Coheed And Cambria release their tenth album which sees them pick up the pieces where 2018s Vaxis I: The Unheavenly Creatures left off. Nia and Nostrand have a son, Vaxis, and this continues their journey into parenthood and the task of keeping him safe.
Coheed And Cambria – Vaxis II: A Window Of The Waking Mind (Roadrunner)
Release Date: 24 June 2022
Words: Robert Adams
If this all seems a bit too much sci-fi babble for you, don’t worry. Coheed and Cambria have always written accessible songs that, while following the story arc of the Amory Wars universe, can more than stand-alone without the listener knowing all the intricacies of the story.
The full story of the album is told in the album’s last song, A Window Of The Waking Mind, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.
Album opener The Embers Of Fire uses the chorus lyrics from The Unheavenly Creatures’ Old Flames and is a short and sweet introduction. Beautiful Losers is both a typical Coheed And Cambria track and an atypical Coheed And Cambria track. Let me explain – it has the typical Coheed melodies, harmony vocals and beautiful song structure. It’s not the heaviest track here, but it marries pop sensibilities with a gorgeous riff.
Comatose is a heavier prospect altogether, again with a gorgeous jagged riff and beautiful melodies. Shoulders has possibly the heaviest riff the band has ever written, yet it never becomes too much. The hook of the chorus catches you and never let’s go.
The first BIG surprises of the album comes with A Disappearing Act and Love Murder One. You’ll need your dancing shoes on for these two. Purists may baulk at these pop-infused slices of joy, but those killjoys are missing out. Although the riff is predominately electronic, Zach Cooper’s bassline and Josh Eppard’s drumming propels these bangers and, indeed, the entire album.
They have been let off the leash, and their performances are sublime throughout the album. That’s not to say the guitars of Claudio Sanchez and Travis Stever are lacking in quality. Musically, Coheed And Cambria leave no stone unturned to find what suits the track, and I would describe Vaxis II: A Window Of The Waking Mind as chaotic coherence.
They shift musical genres effortlessly, and it’s never out of place. If you want the full story of the album, get yourself the limited edition box set which comes with a 96-page graphic novel of the album.
The last three tracks on the album, Ladders Of Supremacy, Rise, Naianasha (Cut The Cord) and Window Of The Waking Mind, find us in proggy Coheed heaven. With more musical twists and turns than the Nürburgring racing circuit, it’s a truly glorious ending to the band’s best album of their career so far.
The good news is there are a further three albums to come in the Vaxis series.
With each subsequent release, Coheed And Cambria raise the bar on their musical journey and Vaxis II: A Window Of The Waking Mind is the best album they have released to date.
Coheed And Cambria are touring U.S.A in July / August with Alkaline Trio and UK and Europe in October with Thrice.
Vaxis II: A Window Of The Waking Mind
The Embers of Fire
A Disappearing Act
Love Murder One
The Liars Club
Ladders Of Supremacy
Rise, Naiasha (Cut The Cord)
Windows of The Waking Mind