Coheed and Cambria have always been a band with a concept. Ever since their debut album in 2002, their albums have been based around their personally created sci-fi story The Armory Wars, delivering the story alongside the series’ comic books. For their eighth album, The Color Before the Sun, they’ve changed things up: This is their first studio album to not be contained within the Armory Wars storyline.
Aside from its smaller scope compared to their previous albums, nothing much else has changed. Songs still draw elements from rock, metal and pop, never going all-out aggressive and crazy, but offering their fair share of aggressive tracks such as Eraser, whose melodic chorus is easily the defining factor despite the aggression, and The Audience, which stands out as the album’s darkest track, and also features the most aggressive moments across the entire album despite their fleeting nature.
In true Coheed style, the most powerful tracks tend to be the one with more pop elements thrown into the mix. Island’s calmer verses offset the heavy guitar of the choruses perfectly, without detracting from the pop rock vibe of both the melodies and the vocals of Claudio Sanchez. You Got Spirit, Kid takes a similar but more restrained route, focusing less on aggressive guitars and more on catchy, bouncing arrangements and hook-laden lyrics, making for an equally powerful package. The acoustic style of Ghost and rock balladry of closing track Peace To the Mountain round the package out perfectly, reinforcing their ability to work with different styles and Sanchez’s ability to carry them all with his powerful vocals and infectious tone.
The Colour Before the Sun isn’t a wildly adventurous album, or even one that wears its separation from the Armory Wars storyline openly on its sleeve unless you pay attention to the lyrics. This is barely an issue, though; the album didn’t need to radically shake things up to be enjoyable, and the musicality and style of the band is still on show. Its separation from The Armory Wars may be a breaking point for faithful fans, but from a general point of view, The Color Before the Sun is another infectious and enjoyable record from Coheed and Cambria.