Key Entity Extraction V:
Sentry the Defiant
The Afterman Descension Symbol
Appears On The Afterman: Descension
Track 2
Length 5:17
Written By Claudio Sanchez
Produced By Coheed And Cambria
Michael Birnbaum
Chris Bittner
Preceded By Pretelethal
Followed By The Hard Sell

Key Entity Extraction V: Sentry the Defiant is the second song on the 2013 album The Afterman: Descension. A video featuring Claudio Sanchez performing the song solo with an acoustic guitar was uploaded to Coheed and Cambria's official Youtube channel on February 13, 2012.


Believer, your spotlight on the subject so incorrect
And suggestion, suggests that I am someone who you should not respect
Oh you wear your façade so well
Covered up in a plastic shell
You're a liar to everyone around you just don't forget

Face the honest truth
You were never you
Now be defiant, the lion
Give them a fight that will open their eyes
Hangman hooded, softly swinging
Don't close the coffin yet, I'm alive!
And it's homecoming
And it's homecoming

Can you remember, when there was no wrong in what I can do?
So young, biting off way more than I could chew
And then one day I grew too old
And my cares were now theirs to mold
Please accept this, as my resignation it's time to go

Face the honest truth
You were never you
Now be defiant, the lion
Give them a fight that will open their eyes
Hangman hooded, softly swinging
Don't close the coffin yet, I'm alive!
I'm alive

I will now bleed for what I believe in
No more mistakes for them to make for me
So goodbye, it's my time to be...

To be me

Face the honest truth
You were never you
I'll be defiant, the lion
Give them a fight that will open their eyes
Hangman hooded, softly swinging
Don't close the coffin yet, I'm alive!
I'm alive!
I'm alive!
I'm alive!

Inspiration Edit

"One evening, I got into an argument with our manager about something. I can't remember the details, whether he wanted me to try and write a hit or to be more clear in my lyrics or to just step out of my comfort zone during the writing process. I, on the other hand, felt I was already trying to do whatever it was with the material on this record. There was a baritone electric lying around the studio. I started to strum out the chord progression. The incident made me question the integrity of people who jump on the bandwagon with certain kinds of music because they are too consumed with what a scene dictates—or the financial aspect—to break out of the mold and do something they truly believe in. It's a reflection of what we, as a band create and how frustrating it was to have a person who believes in this thing we do as much as anyone, start to question whether what I was writing at the moment was good enough. It was a fleeting example of him playing devil's advocate, but it stuck with me."


The distress call is heard, as Sentry the Defiant charges into the hopeless landscape like a soldier on the front line; quickly driving a wedge between the entities and the ailing Sirius. With the mass of unresolved souls now advancing on Sentry and Evagria, there isn't a moment to spare. Sentry takes over Sirius' body and instantly provides him sustenance. The Afterman becomes strong, his physiological levels returning to near-normal, as the unraveling maze of Sentry's life starts to unfold.

A Sergeant Major in Vic's army, Sentry was slowly climbing his way up to the higher ranks in a completely opposite way than Vic - with hard work and an incredible moral compass. Sirius views a scene he's watched before, where Vic has ordered Sentry to bomb the off-world structure, knowing that innocent people would be slaughtered. In this replay, the order is defied again, with Sentry returning to camp that night and confiding in another sergeant about what had happened, knowing in his heart his disobedience would not be taken lightly by a man like Vic. He intended to notify the Field Marshal the following day, but would not make it through the night alive. When he is found hanged the next morning, his fellow sergeant was too afraid to pass the news on about Vic's illegal orders. The man kept his mouth shut - until years later, when loads of evidence regarding Vic's war crimes began to surface and the sergeant finally came forward about what Sentry had told him that fateful night. Eventually, one of the guards involved in the murder turned himself in, too overcome with guilt to live with his demons any longer.

In addition to being charged for the heinous crimes, Vic was charged with Sentry's murder. In death, Sentry was award a postmortem Medal of Honor, his memory no longer cloaked in the shame of suicide. Rather than a coward, Sentry became a beloved figure, lauded for standing his moral ground and paying with his life.

Still - Sirius realizes as he watches the events pour out - Sentry's tale isn't quite as uplifting as it seems, considering Vic took his own life in the brownstone fire before he'd ever stand trial. Justice could never be served in life, leaving Sentry and Vic with unresolved issues in the afterlife.

There is a physical fight between Sentry and Vic as they go head to head, Vic trying to punish Sentry. Sirius is caught in the middle of this, fighting AS Sentry because he is still in his possession, when it occurs to him that he may be able to give Sentry the insight he needs to move into the second level. Having experienced Evagria's feeling of complete contentment, Sirius believes he understands the difference between her and the entities who remain in the middle plane is that the souls here seem unable to look past unresolved issues from their lifetimes. They carry the emotions from the world into the afterlife and it hinders them from moving on.

Within their shared mind, as Vic continues to throw blows, Sirius backtracks within Sentry's maze, searching frantically for the memory of Sentry's hanging. Consumed by this entity, he feels the need to convince him to stop fighting back and to let go of this worldly grudge. The walls of the maze turn inside out, appearing to almost regurgitate the memories back. Sirius finally spots the familiar scene - the damp, dark barracks where Sentry's life came to an end.

Sirius sees Sentry's body dangling from the ceiling... the cloth wrapped tightly around his neck... his limbs shaking... the group of soldiers looking on, unaffected. Standing below him, Sirius urges Sentry to wipe this moment, to wipe all his human moments from his mind. Still in Sentry's possession, Sirius warns him that to continue holding onto this, will doom him to relive these memories forever.

It doesn't matter now, Sentry. Just let it go. Move beyond. This moment does not define you.

The entire scene stops; flash frozen in time. Then, as if a tiny pebble had been dropped within the molten image, a small ripple begins to flow out from Sentry's abdomen... followed by another and another still. Without warning, the noose around Sentry's neck bursts apart, light poking through his entire body like a million pin pricks. A heat fills the space, spreading out into every crevice of the maze. Sentry remains suspended where he once hung, now floating, cloaked in the same ethereal glow of Evagria. Sirius watches, his eyes wide and his own cognition returning as the entity slowly begins to peel apart from his awareness. It's as if someone suddenly switched on every light in existence, flooding the world with radiance.

Sentry has crossed over.

Sirius is captivated, held in disbelief that he's witnessed this extraordinary thing. With droves and droves of entities, including Domino and Holly Wood approaching to occupy his body, his enchantment quickly comes to an end. With no other choice, he faces the swarm of souls moving toward him. He's afraid, but not nearly ready to give up.

Just in time, Evagria consumes Sirius, bringing him along with her to the dimension of enlightenment. This is more than a glimpse. He can see it in its entirety now, in all its glory. Yet, as quickly as he arrived, he must leave. Evagria waves her hand - as if using her fingers to cut an opening in the space around her - and pulls up a portion of the materialized energy like a fishing net, showing Sirius the way out.

Free of all the stifling vapors of the Keywork, the All Mother attempts to reconnect with remnants of the Meriwell to magnify their transmission signal to Heaven's Fence. The attempt fails. Relying on the only other option, she provides Sirius with the odds of survival for a descent back; the suit his only protection. She explains that his time spent in the Keywork is unlike the time measured on the Fence. What feels to Sirius like a week, has in actuality been 547 days. Her tone suggests that in his absence things have undoubtedly changed, asking him "Do you still want to go home?"

That, is all he wants to do.

The All Mother plots the course of their return. If Sirius is able to navigate the descent before they break the atmosphere of Heaven's Fence, it's possible for him to land on a satellite station outside the planet Morlunus. If he misses the station, he will essentially free fall the remaining distance back to Heaven's Fence, the gravitation pull of the Keywork playing a dangerous factor. His odds of survival would decrease significantly.

The All Mother gives the prompt. Despite her being created for the singular purpose of serving him, Sirius thanks her for her service and for keeping him company on this lonely journey.

He glances at the fiery light of the Keywork one last time. It remains as incredible as the first time he peered up toward it as a child, that gleaming cobalt structure lighting the sky and igniting so many questions within him. Only now, Sirius looks at it as a country conquered, as a new language finally mastered that he alone can understand. He's ready to return now to Meri, to the familiarity of his laboratory, to the normalcy he didn't know he'd miss so badly.

Initiate the free fall.

Against the odds, Sirius is able to make contact with the Morlunus space station, after air traffic control notices an unidentified object barreling toward the station and offer their assistance bringing him safely down. They're shocked that he's alive (not to mention, proud to be involved in the biggest news story of the year) and help to transport Sirius back to his home planet, where the whole world is waiting with bated breath to hear the story of the man who defied all odds for a glimpse at the unknown.