Coheed and Cambria – Vaxis II: A Window of the Waking Mind (Album Review)

Coheed and Cambria – Vaxis II: A Window of the Waking Mind (Album Review)

Coheed and Cambria have been one of the more unique bands to break into the mainstream Rock world over the past twenty years. Integrating elements of Progressive Rock, Pop, Heavy Metal, and Post-Hardcore, they established a solid fan base early in the game with their 2003 album In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3. Turning on more and more listeners album after album, they are now veterans who have solidified their place on the scene.

That in mind, they have dabbled in the concept piece realm since the start…just look at back to recent history with 2018’s Vaxis – Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures. A well-received album best described as being abundantly full of musical layers, it also featured lyrics that are more than skin deep. Now four years removed from that album, Coheed and Cambria return with the sequel, Vaxis II: A Window of the Waking Mind.

Released on Friday, June 24, 2022 through Roadrunner Records, following its predecessor Vaxis I: The Unheavenly Creatures, Coheed and Cambria continue to follow the Sci-Fi storyline of The Armory Wars. A long running theme, minus their 2015 album The Color Before The Sun, it has has been ongoing since 2001. Like each previous Coheed and Cambria album, Vaxis II: A Window of the Waking Mind simply cannot be listened to as merely background music. In fact, it will draw your attention more and more until there is nothing else around but the music.

Each of the thirteen songs tells one chapter of the story that is just as exciting as the last. Furthermore, the arrangements add imagery to the words in your mind, so listening almost feels like reading the actual comic books also created by Coheed and Cambria. It all starts with the wonderfully soft opening “The Embers of Fire” which expands all around you before it fades into “Beautiful Losers.” The latter, “Beautiful Losers,” mimics the sound of waves with its melody that sway you back and forth. Thereafter “Comatose” is faster and and more thriving, thus sucking you deeper into the story. This is while “Shoulders” comes crashing down hard and heavy bringing you to the epicenter of the album.

Moving right along, “A Disappearing Act” brings on a feeling of hope with its catchy melodies before “Love Murder One” offers a hint of mystery. Then “Blood” continues with a slow and melancholic feeling before the energetic “The Liars Club.” However, emotions keep bouncing all over, and “Bad Man” carries on heavy sadness as well as seriousness that will stick you. Not to worry though, because “Our Love” sheds some light after the darkness, pushing away the rain clouds to let the sun through. At this point in the final chapter, “Ladders of Supremacy” is more than six minutes of heavily loaded music. With lots of details, it is one of the longest songs which slowly prepares you for the finale. This comes with “Rise, Naianasha (Cut The Cord)” lasting for over five minutes and “Window of the Waking Mind” overwhelms you with over eight minutes of intensity. 

Like always, Coheed and Cambria leave room for the story to continue…and we are sure it will. Very musically satisfying, matched with the lyrics, you are submerged into black hole that keeps your attention until the bitter end. Sparking curiosity and yearning for more, Cryptic Rock gives Vaxis II: A Window of the Waking Mind 5 out of 5 stars.

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Nina Mende
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