Coheed and Cambria are in a world of their own on 'Vaxis – Act 1: The Unheavenly Creatures'

A stellar work of progressive rock.

Coheed And Cambria are literally in a world of their own. Most of the New York band’s records are concept albums, based on guitarist and lead singer Claudio Sanchez’s comic book series The Amory Wars. However, familiarity with these stories is no requirement for those looking for a worthy progressive rock journey like Vaxis - Act 1: The Unheavenly Creatures.

The epic ‘The Dark Sentencer’ does not hold back, with Claudio’s commanding singing complimented by gang vocals acting as a call to arms. ‘Heavenly Creatures’ features the albums first and most obvious use of ‘80s synths and chip tunes, which more often than not feel out of place – a piano would have done just fine. This track does have the catchiest chorus though; “run run run run run/Like a son of a gun.”

Sanchez’s music is certainly dynamic. His guitar playing and vocals can flip between pop and heavy metal with ease. The track ‘Gutter’ is one of the best examples of this, with Sanchez screaming between the big choruses. Songs like ‘Black Sunday’ and ‘Queen of the Dark’ embrace a dark and moody feel, and the album finishes with the soft, sentimental, mostly acoustic ballad ‘Lucky Stars’.

Despite its long length, The Heavenly Creatures is an accessible listen and will be loved by progressive rock lovers and Coheed fans, both new and old.

By Stefan Bradley