Ah, the joys of wearing a t-shirt branded with your own website’s logo! At Wildfire last weekend, I was working the superb Horrorfly Stage when a young chap walked up and handed me a CD. “Transcension” it said on the front and the name rang a vague bell. Sadly they weren’t one of the bands I caught over the weekend – Saturday and Sunday were particularly hectic with interviews and so on.
However, I double-checked and they’re opening for Servant Sun at King Tut’s on July 21st – the night that our very own Pit Troll will be performing DJ duties as part of the King Tut’s Summer Night Festival. The Festival runs from the 13th to the 29th of this month and features a bunch of bands and guest DJs (almost) every single night. Season tickets are available now for £30 or you can pay on the door for individual nights with prices varying from £5 upwards.
Anyway, the CD that was thrust at me – I assume it was one of the band for which I thank them! It took me a while to get around to popping it into the drive, but I did so the other night and listened to it while I was doing other work. Released in 2014, it’s a solid effort from this bunch from Greenock. They’re best described as “metal” as they pull from a few sub-genres to make their sound. There’s a hardcore/post-hardcore edge to the harsh vocals, with a classic metal sound but melodic twin vocals common throughout. This results in a bunch of songs that are heavy as hell when they want to be, but displaying some great use of harmonies in the lighter areas.
There are nine tracks on here, the first is the title track which is a short instrumental. Then we get into the meat and gristle. “We Surrender Not” blasts in with drums kicking and a guttural roar which really lets you know what to expect from the band’s heavier side. You could almost treat the first minute or so as an introduction to their sounds as a whole. After the rhythm is set, we get a brief clean guitar flurry and the opening lyrics are mainly clean with some harsh backings. By the time you’re past the two minute mark, Transcension have pretty much described themselves to you. “We Surrender Not” is an overture, essentially.
The pattern is lays down holds for most of the other songs on the album, and it’s a good one. A mixture of crunching rhythms, but melodic and catchy choruses. Lead guitars are superb as well with some brilliant shredded solos on this track and “Interrogation Symphony” in particular.
Other highlights include the breakdown right in the middle of “Now It’s On” which just encourages a build-up of testosterone before giving the opportunity to unleash it; and “Skyride”‘s polar opposite ethereal closing quarter, complete with death metal-esque screams over the top.
On first listen I found the production lacked a little punch and I do think something a bit deeper would have done the band justice for the heavier sections and the purely harmonic sections where the vocals come across a little thin. For the twin leads, solos and mixed sections (harsh and clean overlaid) it’s spot on.
However, that’s my only criticism of a very solid release from a group of musicians who obviously know what they’re doing. I’m really looking forward to seeing them in a couple of weeks. If you want tickets for the gig (and are prepared to pass up the bargain season tickets!) the band have some for sale. I’m sure you can chase them down somewhere!
Header image by AbandonedHipster.com.