To say that Coheed and Cambria have been committed to their ongoing Armory Wars concept is an understatement to the extreme. The seven-album arc has dictated their direction over nearly two decades, originally gave the outfit their name and cemented their status as one of rock's biggest cult bands.
Now, with The Color Before The Sun, they've stepped outside it for the very first time, and it's an absolute triumph. Opening an album that conjures a rollercoaster of emotion, there's an evident sense of freedom to The Island, which is mirrored throughout the record.
It feels not only like the Coheed album that we were waiting for, but the one that they were waiting for, too.
You Got Spirit, Kid, the album's first single feels like a chart-troubler. Sure, Coheed's back catalogue has been littered with catchier tunes among the Armory Wars - Running Free and Welcome Home two such examples - but never before has a track jumped out so readily to be embraced by the mainstream.
That it had slowly segued in from the mesmeric, acoustic-driven Young Love, just seems a little unfair. Amongst it all, The Color Before The Sun still finds time to bare its teeth - there are moments in Eraser and The Audience where Coheed threaten to go full metal, but they're sparing and far more effective for it.
Just look at the soaring chorus to From Here To Mars, or the gorgeous Atlas - an ode to Claudio's (at the time of writing, unborn) eponymous son. It's easy to throw those words around to describe touching tracks, but when the chorus boasts a stunning vocal line and crescendos through "you're the weight of his anchor. The love that is guiding him home, the love that's guiding him home," it's impossible not to be moved a little.
This is an album that should be held up as an exercise in rock songwriting - an album to sit far closer to the likes of Letlive.'s The Blackest Beautiful, or the Foo Fighters' Wasting Light than their previously prog-centric peers. Of course, the band's musicianship underpins it all, channeling their energy into perfectly crafted pieces, executed to perfection.
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