David Bowie – Blackstar

Only ten days of the new year have passed and already 2016 has shocked the music world. As I, and many others, had predicted Guns N’ Roses have announced a reunion that so far comprises of two festival dates, but will most likely extend into at least a US tour. Secondly, and very sadly, the rock icon David Bowie has passed away only two days after his twenty-fifth studio album, Blackstar, was released on his sixty-ninth birthday. It is therefore only fitting to give a brief review of Bowie’s final studio album in today’s RockAtlantic blog.

Blackstar sees Bowie returning to what he was best known for; experimentation. The title track is a long wandering piece that drifts between vibrato vocals set to a spacey backdrop, jazz fusion and electronically-processed sections. It is hugely alienating to anyone wanting something along the lines of Bowie’s more digestible music, but that is what makes the song, and indeed this album, work; it is Bowie with no restraints, guiding his own artistic path.

The album continues in this vein. ‘Tis A Pity She Was A Whore immediately reveals a stumbling dance between saxophone and piano; the former of which is really allowed free rein over this five minute grooving rock number. Bowie continues with and elevates the groove for Sue (Or In A Season of Crime), which is centred entirely around a bouncing guitar and drum pulse, embellished with odd keyboards, swelling atmospherics and saxophone splutters.

Bowie’s vocals are not always the strongest across the album, but it doesn’t detract from the excellent music and creativity on show. Girl Loves Me opens with a bizarre vocal performance, but in the context of this dreamy march it somehow works. However the following track, Dollar Days, allows Bowie’s vocals to take centre stage. The gentle guitar strum and piano tingle provide the closest thing to a commercial effort on the album – if indeed a sax solo and a myriad of Bowie extroversions can fit into such a bracket.

I Can’t Give Anything Away is also an easier listening experience that allows Bowie to give a softer, more reflective vocal contribution on top of synth textures and a driving rhythm section. Like every other song on Blackstar, Donny McCaslin’s saxophone makes a welcomed appearance, but arguably its most enjoyable appearance is within the loose structure of the slowly building Lazarus. The opening guitar and bass plod is eventually joined by various instrumentation and if the unannounced distorted guitar chords aren’t haunting enough, then Bowie’s first lyric, “Look up here, I’m in heaven”, will certainly send an eerie chill down your spine.

It’s hard not to blur and confuse the line between post-death adoration and the sound of a genuinely great album, but even before Bowie’s untimely death, Blackstar had all the ingredients of a superbly creative and genius album. I honestly believe this is a quality piece of music that provides the perfect eulogy for a man who has constantly challenged and changed the face of both mainstream and left-field music.

R.I.P David Bowie.

Overall: 8/10

Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed today’s blog please favourite, comment, share and subscribe.

James

 

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The Albums of 2016

With the turn of the year, it is customary to think about what records will be released over the next twelve months, beginning with the known in January to the crystal ball predictions of December.

January is set to be a very exciting month. It begins with the release of David Bowie’s twenty-fifth record, Blackstar, which from the initial previews sounds like an experimental, art rock record, which already seems to be a far more ambitious effort than 2013’s middling comeback record, The Next Day.

The month continues to offer progressive gems, with a surprise EP release from Steven Wilson, simply titled 4 1/2, in reference to its place in Wilson’s superb solo discography. It is then followed by a monolithic effort from Dream Theater entitled The Astonishing, which is a double concept album, with a 34 song track-listing and an accompanying indulgent website. Everything points to this being Dream Theater’s most ambitious record since Scenes From A Memory and Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence.

January is completed with another dystopian-themed record in Megadeth’s Dystopia, in addition to a solo album from ex-Flyleaf singer Lacey Sturm and progressive efforts from both Ulver and Avantasia.

The highlights of February seem to be the fourth record from Andrew Stockdale’s Wolfmother entitled Victorious and a record from another of the thrash Big Four: Anthrax’s For All Kings, which sees the debut of new lead guitarist Jon Donais.

After February the year’s release timetable becomes more hazy, although it seems like 2016 promises to be a good year for metal.

After two spectacular releases in 2010 and 2012 that reignited their career, Deftones are set to release Koi No Yokan‘s follow-up in early 2016. After being pushed back several times, their eighth studio album is reported to push into further musical territories and see the band head in a heavier direction.

In addition to Deftones, the two European heavy-weights of djent, Gojira and Meshuggah, are rumoured to be releasing their sixth and eighth studio albums respectively in the coming year. They are joined by the likes of Testament, Mastodon and a seventh album for Avenged Sevenfold, which will reveal if this next-generation headliner has what it takes to produce a truly great metal record, after their Metallica-inspired sixth album split opinion like the proverbial Marmite.

Mark Tremonti will have a busy 2016, with Dust, the partner to last year’s Tremonti album, Cauterize, to be released and then toured in the time between him finishing the recording and then releasing a new Alter Bridge album.

Both Nikki Sixx and Trent Reznor are also set for a busy 2016, as the former has announced that two Sixx:AM records will be released this year, whilst the latter has stated that “Nine Inch Nails will return in 2016”, hopefully bringing Hesitation Marks‘ follow-up, in addition to his usual packed schedule of projects.

On the lighter end of the rock spectrum, 2016 could see Red Hot Chili Peppers release their first record since I’m With You in 2011, after the band reported they have finished recording the music and are just waiting for Anthony Kiedis to track vocals. A 2016 release therefore seems likely, but yet again, this is the same situation that Tool have been in for some while…

And on the subject of unlikely releases, will this be the year that Metallica finally complete their tenth studio release? Or maybe it will be the year of the much-rumoured Guns N’ Roses reunion? Only time will tell, but it looks like 2016 is going to be another fantastic year for guitar music and RockAtlantic will be here to document it all.

Have a happy new year and thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this blog please favourite, comment, share and subscribe.

James

RockAtlantic’s Top 10 Records of 2015 Part 2

On Tuesday I went through the first half of this year’s top 10 record list, which you can find here. However whilst positions 10 to 6 are of course very important, there’s really only one number we care about…

5 – Riverside – Love, Fear & The Time Machine

This Polish prog band began life with Porcupine Tree comparisons, but only over the last three albums have they begun to step out of that shadow and emerge as a progressive force in their own right. Their sixth album sees the band taking their first big risk. The metal riffage has been severely reduced, replaced with gorgeous atmospheres and relaxed tones, creating a soundtrack for a daydream. Yes, this album can rock, but you’ll find most enjoyment from the beautiful musicality hidden within.

4 – Clutch – Psychic Warfare

How to follow up Earth Rocker was the key question on every Clutch fan’s mind. The answer, it turned out, was simple; follow the same formula, but add just enough new ideas to keep it sounding fresh – and it worked! Psychic Warfare is even more relentless than Earth Rocker was. Thick, blues inspired hard rock riffs, with simple, yet hard hitting rhythm sections, topped off with Neil Fallon’s unique vocal style make Psychic Warfare the best hard rock album of the year. Clutch are a band that just keep on giving.

3 – Between the Buried & Me – Coma Ecliptic

Between the Buried & Me (BTBAM) have always been superb musicians, in regards to both their technical proficiency and their songwriting skills. However, they have never truly grabbed the attention of the progressive world because of their heavy leanings toward death metal. With Coma Ecliptic that has all changed. Yes, there’s still growled vocals and riffs that decay into sheer noise, but the album is also populated with bubbling keyboards, clean vocals, unusual tempos and excellent guitar work; everything to make fans of progressive music swoon. Coma Ecliptic is BTBAM’s masterpiece thus far and is quite an imperious statement of intent.

2 – Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor

Marilyn Manson may no longer be the infamous pop culture rebel of the nineties, but when he’s making music this good, he doesn’t need to be. The majority of his post-best of work has seen Manson haphazardly stumbling from album to album, as he has tried to adopt a more artistic persona. This matured Manson has long been considered out for the count, but The Pale Emperor is an exciting rebirth that takes the spark of his early work and combines it with the greater artistry he’s developed over the last ten years. There’s music to shock, music to make you think, music to rock out to and most importantly music to get you excited. If it wasn’t for his croaky, drug-hurt voice, The Pale Emperor could easily be placed alongside his triptych work (Antichrist Superstar, Mechanical Animals, Holy Wood).

1 – Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase.

It seems impossible, but Wilson’s output just keeps improving with time. Hand. Cannot. Erase. somehow manages to take the classic prog sound he has developed over his last few records and make it sound fresh and modern to fit the album’s concept. Hand. Cannot. Erase. still contains lengthy instrumental sections with swelling keyboards and organs, twiddly guitar solos, flute cameos and nods to King Crimson, but Wilson has woven in gentle electronics, female vocals, rich atmospheres and lively percussion to lift his traditional prog into the 21st century. His team of virtuosi execute his ambitious music perfectly, adding character to complex segments and creating musical moments to savour. Steven Wilson has finished his classic prog nostalgia and is now making what can only be described as a new-wave of progressive music – and it’s superb!

That concludes the 2015 countdown. Do you agree with my choices? Who do you think deserves the number one spot? Please comment, favourite, share and subscribe if you enjoyed this post. Thank you for reading.

James

RockAtlantic’s Top 10 Records of 2015 Part 1

First of all I want to say sorry for the lack of posts on this blog. It has been a while since my last post (about a month I believe) because it turns out working and running a blog don’t always go hand in hand! Like all good bands coming back from a hiatus, I want to bring my own hiatus to an end with something special. So here’s the first of two blogs listing RockAtlantic’s top 10 records released in the year of 2015! Today it’s numbers 10 to 6.

10 – David Maxim Micic – EGO & ECO

I featured Micic and his 2015 EP pairing on an Introducing blog in August. EGO is a more progressive effort than its counterpart, mixing djent elements with his virtuoso guitar playing to produce four supremely detailed tracks. Contrast this with ECO‘s more relaxed, almost hypnotic vibe, and you soon begin to realise how diverse and talented Micic is. His music is never going to trouble the charts, but for fans of instrumental progressive music Micic’s collection of unique EPs is a great find.

9 – Lamb of God – VII: Sturm Und Drang

The first record after vocalist Randy Blythe’s imprisonment and lawsuit was always going to be a monumental occasion. Fortunately for LOG fans, the five-piece channeled their traumatic times into a concise effort that when it wasn’t busy ripping your face off, surprised listeners with the odd experimentation in song structure and style. Notably Overlord introduced a grungy clean vocal and a soft blues-influence, from a band that until now has never done anything but blast drop-tuned riffs at eleven. Sturm Und Drang is Lamb of God reaching maturity and it will undoubtedly provide a stepping stone to a more diverse metal sound on future records.

8 – Tesseract – Polaris

Where once only a handful of bands occupied the scene, djent is now an over-saturated genre sagging under the weight of mediocrity. Very few bands have been able to differentiate themselves and stand out as either a pioneer or a front-runner, but even with a revolving door of high-pitched vocalists, Tesseract have cemented themselves as leaders of the djent genre. Polaris sees the British quintet develop their ethereal brand of djent further into the realm progressive metal, by employing the stereotypical percussive riffs carefully and learning to focus on song structure and dynamics.The only question remaining around Tesseract is whether they can maintain a stable lineup or not.

7 – Coheed & Cambria – The Color Before The Sun

It’s hard to rate The Color Before The Sun because it is so different compared to the rest of their discography. Firstly it is their first record not to be written around their sprawling sci-fi concept and secondly progressive rock has given way for a much poppier sound. Looking at things critically The Color Before The Sun has some superb moments. The Audience is a fantastic and aggressive guitar-led track, Peace to the Mountain is an emotional acoustic journey and Atlas is a beautiful song dedicated to vocalist Claudio Sanchez’s newborn son. The Color Before The Sun is a very honest and personal record and whilst pop melodies and slick production might not be everyone’s cup of tea, there’s no doubt that Sanchez and co. can still write an engaging rock album.

6 – Bruce Soord – Bruce Soord

The Pineapple Thief leader has often been thought of as a mix between Steven Wilson and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. With this self titled record, Soord continues his parallels with the former by breaking free from his band environment (which, like Wilson, he has full creative control of) to release a record that sees him delve into a more eclectic and left-field array of influences. Bruce Soord delivers sparse droning piano keys, grooving orchestration and Floyd-esque guitar solos in one bundle, which would be considered too unpopular for a conventional Pineapple Thief release. However on his own he is allowed a free reign, resulting in an unusual, yet somewhat charming debut effort, which is of course exactly how Wilson’s blossoming solo career began in 2008. Watch this space.

The second half of my top 10 countdown will be available soon and I hope to blog more frequently in the coming months! As always thank you for reading and if you’ve enjoyed this blog post please comment, favourite, share and subscribe.

James

Guns N’ Roses and Other Unlikely Reunions

It probably hasn’t escaped your attention that there are some very strong rumours circulating the music world that the classic (i.e Appetite For Destruction-era) lineup of Guns N’ Roses are reuniting. This claim comes as a massive shock to most because of the string of insults that have been thrown between the old band members, especially between vocalist Axl Rose and iconic guitarist Slash, for many years, following their split in the mid-nineties.

In addition to Rose and Slash, the classic lineup is considered to be bassist Duff McKagan, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin and drummer Steven Adler. However, the rumours seem to suggest it will either be Matt Sorum (who joined in 1991) or current member Frank Ferrer on drums and that current rhythm guitarist Richard Fortus will keep his place too.

A classic lineup reunion for Guns N’ Roses has been almost unthinkable over the past two decades, however if the rumours can be believed and we are on the verge of a historical announcement, then I want to indulge myself in musical fantasies and discuss what other conflict-fraught lineups could yet reunite if their differences were put aside.

The Smashing Pumpkins

When it comes to being an arrogant dictator in a band, it’s hard to look past Billy Corgan. Their original and classic lineup consisted of Corgan on guitar and vocals, James Iha on guitar, D’arcy Wretzky on bass and Jimmy Chamberlin on drums, but by 1996, five years after their debut album, the band was on the brink. It was well known that Corgan controlled the recording process, rarely letting Iha and Wretzy perform their parts, however the initial catalyst for their breakup was touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin’s fatal overdose. On the same night Chamberlin also overdosed and was subsequently fired from the band, before Wretzky was fired for similar reasons several years later, resulting in Iha walking out too. The band was well and truly over by the turn of the millennium.

After a five year hiatus Corgan eventually continued on with the Pumpkins names, reuniting for one album cycle with Chamberlin, before quickly hiring new members into the fold, whom have mostly gone their separate ways too. From an outside perspective it seems that the relationships between the classic lineup have been completely severed and that Corgan is still unable to maintain a healthy atmosphere within the band. Combining this with the fact that, since the breakup, the only other member to be musically active in the mainstream has been Iha with A Perfect Circle, it looks unlikely that the Smashing Pumpkins would ever reunite. But who’s to say it couldn’t ever happen…

Oasis

I personally can’t stand Oasis, which coincidentally is exactly how the Gallagher brothers view each other. Liam and Noel Gallagher formed one of the most iconic songwriting duos in British rock music, writing eight number one albums and singles together, coming the closest to replicating the media obsession over the Beatles. However their increasingly fragile relationship finally snapped backstage in August 2009 where a fight broke out, which quickly culminated in the band breaking up. Since then there has been no effort to reunite the band and Liam’s subsequent group Beady Eye has also disbanded. However Slash and Axl’s relationship was reportedly as frosty as the Gallagher’s brothers, so is there still some hope for Oasis fans yet?

Marilyn Manson

Marilyn Manson has a habit of aggravating band members, almost as much as Axl, Billy and the Gallaghers do. One such incident was the on-stage spat between then-guitarist John 5 and Manson himself during their Golden Age of Grotesque album cycle (shown below), which is one of many fall outs between Manson and various band members. The original lineup, or any lineup for that matter, was short lived, with original members Gidget Gein and Daisy Berkowitz leaving due to repeated drug overdoses and frictions respectively before the band could even record their second album. Since then a whole cast of members have been hired and often quickly deposed of, leaving lineups confused and continuity non-existent, turning what was once a band into very much a solo project for Manson. An original ‘Spooky Kids’ reunion, performing their original material would be almost impossible, but would undoubtedly draw the crowds.

Queensryche

My final impossible reunion is that of Queensryche, the American progressive metal band. The original and classic lineup that existed around their most successful album, Operation: Mindcrime, consisted of singer Geoff Tate, guitarists Michael Wilton and Chris DeGarmo, bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield. The first of this lineup to leave was DeGarmo who departed in 1997 due to growing dysfunction within the band, however the remaining four members stayed together until 2012, when one of the nastiest band splits occurred.

Growing tensions within the band finally boiled over when the band fired their manager, who unfortunately was also Tate’s wife. This apparently led to a brawl, which ended up with two different versions of Queensryche existing, one with the band and new singer Todd La Torre and another with Tate and a brand new collection of musicians. What followed was a lawsuit which amongst other rulings, resulted in Tate’s band being renamed Operation: Mindcrime and the other members keeping the Queensryche name. The chances of a full reunion are practically zero. But hey, just look at Guns N’ Roses…

What bands would you like to see reunite that have little chance of doing so? Let me know by commenting below and as always like and share if you have enjoyed this RockAtlantic blog.

James

RockAtlantic’s last three album reviews:

The RockAtlantic Guide: Placebo

In this week’s RockAtlantic blog I want to try a new post idea. Recently I have been focusing on writing reviews of new releases, but part of the joy of reviewing music is being able to pick out gems from the past. With this blog post I want to give a brief overview of a band’s entire career, providing a general guide for their discography whilst picking out highlights and critiquing where they fell short. The band I’m going to start with is one that has been circulating my iPod over the last fortnight: Placebo.

Placebo (1996) – Overall: 7/10

Placebo’s eponymous debut album is responsible for breaking the band into the public eye, most notably with the single Nancy Boy. The album also spawned four other singles, which alongside the rest of the record, portray themes of sexuality, drugs and gender that would later come to define the band. Musically the album mixes the heavy and dense guitars of post-grunge with the spunk and melody of glam within an alternative rock format, which when combined with Brain Molko’s intelligent, yet teen-appealing lyrics, makes Placebo an intriguing affair. Unfortunately the final two tracks of the album lose focus, which there are also brief hints of throughout the other three non-single tracks. Nevertheless Placebo was a strong debut album and still has the intended impact.

Without You I’m Nothing (1998) – Overall: 5/10

Without You I’m Nothing contains the darker side of Placebo, meaning some of their second album gets bogged down in mundane, depressing marches and whiny vocals. However, within this darker atmosphere are tracks like Every You, Every Me, Pure Morning and Scared of Girls, which shine with infectious melodies and introverted lyrics. Without You I’m Nothing also contains much more diversity than its predecessor, with punk-inspired blasts and depressing ballads gracing the same track listing. However, the album contains fewer highlights than Placebo and despite its many successes, it felt like a step in the wrong direction.

Black Market Music (2000) – Overall: 8/10

If Without You I’m Nothing focused on the darker side of Placebo’s sound, then Black Market Music concentrated on the more experimental aspects of their repertoire, pushing the band further into the alternative rock arena. With tracks like Special K and Taste In Men, Brain Molko made his lyrics less cryptic (in some occasions) and embraced wider influences, including glam, rap and electronic music. Because of this Black Market Music comes across as a vibrant record, despite the album’s numerous dark themes and the heavily drugged-up status of the band members at the time.

Sleeping With Ghosts (2003) – Overall: 8/10

Sleeping With Ghosts is the final album in Placebo’s transition from the post-grunge of their debut to the alternative rock label that they are usually given. The album also saw the band mature, taking a more measured approach, both musically and lyrically. One of the album’s strengths is the lack of filler; each track serves a purpose and doesn’t get stuck in overly-pretentious lyrics or stagnant song structures. Even the singles are more considered, providing a more deeper experience than the immediate gratification that is often expected from a band in the mainstream eye.

Meds (2006) – Overall: 10/10

Meds took the maturity learned on Sleeping With Ghosts and combined it with serious themes of alcoholism and drugs, in addition to documenting the most turbulent period of the band. As is often the case, with great hardship comes great artistry and Meds offers some of the best music the British trio have ever recorded. Infrared and Meds are infectious, straight-up rock tracks, whilst Follow the Cops Back Home and In The Cold Light of Morning take the listener down the deepest, most depressing thoughts of Molko’s psyche. The album flows excellently and provides just the right amount of variety, whilst maintaining a distinct sound throughout – it’s Placebo at their finest.

Battle For The Sun (2009) – Overall: 6/10

In contrast to the dark and subdued Meds, Battle For The Sun is a bright poppy affair, which flips the band’s outlook on life on its head, celebrating love and relationships. Sure, the odd moment of melancholy appears and makes its voice heard, but nevertheless Battle For The Sun remains Placebo’s most optimistic musical observation. The album is also packed with great ideas: For What It’s Worth has swagger and lush instrumentation, whilst Julien and Kings of Medicine experiment with song structures in a creative way. Unusually it is where the bright and sparky formula disappears that Placebo trip up on this record; Come Undone plods along aimlessly, Happy You’re Gone is dominated by an annoying whiny vocal and Devil In The Details feels too repetitive to enjoy it fully. In addition to this some of the album’s poppier moments fall flat with repeat listens, making this adventure into positive thinking fall into the ‘neither-here-nor-there’ category.

Loud Like Love (2013) – Overall: 7/10

Placebo’s most recent outing is combination of the last two albums. The accessibility practiced on Battle for the Sun is combined in many parts with the sadder tones from Meds, although brighter moments are allowed to shine through, making Loud Like Love a very diverse record. Unusually the album’s second half is stronger than the first, as it is filled with honest moments of worry and regret, such as the emotional Bosco and A Million Little Pieces, which vastly outshine the bizarre lyrics of tracks like Rob the Bank and Too Many Friends which try too hard to recapture their past. Loud Like Love is a snapshot of a band trying to redefine their sound now that the band are no longer in their twenties and on drugs, and it provides a promising outlook for their future.

Join the RockAtlantic mailing list by clicking on follow and, as always, press like if you enjoyed this blog and let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

James

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Review: Coheed & Cambria – The Color Before The Sun

The Color Before the Sun is the eighth studio album from the increasingly hard-to-define quartet from New York. Coheed & Cambria began life playing intelligent pop punk, which provided a platform for a sprawling sci-fi story penned by vocalist and guitarist Claudio Sanchez. They soon evolved to incorporate a vast array of influences, culminating in two, two-part albums, which covered everything from metal anthems and lengthy progressive numbers to simple pop songs and acoustic lullabies.

'The Color Before the Sun' - Image from Wikipedia

‘The Color Before the Sun’ – Image from Wikipedia

Fast forward to 2015 and Coheed & Cambria’s eighth full effort almost sees the band returning to where they began. Lead single, You Got Spirit, Kid, is taken straight from the chart-topping pop punk of the late nineties/early naughties, taking direct influences from bands like Fall Out Boy and The Offspring. For what it is, You Got Spirit, Kid is a solid track, but it fails to evoke the same emotion that Blood Red Summer or anything from their debut, Second Stage Turbine Blade, can do so well.

However, to the most dedicated fan (which is most of them, including me) it is not the genre shift that marks the biggest change, but the song’s subject matter. This is because The Color Before the Sun is their first effort to not detail the events of their fictional sci-fi world. To casual fans this won’t make any difference, but for the majority of the fan base, this album has been treated with some caution.

Fortunately, there is no need for breath-holding and concerned faces, as The Color Before the Sun delivers what the band are best known for: sublime pop melodies incorporated into a rock package. Most notably the love ballad Here To Mars (think 2’s My Favourite 1 but with more sparkle) and the bubbly The Island bring infectious choruses to simple rock formats, whilst Eraser is the pick of the bunch, with enough attitude and riffage to remind of Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 era Coheed.

However, The Color Before the Sun offers more than just a collection of straight-forward pop rock anthems, but actually displays some inventive gems. The Audience is one of the best progressive numbers the band have written, mixing gnarly guitar riffs, schizophrenic vocals and an overriding sense of impending doom with a catchy chorus, in a way that reminds of Holly Wood the Cracked or Al The Killer, showing the band can still fit into the metal category from time-to-time. Similarly Atlas, which was first revealed to fans as an acoustic number, sees the band turn up their amps to create a truly outstanding musical tribute to Sanchez’s new son.

Coheed & Cambria’s musical diversity is really shown off on this record, from metal to acoustic, which is incredibly impressive considering the short track listing. Both Colors and Ghost are very stripped back, clean-sounding tracks, the former falling into line with the record’s emphasis on pop melodies and the latter taking inspiration from Sanchez’s introverted and haunting side project, The Prize Fighter Inferno. The final acoustic song on the record, Peace to the Mountain is an epic closer that evolves from a gentle arpeggio into an orchestrated finish, combining elements of Fleetwood Mac with the uplifting tones of a summer blockbuster; a truly spine-tingling mixture.

The only negative, along with the slightly disappointing You Got Spirit, Kid, is Young Love, which fails to leave an impression, getting lost in heavy Year of the Black Rainbow-esque atmospheres and a fairly tedious riff. Pushing those two tracks aside, The Color Before the Sun is a fantastic collection of Coheed & Cambria songs, which highlight the band’s pop tendencies, but without compromising that special something that makes Coheed so infectious.

Overall: 7/10

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Join the RockAtlantic mailing list by clicking on follow and, as always, press like if you enjoyed this blog and let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

James