The Unheavenly Creatures - Creature Come and Get It
I need to preface this review by saying that I am a HUGE Coheed and Cambria fan. They are my favorite band, and I see little to no competition from any other band. I've tried to be as objective as possible here, and listened to the album enough times to be sure I was sick of it and no longer riding that "new album" high. With that out of the way, let's get into it.
The Unheavenly Creatures is part 1 of a new 5 part album series telling the tale of Vaxis, our new narrator. Their last album, the Color Before the Sun drew on frontman Claudio's personal life without being masked through a sci-fi rock opera narrative. It seems that this was necessary, as it allowed the band to unearth a much more emotional power in their music, something that is not lost now that there is once again a story to "hide" behind.
The Dark Sentencer opens the album with a powerful prog ballad. It perfectly sets the darker tone of the album, and has many callbacks to previous tracks such as Domino the Destitute, and the Willing Well suite of songs found on their third album. This is my favorite track on the album, and makes a strong argument for the best song the band has produced.
The most impressive thing about Coheed and Cambria is their ability to write songs in a variety of styles and genres and still have it feel like a Coheed song. Each of their first 7 albums all have a unique style and sound to them, and in that regard this album is their most ambitious yet. Perhaps taking inspiration from label mates Thank You, Scientist many songs on the album bring with them a different genre and yet in spite of this the album flows together perfectly and has a unified sound and emotion throughout.
Toys is Coheed once and for all proving that no genre of music is off limits to them. The chorus begs to be screamed along to, and the epic guitars coupled with Josh Eppard's incredible drum track come together to make an arena rock ballad that packs a hefty punch. It is a top 3 track off the album for sure and caught me completely by surprise when I first heard it. Another song that seems to explore new musical ground for the band is Black Sunday. I am still not convinced it isn't in fact an Audioslave or Soundgarden song, it gets real grungy real fast. A couple soaring ballads round out the "new" styles explored by the album, while the rest of the tracks are classic Coheed.
The greatest accomplishment of this album is how the narrative is truly felt within the music. The few opening tracks start off with a bang, while the middle of the album slows, focusing instead on building emotion and a feeling of stakes before picking back up with the "third act" where they burn everything down (please bring water). Many songs on the album start slow, building from the silence left by the end of the song that came before it. This gives each song a feel of being a chapter in a story, with its own beginning, middle and end, helping to tie the narrative together.
With this album Coheed has further refined, and almost perfected the "prog rock opera" style. The album is far greater than the sum of its parts; some songs, especially in the middle of the album seem to meld together rather than stand out, however it is nearly impossible to do anything other than listen to the whole thing start to finish. Hearing a song come up on shuffle brings with it the same feeling as catching a movie on TV that's already halfway through. Song for song this may not be Coheed's strongest outing, but taken as an entire package this is by far the best and most cohesive unit the band has ever produced. I can't wait to hear what the rest of this story has in the tank.
Rating - 5/5
Value - Worth every penny. Go buy the box set if you can that mask and book is incredible