Artist – Coheed & Cambria
Album – The Afterman: Descension
Year – 2013
Genre – Modern Progressive Rock/Metal
Coheed & Cambria is one of the most unique bands to be found in modern rock today. Claudio Sanchez, the band’s frontman, is the author of the Amory Wars comic book series. The music he releases from his band, which is named after two of the main characters from the series, relates directly to the thoughts and actions of the characters in his comic. However, Sanchez is a smart enough musician to not pigeonhole himself into a specific niche. His lyrics cover broad themes of life, like love, death, triumph, and defeat. The music here is wonderful as well, so let’s take a look deeper at the track Dark Side of Me, recently released from their double album The Afterman.
A powerful drum opening kicks off the song, which actually begins rather quietly. A soft strumming guitar sets the tone of the verses in this song. Sanchez begins singing, and immediately you can hear the emotion he’s releasing in his voice. He rolls the notes perfectly, and each little flourish gives you chills. You’ll also probably notice that the lyrics are beautifully poetic. The first verses perfectly capture the essence of longing and loneliness that Sanchez is trying to convey.
When the chorus kicks in, Sanchez’s vocal delivery hits you right in the soul. His voice is an instrument on its own, as he wails “This has become hell. How can I share this life with someone else?” This is an absolutely beautiful line because it describes the turmoil and pain felt when looking back on a loved one. The next line continues this wonderfully written chorus: “There is no weight that can bury us beneath the ghosts of all my guilt here in the dark side of me.” Again, this is top-notch songwriting from Sanchez, and the band backs up the words perfectly with crashing drums and great atmospheric guitar picking that creates this swelling of feeling and grandeur.
The next verse again really brings out the loneliness and desperation of the song’s mood, although it is short. The next chorus begins with the same wonderful textures and themes. After this, there’s this wonderful bridge with a short lyric section and a chilling two seconds of glittering guitar. It really adds so much to the feel of the track in those two seconds. It just goes to show that no matter how short an amount of time it is, no piece of a song should go to waste.
There’s one last chorus, and the band finishes strong. All the palpable feelings held by Sanchez pour out here. It’s heartbreaking how perfectly the music from the band and Sanchez’s incredible singing and lyrics all come together to create this wonderful tale of lost love and regret. Sanchez does these wonderful harmonic “ohs” at the end of the song, and they put a beautiful cap on a song that already captures emotion so well. The guitar backs him perfectly, and the track ends with a little snippet from the characters of Sanchez’s comics speaking to one another.
This song really demonstrates how something that was designed for one purpose can touch people in a universal way. The way Sanchez sings really shows you he means every word, and his lyrics capture the tragic beauty that is loss. It’s pure poetry in music and in words. If you love beautiful melodies, heartfelt words, talented musicianship and great artistic rock, you will love Dark Side of Me.