COHEED AND CAMBRIA – Vaxis II : A Window of the Waking Mind (2022)

COHEED AND CAMBRIA - Vaxis II : A Window of the Waking Mind (2022) full

COHEED AND CAMBRIA’s Claudio Sanchez has spent more than two decades building an ambitious mythology based around The Amory Wars saga, his series of interlocking comic books and novels that have provided the basis for eight of the band’s nine albums.
The upcoming album ”Vaxis II: A Window On The Waking Mind” (which was been delayed for Jume 24) is the 2nd installment of the new five-part “Vaxis” arc about a couple on the run from tyrannical forces and their mysterious new addition.
Throughout their career, the band have had one foot in the world of alt-rock/emo, and another in the prog sphere. Vaxis: Act I and that album’s non-conceptual predecessor The Color Before The Sun dialled the grandiosity back in favour of a more straightforward Rock approach. This time, the needle moves closer to the more ambitious approach of old, even if no one is going to confuse Coheed And Cambria for Gentle Giant.
This is rock& pop music masterfully pairing metal-infused riffs with sweeping, melodic vocals and light prog in a way that only Coheed can.

Prior knowledge of the helium-voiced Sanchez’s over-arching narrative isn’t mandatory, though knowing the storyline undoubtedly adds another dimension. As is customary with C&C albums, brief opener The Embers Of Fire’s deceptively delicate initial bars bloom into a portentous, quasi-classical overture – all big orchestral synths, marching percussion and faux-choral refrains – which suitably sets up the by turns clipped guitars and enormous, soaring choruses of Beautiful Losers.
In fact, there is a glut of chest-beating, expansive, yet irresistibly catchy choruses throughout the album – Comatose, Love Murder One and the super-charged urgent pop-rock of The Liar’s Club being prime examples.

Wider influences come into play on Bad Man, with its ultra-modern patina, forming an amalgam of electronic pop and rock. Tricksy prog metal tropes haven’t disappeared completely either as evidenced by the start/stop riffing, changes of dynamic and tempo, hefty drumming and guitar interplay across both Ladders Of Supremacy and Rise, Naianasha (Cut The Cord).
The real shot of prog comes with the concluding track, a shapeshifting, multipart mini-epic that revisits many of the album’s many facets, from the gently lyrical to the crushingly heavy, from desperate sincerity to a high-kicking shuffle, before taking us back to where we started with an orchestral coda.

”Vaxis II” won’t convert the doubters – moments of the album are unashamedly slick and chart-friendly. But few modern rock bands are as inventive within that framework as Coheed And Cambria, and fewer still feel like they’re doing whatever the hell they want, irrespective of what anyone else thinks.
And that’s the mark of a great band.


01 – The Embers of Fire
02 – Beautiful Losers
03 – Comatose
04 – Shoulders
05 – A Disappearing Act
06 – Love Murder One
07 – Blood
08 – The Liars Club
09 – Bad Man
10 – Our Love
11 – Ladders of Supremacy
12 – Rise, Naianasha (Cut The Cord)
13 – Window of the Waking Mind

Claudio Sanchez – lead vocals, guitar, keyboards
Travis Stever – guitar, mandolin, backing vocals, talk box
Josh Eppard – drums, backing vocals, keyboards, programming
Zach Cooper – bass, backing vocals


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