To call Coheed and Cambria a unique band would be one hell of an understatement. With over 15 years and nine full length albums under their belt, the band has created an enormous science fiction, concept -driven, progressive rock opera that has only gotten bigger with every record. The Amory Wars has been the backbone of the band’s legacy from the very beginning and has played a huge part in the community and culture that surrounds them.
Having stepped away from the concept on 2015’s The Color Before The Sun to focus on a more personal record, the band has returned to The Amory Wars with a new chapter on ninth record The Unheavenly Creatures. Frontman Claudio Sanchez admits that some time away from the concept made it all the more exciting to come back to it.
“I knew that after The Color Before the Sun we were gonna return. Even while doing The Color Before the Sun, I knew that the next record would be inside The Amory Wars, I just wasn't exactly sure what story to tell. It wasn't until I started to get a few songs under my belt that the comic started to reveal itself to me.”
Rather than rushing into writing another release the moment the band finished touring for The Color Before The Sun, Sanchez took some time to focus on home life before getting the Coheed train moving again. The time off ultimately led to the songs coming together very naturally.
“I put the brakes on,” he says. “I didn't want to just rush into the studio because The Color Before the Sun's cycle was over. I wanted to spend time with my family. I just really wanted to find myself. I was writing songs and I was like, ‘I don't know if these are gonna work.’ There's some scraps that we didn't end up using because they just weren't right, but sometimes they would speak to me in a way that really helped paint pictures in my mind about what the story looked like.”
Coheed and Cambria have had their fair share of ups and downs throughout the years, with members coming and going for various reasons. The Unheavenly Creatures is the fourth record with bassist Zachary Cooper in the fold and the fourth record with original drummer Josh Eppard back behind the kit. Sanchez is happy to say that despite all of the trials they’ve been through, things have never been better in the Coheed camp. This was one of the key reasons the band decided to self-produce The Unheavenly Creatures.
“I think it was a big contributing factor to the decision of us going into the studio and self-producing this record – allowing all of our creating energies to really be the driving force behind the production. We've been doing this a long time, whether it's together or in different situations. We've come to a place where I don't think Coheed has ever been this comfortable.”
Coming in at just shy of 80 minutes long, The Unheavenly Creatures is quite the journey. Crazily enough, this is only the very beginning of this chapter of The Amory Wars, with four other parts coming in the not too distant future. While that might seem like a daunting task ahead to some, Sanchez sounds excited and eager to dive further than ever before into the story.
“With Coheed records, some are long, some are short. This one needed to be longer. We're really introducing listeners to a new set of rules, a new set of characters that ultimately will find out what their connection is to the pre-existing ones. I just wanted this to feel like, for Coheed fans, that we're coming home to The Amory Wars. We're coming home to the concept in every way it could be.
“At the end of the day, as much as I end up doing it for myself, I'm doing it for them. This is something we all enjoy. I enjoy creating it, they enjoy listening to it. I just want to make it as much of an enjoyable experience as possible for everybody. “
The Unheavenly Creatures is out now via Roadrunner Records/Warner Music.
Image via Jimmy Fontaine.