Coheed And Cambria
Vaxis – Act 1: Unheavenly Creatures
Alt.prog nerdlings return to the comic-book source.
Coheed And Cambria have built a career on geekery. When they emerged 20 years ago, the New York band were a Rush for the Napster generation, weaving prog-tinged post-hardcore around a central narrative taken from a sci-fi comic-book story cooked up by mainman Claudio Sanchez.
Unheavenly Creatures, their ninth album, finds them picking up the thread after stepping away from it for their sole nonconceptual album, 2015’s The Color Before The Sun. For anyone not initiated in this selfcreated mythos, the lyrical ins and outs of the latest instalment might as well be delivered in Klingon.
Unfortunately, the music doesn’t pick up the slack. Synth-speckled near-title track Unheavenly Creatures is an early highlight, the stirring The Pavillons (A Long Walk Back) floats high on an updraft of emotion, and The Gutter is grandiose enough to give Muse a kick in the jet-packs. But at 78 minutes and 15 very similarsounding songs it’s a long and indigestible slog, one made even more tortuous by Sanchez’s love-it-or-hate-it kettle-whistle keen.
Anyone who spends their weekends lurking in the more pungent corners of sci-fi/horror/ comic-book shops will lap it up; for everyone else it’s less Star Wars, more Space Balls.