Coheed and Cambria’s entire discography is a soundtrack to frontman Claudio Sanchez’s The Amory Wars comic book storyline, with every lyric fitting the plot, while simultaneously aiming to stand alone. Talk about ambition. We last left our cosmonaut “Afterman” Sirius Amory on a quest to investigate the “Keywork,” an energy source of 78 planets held together by the souls of dead characters who can possess Sirius’ body, thereby giving him the chance to see their past lives. This was during 2012’s first half of the double album, Ascension. Now, after being soul-infused by war criminal “Vic the Butcher,” prize fighter “Domino the Destitute,” and more, he’s aiming to return home. Here’s how his Descension unfolded (SPOILER ALERT):

Key Entity Extraction V: Sentry the Defiant


Sirius encounters his last “Key Entity,” an honest soldier named ‘soldier’ who was brutally hung by his war criminal higher-up (Vic the Butcher) for disobeying orders. In “Heaven’s Fence,” where these souls can come back to life through Sirius, Vic and Sentry battle once and for all. Meanwhile, Sirius learns through his robotic life support system what dire shape his health is in. Even worse, he comes to find out that he’s been gone from home not about a week, as he had originally thought, but for 547 days: [LISTEN]

Face the honest truth: you were never you
I’ll be defiant, the lion
Give them a fight that will open their eyes
Hangman hooded, softly swinging
Don’t close the coffin yet, I’m alive!
I will now bleed for what I believe in

The Hard Sell

the hard sell

Sirius is then swarmed by many more evil “entities,” presumably with promises of earthly riches, judging by the tidbits of info that Coheed have released to this point about this song. However, in astounding fashion – yet typical for Coheed – “The Hard Sell” mainly doubles as a real world battle-cry for artists of all types refusing to corporate shills, or promote an “industry of cool,” as it has been “Almost Famously” called: [LISTEN]

‘Cause there’s only one of me
And too many of you fighting over nothing
There’s never enough cool for everyone
And before you know it you’re selling out to be in

Gravity’s Union

gravitys union

Sirius was presumed – and pronounced – dead during his trip, which his wife had also warned was a suicide mission. So, during his absence, she had found another man – a police chief who wants Sirius to just stay in the Keywork forever. Due to the threat of mass hysteria, he’s unable to tell about the afterlife in the Keywork to his wife or friends, which also is reflected by the pain in these lyrics. Yet again, this could also double as a simple song for any regretful ex-lover who has been usurped by a sorry excuse of a replacement: [LISTEN]

And I was wrong to let you go
I accept my mistake, but you will never know

Caged, locked in perpetual motion
Carving our wounds wide open
But you let the wrong one in

Dark Side of Me

dark side of me

Sirius’ wife, Meri, comes clean about her affair with the police chief and her resulting pregnancy. Sirius, hearing this news while driving both of them in his car, crashes in shock and anger. Both Meri and her unborn child are killed, leaving him so depressed that he attempts suicide. Heavy stuff, but seriously – who drops a bomb like that on someone who’s driving? Nonetheless, both for the story and real life, this modern power-ballad – both in its original form and the remix – shows Coheed tugging heartstrings better than any rock bands have managed to do in recent memory: [LISTEN] – [REMIX]:

I gave my everything for all the wrong things
In this cold reality, I made this selfish war machine
Oh, this has become hell
How can I share this life with someone else?
I promise you, there is no weight that can bury us
Beneath the ghosts of all my guilt

2’s My Favorite 1

2 favorite 1

Meri’s soul ends up, you guessed it, inside the Keywork. During his time there, Sirius briefly experienced the “Samaritaine,” which is an enlightened dimension inside of the Keywork – basically the Nirvana inside “Heaven’s Fence,” which in itself is more like a sci-fi Purgatory. Sirius returns to the Keywork, in an attempt to find Meri and bring them both to the Samarataine, to live (or after-live?) happily ever after. Nice touch finishing that all up with a music geek metaphor: [LISTEN]

Our sum in monotone
While the record spins around
Please turn me over, slide me into my sleeve
Oh girl, please bring me home