Coheed and Cambria: Vaxis - Act II: A Window of the Waking Mind

Intrinsic

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Just realized this released in full.

The first few singles have been okay but I usually don't like some of them as singles and appreciate them more wrapped around the whole album.

Looking forward to how this continues The Unheavenly Creatures story of Nia and Nostrand.
 

Kirun

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Just realized this released in full.

The first few singles have been okay but I usually don't like some of them as singles and appreciate them more wrapped around the whole album.

Looking forward to how this continues The Unheavenly Creatures story of Nia and Nostrand.
Album is probably their best stuff since The Afterman. The "middle" of the album feels a bit "samey" to me, despite the songs individually being pretty good. It just kinda starts to feel like you're listening to the same song on repeat. I also dislike Beautiful Losers as the "opener" song - not that it's a bad song, I just don't like its placement.

The trio of songs at the end of the album are fucking GREAT though. Ladders of Supremacy and the title song closer are probably top 10 maybe even top 5 songs for them. I just wish Ladders was longer. It REALLY starts to open up around the 6 minute mark, but then it just kind of ends. That 6 minute to about 6:30 mark fucking FUCKS - I just wish it had about another 30 seconds or so to breathe and it'd probably be a top 3 song of theirs for me.
 
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Intrinsic

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Album is probably their best stuff since The Afterman. The "middle" of the album feels a bit "samey" to me, despite the songs individually being pretty good. It just kinda starts to feel like you're listening to the same song on repeat. I also dislike Beautiful Losers as the "opener" song - not that it's a bad song, I just don't like its placement.

The trio of songs at the end of the album are fucking GREAT though. Ladders of Supremacy and the title song closer are probably top 10 maybe even top 5 songs for them. I just wish Ladders was longer. It REALLY starts to open up around the 6 minute mark, but then it just kind of ends. That 6 minute to about 6:30 mark fucking FUCKS - I just wish it had about another 30 seconds or so to breathe and it'd probably be a top 3 song of theirs for me.

I'm with you there. On first listen once Ladders of Supremacy hit I was like "hell yeah!" and it remains my favorite track on the album. Rise, Naianasha was my favorite single already and the outro of Window of the Waking Mind is great and has the direct story drops.

Part of me feels like that middle part of the album was carry over from the Jessie's Girl 2 stuff. Not that they haven't done annoyingly poppy stuff, nor that some of it hasn't been catchy. But yeah, the middle is kind of a mush and not my, personal, favorite Coheed style. Beautiful Losers definitely pales in comparison to something like The Dark Sentencer as an opener, or probably my personal favorite No World for Tomorrow.

Unheavenly Creatures was definitely a harder album, with the struggles of Creature and Sister Spider, eventually getting in to their love and Old Flames, etc. This seems to be lighter overall touching on the struggles of Vaxis and, I guess, whatever timey-wimey stuff is going on between him as an adult and him as a child and the experiments and whatever else.

*edit: The middle part of Window of the Waking Mind is funny b/c it reminds me of Ayreon's The Human Equation, Day Five, maybe? Some part where he's in the hospital bed and they're talking to him.
 
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Kirun

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Part of me feels like that middle part of the album was carry over from the Jessie's Girl 2 stuff. Not that they haven't done annoyingly poppy stuff, nor that some of it hasn't been catchy. But yeah, the middle is kind of a mush and not my, personal, favorite Coheed style.
I think it's just Claudio continuing to experiment with synths and such. Did you hear his 2021 Prize Fighter Inferno album? It seems like carry-over from whatever creative juices inspired that record.

I actually love Coheed's "poppy" side - generally even more than their "prog" side. In fact, The Running Free is my favorite song of theirs. Blood Red Summer, A Favor House Atlantic, Ten Speed, The Suffering, Feathers, etc. They've done plenty of it on every record. But, like I've told my buddy who is obsessed with this record - all those songs weren't back to fucking back, mashed into a 5-6 song run. They were smashed between shit like Welcome Home, The Crowing, The Hound of Blood and Rank, etc. And that's the difference for me with the "poppy" songs on Vaxis:II compared to their older stuff.

Like I said, individually the songs are fucking great and I'd jam to almost every one of them if they came up in a random shuffle (except probably Blood and Our Love - the only real "misses" for me on the album). But, the fact that you get a 6-7 song run of 3 minute "radio" tunes was a bummer. I LOVE "Our Love's" placement, even though I don't like the song much, because it's a great "cooldown" into the banger of an ending trio. I also think Bad Man should've moved, since it's different enough that it would've broken up that middle run a little.

Then you have the song everybody is gushing over - A Disappearing Act. When I first heard the opening I was like, "Oh shit! What is this?!", since I LOVE when they do crazy shit that breaks the "norm" on an album (Number City being a great example). The problem is, the chorus kinda sucks and it also suffers from the same issue Ladders does, where it just ends out of nowhere.

That said, I really love how much the middle portion of the record highlights Josh and Zach. Josh fucking slays it on Comatose and Zach's bass on Love Murder One is some of the best shit he's ever done. All these songs should be insane live, where you don't have the vocal mix drowning out the instruments as much.
Beautiful Losers definitely pales in comparison to something like The Dark Sentencer as an opener, or probably my personal favorite No World for Tomorrow.
No World for Tomorrow is great (that's actually my favorite album of theirs), but IKSSE:3(the song) is their best opening ever. They've had other slammers before to open - NWFT and Dark Sentencer like you mentioned, Domino the Destitute, Sentry the Defiant, etc. Beautiful Losers just isn't placed well at all. Ladders would've been such a better opening and broken up that slog of "poppy" tunes as well. The only thing is that it would've killed that trio at the end, but I think it would've worked better overall.
Unheavenly Creatures was definitely a harder album, with the struggles of Creature and Sister Spider, eventually getting in to their love and Old Flames, etc.
I don't understand people's love of Unheavenly Creatures as an album. Don't get me wrong, it sounds MUCH more "cohesive" and the story elements are deeper than Vaxis: II, but holy shit is that album a marathon to get through. They EASILY could've cut 10-20 minutes out of that album. It has some all-time great songs like Old Flames (seems to be the theme of this arc), but it felt like that entire record is Claudio just singing the chorus 47 times to artificially extend a song, over and over. That's honestly their 3rd worst album for me and it surprises me to see how much a lot of people liked it, apparently.
This seems to be lighter overall touching on the struggles of Vaxis and, I guess, whatever timey-wimey stuff is going on between him as an adult and him as a child and the experiments and whatever else.
I'm starting to get the impression that Sirius is involved in this somehow. Plus, the album art is pretty blatantly The Afterman sitting behind Vaxis - unless that's just a massive troll.
 
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