest tracks. Hearing a slow and rhythmic acoustic 4-chord song with vocals that never raise higher than a whisper will be the biggest change from previously listening to interplanetary war.
Ghost might be the most calming song that Coheed and Cambria have ever performed. Their sound is so stripped down that it feels as if they had to be locked in a room with no one else just so they could be alone to play this song as quietly as possible. That’s not a bad thing either. This works on many levels with its simplicity and melody.
Even if not every moment in this album is captivating and elegant, there is still a consistent peace throughout The Color Before The Sun that resonates with the listener. It’s not the hard rock blast the band is known for, but it still feels very much in the same identity that Coheed and Cambria have set.
It can be jarring to hear one of your favorite bands try something different. We all have experiences of getting burned by that both in and out of music. Coheed and Cambria have now proven they can swim into uncharted waters and keep above the tide just fine.
Overall, long time Coheed fans as well as people new to the style should be more than satisfied with this album. It is not the hard hitting guitar filled fury that the band is known for, but as for a one time project, it succeeds in spades.