TRANSCEND
Progressive Metal • Canada

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TRANSCEND is a progressive-metal band from Montreal. Formed out of the suburbs of Montreal with a raging passion to abolish formulaic and simplified popular music of all genres, TRANSCEND persevered for over five years before finally completing their first album, The Mind, in 2011. These musical goals could not have been achieved without an extremely proficient line-up of musicians: Constantine DAMOULIANOS on Guitar and Vocals, Alexi LAGOGIANIS on Keyboards, Devon BUTTERS on Bass and Jake SHAMASH on Drums.

Although they do indeed fall into the category of Metal, one will quickly learn that TRANSCEND brings a whole new musical world to the table in the epic masterpiece The Mind, ranging from the heaviest riffs and odd-time extended instrumental sections to soft male-female vocal duets and Greek BOUZOUKI parts. Although TRANSCEND echoes with originality, their influences remain clear and often intentionally obvious to any fans of Progressive Metal. Their music screams; DREAM
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Room 101 [Vinyl]Room 101 [Vinyl]
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.. Album Cover 3.87 | 5 ratings
The Mind
Progressive Metal 2012

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TRANSCEND The Mind

Album · 2012 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Conor Fynes
'The Mind' - Transcend (6/10)

Montreal-based progressive metal quartet Transcend are a recent addition to a hideously lengthy list of prog bands looking to build upon the innovations of their influences. Unless you're a newcomer to the prog metal realm, chances are you'll agree that the term has become something of a misnomer, with many of the associated artists looking to the past for their sound, rather than truly innovating something new. Alas, this goes well to define the musical approach on Transcend's debut, a full-blown, double disc concept album that wears each of the band's influences on a silken sleeve. With this perceived lack of originality in mind however, Transcend's take on this well-weathered style remains impressive for other reasons and should be enough to get existing fans of the style excited about them.

As in the case with a vast quantity of contemporary prog metal, Transcend are rooted in the sound of Dream Theater, and- to a lesser extent- Rush. As is the case with much of Melodic Revolution Records' generally neo-prog oriented roster, Transcend's angle on this style is light, polished and focused heavily on the vocals, provided here by the talented Costa Damoulianos. Instrumentally, "The Mind" is an album driven by every prog-power convention imaginable. Guitar and synthesizer harmonies are to be expected in droves, and though there are tech riffs aplenty, listeners shouldn't be surprised when they hear just as much of the album's hour and a half devoted to anthemic choruses and softer passages. The spirit and style of Dream Theater is alive particularly when Transcend emphasize their metal aspect. Transcend's music is almost always based around a lead of some sort. Whether it's Damoulianos' vocals, a synthesizer solo or virtuosic guitar lick, Transcend likes to have a spotlight shining down on someone on virtually any given time. Sounding familiar at all, prog metal fans?

Although I am sceptical of Transcend's painfully derivative choice of style and love of cliché, there's no denying that they execute it well. "Entity Divine" features some pretty mind-boggling instrumental interplay, and the disc-length epic and title track enjoys some fairly cinematic passages. Without a doubt, the most impressive part of the package is the musicianship itself. Although it may be a cliché saying this in itself, Transcend are able to wow and impress from their playing chops alone. The production fits their melodic style as well, although it would have been nice to hear the guitars roar a little more.

I think that years from now, when all of humanity transcends and I am a disembodied brain floating in space somewhere, I will remember Transcend's debut with some warmth. After all, in spite of being part of a genre saturated by likesounding copycats, Transcend have some serious playing ability, and "The Mind" is an apt reflection of their talent and chemistry as a performing act. Sadly, they also have a tendency to embrace just about every cliché and tired convention the progressive metal genre has spawned within the past twenty years. Ambiguously philosophical lyrics, needlessly extended compositions and cheese enough to make a gourmand sick will potentially squander the experience for some, but for other prog metal lovers such as myself, the album makes for a welcome return to the style's roots.

TRANSCEND The Mind

Album · 2012 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
dtguitarfan
Transcend are a Progressive Metal band formed in the suburbs of Montreal, who describe themselves on their website as having "a raging passion to abolish formulaic and simplified popular music of all genres". The Mind is their debut album, released after 5 years of the band's existence, and shows a wealth of potential. It is a concept album, built around the concept of following the growth of the mind of a child, starting with simple and immature reality, moving through the lessons of life, and finally ending as a free and open mind. Musically, there are some obvious influences coming from Dream Theater, Symphony X, Pain of Salvation, and Devin Townsend, but Transcend manages to put their own spin on Progressive Metal with some spacey sections (a la Pink Floyd, perhaps), the occasional addition of the Greek Bouzouki, male and female vocal duets, and of course some heavy riffs on top of odd time signatures. As one would expect from the goal described by the band above, the compositions do not follow a predictable patter with verse, chorus and the occasional bridge, but rather take the listener on a musical journey of exploration. The album ends in a massive 44 minute long multi-part epic which will surely give many listeners great amounts of satisfaction. This is a fantastic debut, and exceeds many expectations, leaving me wondering where this band will go next!

Originally written for www.seaoftranquility.org

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