Artist: Coheed and Cambria

Album: The Color Before the Sun

Label: 300 Entertainment

Release Date: October 16th, 2015

Over the course of seven albums and a series of tie-in comic books chronicling the fictional Amory Wars, the upstate New York natives Coheed and Cambria have been sinking into prog-rock purgatory. While the unprecedented commitment to their multimedia science fiction story is admirable, recent albums like Year of the Rainbowand The Afterman raised the question of whether the concept album format was pushing the band to their limits or stifling their creativity. Luckily, The Color Before the Sun abandons the trend.

Lyrically, Coheed and Cambria’s eighth studio album is decidedly more personal than their previous efforts. Musically, the band presents a familiar post-hardcore formula, but maintains their own personal flourish with upbeat basslines and signature airy guitar solos, along with a welcome sprinkling of piano and strings. The end result makes for Coheed’s most pop-sensible record to date: nearly any song on this album could be a single. Particular standouts are the energetic opener “Islands” and the subtle, introspective “Colors.”

While Color Before the Sun is a solid and refreshing effort, it’s not without its flaws. Over the course of the album, singer Claudio Sanchez croons his way through this personal journey in a way that only he could. But while his vocal attack is something entirely his own, his lyrical content occasionally falls prey to classic pop-punk and post-hardcore tropes, leaving a few tracks to border on cliché. Fortunately, no song on the record is without its redeeming qualities. In spite of its lyrical fumbles, The Color Before the Sun is an upbeat, feel-good record, and it’s easily Coheed’s most accessible effort to date. This is a record for any fans who lost faith over the course of The Amory Wars, and this is a record for anyone who has enjoyed the band’s sound but never had any interest in their dramatic narrative arc or their often-bloated seven-minute songs.

LIKEYOUSAID Critic Score: 7.5/10

Album Review by Jesse Mangan.

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