COHEED AND CAMBRIA – Vaxis II: A Window Of The Waking Mind

COHEED AND CAMBRIA - Vaxis II: A Window Of The Waking Mind
  • 7.8/10
    COHEED AND CAMBRIA - Vaxis II: A Window Of The Waking Mind - 7.8/10


Label: Roadrunner Records
Release date: June 24, 2022

User Review
8/10 (1 vote)

For the Children of the Fence

There are few bands whose music is so complex and cryptic that becoming a fan is akin to becoming private to a secret. It’s something you proudly carry within yourself and that you sometimes share with strangers during fleeting and precious moments. The fans of Coheed And Cambria, nicknamed The Children Of The Fence have created such a community. Because while you can enjoy just their music, it is never that simple with this band. There’s the story behind it which adds much depth. Through comics (some yet to be released) and novels. Claudio Sanchez, the mastermind of the band, has spun stories in a science fiction universe both captivating and opaque.

To describe the music of Coheed and Cambria is as easy as searching for a needle in a haystack made of cosmic unidentified dust. Vaxis II: A Window Of A Waking Mind is the tenth studio album of the band and is the second opus of the Unheavenly Creatures cycle, which is set in the same universe as the first saga (1st to 4th albums, 5th is a prequel, 6th, and 7th are spinoffs, sort of…) called The Amory Wars.

Except for their 8th album The Color Before The Sun (2015), Coheed And Cambria have evolved into a sort of Progressive, Alternative Metal with even Pop influences, all the while still being encompassed by the vast Metal genre. While they have many times tiptoed the line, they had until now never really crossed it. It is hard to qualify this album as really being “Metal”. Thus transforming this review into a schizophrenic conversation between your inner Child Of The Fence and Metalhead, as it seems impossible to approach this album the same way whether you’re an unconditional fan or an amateur.

A Simple Story

The album opens up with a brilliant introduction “Embers Of Fire” with the familiar theme of “Old Flames” featured on the previous album. This theme will probably accompany you throughout this new saga. More orchestral and operatic than ever, these familiar few notes will plunge the Child Of The Fence directly back into the story. The Metalhead will have to wait for “Beautiful Losers” to find recognizable elements of Coheed And Cambria: the androgynous voice of Claudio Sanchez, the hefty but agile rhythmic, and the undoubtful catchiness of the choruses.
Up until “Shoulders” there is not too much to discontent the Metalhead. But here comes “A Disappearing Act”, renewing the internal conflict. Guitars are leaving the front row and are replaced by keyboards. Vocals as well are altered with electronic effects, frustrating the Metalhead. However, after a moment’s surprise, “A Disappearing Act” will become a favorite of many Children Of The Fence.

“Blood” is very much reminiscent of The Color Before the Sun album. While” The Liars Club” is one of the very best moments of the album both very catchy and Rock N’ Roll. If the Metalhead has put up with this strange album so far, “Bad Man” could very well be the last straw that breaks the camel’s back. The electronic vocals are simply too much.
However, it would be a grave mistake to give up now, for the end of the album proves that Coheed And Cambria have only been toying with you so far, and never really abandoned their heavy side. And you know it, the epicness of it all, you can feel it coming! A sort of galactical mechanic wind blows through the universe before bringing you the first notes of “Ladders Of Supremacy.” The distortion rises with some high notes here and there, followed by the drums, some galloping melodies, and crazy rhythmic. So that when the vocals start, cryptic and strange as usual, you can feel nothing else but awe.

The magic continues to operate with “Rise, Naianasha (Cut The Cord)” and “A Window Of The Waking Mind.” After these last three truly amazing songs, all the little disappointments of the rest of the album could be forgotten. And that is where the genius of Coheed And Cambria lies. They manage to weave all their experimental aspects of the beginning of the album into this theatrical and emotional finale. For once the conflict between the Metalhead and the Child Of The Fence is settled.

Final words failing

This album demands from the listener quite an effort at first. There are songs you will love to hate and songs you will hate to love. And as often with Coheed And Cambria, time will be your best ally, and it will take you months, if not years to truly appreciate the music. And perhaps, you will even get into the story. But this review is already too long to dwell on this, but if you wish, any Child Of The Fence will be delighted to tell you about the lore.

Best Tracks for Metalheads

“Ladders Of Supremacy”, “Rise, Naianasha (Cut The Cord)”, “A Window Of The Waking Mind”


Claudio Sanchez – Vocals and guitars
Travis Stever – Lead Guitar
Zach Cooper – Bass
Josh Eppard – Drums

Vaxis II: A Window Of The Waking Mind – Tracklist

01- The Embers of Fires
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


  • Séverine Peraldino

    Reviewer, interviewer and apprentice photographer for Metal Express Radio, Séverine comes from a small place in the Southern French Alps, near Grenoble. Her taste for classic Heavy Metal is a family heritage and after growing up listening to Iron Maiden, Dio, Metallica and Angra she expanded her horizons with almost every subgenre of Metal, from Power, to Prog, a little bit of Death and Black Metal. She mostly enjoys albums telling stories with originality. When she is not travelling around for concerts and festivals, you can find her reading a good book, or playing board games with friends.

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