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Thursday 31 January 2013

Reviews: Coheed & Cambria, Miss May I

Coheed & Cambria: The Afterman: Ascension (Hundred Handed/Everything Evil)

So the story of Armory Wars continues on this the first part of a double album from prog rockers Coheed & Cambria. While I've never actually followed the story itself I've always found C&C music very interesting as they have always merged pop and prog together much like one of my favourite bands 3. The comparisons between the two are numerous from Claudio Sanchez's vocals being similar to Joey Eppard's, the prog/pop formula both bands have, this is accentuated by the fact that both bands have a familial connection with Josh Eppard, C&C's drummer on this album (returning for his first album since From Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness) being Joey's brother. This is also the first album to feature new bassist Zach Cooper. The album ranges from heavy rockers like the tracks Key Entity Extraction Part I to IV, U2 like histrionics on The Afterman and the very Queen-like Goodnight, Fair Lady. This is another top quality album from Coheed who seem to have firmly established themselves as one of the leading modern prog-rock bands around today in terms of musicality and scope. 7/10

Coheed & Cambria: The Afterman: Descension (Hundred Handed/Everything Evil)

Part two of the ambitious continuing concept follows on in terms of style from Subtraction the final track of Ascension by starting with two acoustically driven tracks with the haunting mandolin based Pretelethal and Key Entity Extraction: Sentry The Defiant opening the proceedings in a very introspective and downbeat way. Whether this was a conscious decision is up to the band however when Key Entity... bursts into its heavy metal glory the band show that they are trying to expand their musical palate, Number City has a dancey rock-pop style and sounds a bit like Fallout Boy or Phil Collins! Descension is slightly less heavy than the first part of this double album which is by no means a bad thing but it is a bit more commercial sounding adding lots of processed electronics and modern pop sensibilities and yes it does drop off at towards the end album and the overall tone maintains an introspective tone. This second part is also good however like with many double albums released on two discs there can be songs that would have been better not making the cut so it would make a more concise single album but it is still a good album. 6/10

Miss May I: At Heart (Rise Records)

This is the Ohio natives’ third album and it apparently is more mature than their previous efforts. Having never heard their first two albums I can't make that comparison however what I can say is that is a heavy as hell slab of American metalcore that dabbles in Whitechapel, Parkway Drive and bands of their ilk. The band have some pretty technical guitar parts with some intricate riffage as seen on Hey Mister as well as some heavy as hell breakdowns on tracks like Leech and Second To None. The dual vocals also work well with (although normally I'm not a fan) with singer Levi Benton giving his most mighty roar and bassist Ryan Neff providing the melodic clean vocals that mix well. The songs themselves are well constructed and played with the right amount of electronics to create atmosphere that builds into some of the songs. With mixture of spiky metal and hardcore throw down’s Miss May I have definitely incorporated everything that that makes Metalcore so appealing to many, with shout-along choruses and some very brutal breakdowns. While I don't always see I to I with Metalcore when a band show me something special I can appreciate them. Miss May I have something special about them, perhaps it’s the fact that they have some very strong song writing behind them, but whatever it is they do what they do very well and this album has put them very firmly near the top of the pile of new American metal. 8/10

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