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TRANSCEND

Progressive Metal • Canada


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Transcend biography
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 THEATER, SYMPHONY X, PAIN OF SALVATION, DEVIN TOWNSEND and OPETH, but also takes us to dreamier worlds like those of PINK FLOYD, KING CRIMSON and at times even Elton JOHN and THE TEA PARTY.

Bio provided by the band, edited by Andy Webb and aapatsos

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TRANSCEND discography


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TRANSCEND top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.46 | 29 ratings
The Mind
2012

TRANSCEND Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TRANSCEND Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

TRANSCEND Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TRANSCEND Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Balance i
2020

TRANSCEND Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Balance i by TRANSCEND album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2020
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Balance i
Transcend Progressive Metal

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars The band Transcend comes out of Montreal, Quebec and has been around for quite a while now even though they currently only have 2 albums to their name, 2012's "The Mind" and their latest album released in April of 2020 called "Balance I". The band consists of the quartet of Costa Damoulianos on vocals and guitar, Devon Butters on guitar and bass, Alexi Lagogianis on keyboards and Sean Lang on drums.

The fact that they have worked together in the music business for all of this time is quite apparent in their music, especially in this surprisingly dynamic and expressive album. The experience apparent in the band is also backed up with the fact that Costa also has another project called "Zoungla" which delves more into psychedelic and ambient music with a larger use of electronics. Trascend, however, is definitely excellent progressive metal, however, the emphasis is more on the "progressive" as the balance between the chunky and expressive guitars is evenly disbursed with amazing keyboard work. The thing that tips it into the "metal" side of things are the heavy and satisfying riffs and melodic guitar licks. Some might not see it as 100% metal however, because of the extensive use of keys, but, by the time you come to the end of the album, you know you have heard amazing and heavy progressive metal. There is also a few electronic surprises in there that will increase the depth of this album.

The biggest drawback is its 36 minute length which is devoted to a mere 4 tracks. However, two of those tracks are epic progressive songs in every sense of the word. It all begins with the 11 minute track "Dissilusion" which will quickly determine if this music will appeal to the listener. Yes it is solid music, but the crazy, melodic guitar also allows the keyboards to contribute to the overall sound in equal measure, and in this band's music, all of this is very important to the sound they want to create. Get ready for some nice surprises as the track moves its way along and ends before you know it with those 11 minutes quickly passed.

The two centerpiece tracks are a bit shorter, but still excellent and enjoyable. "Where You Are Now" has a great, complex and layered sound. "Machine" is more of a ballad, but Costas, who is an excellent and dynamic singer, gives such an emotional and heartfelt performance here with some excellent lyrics and songwriting that doesn't fall into the trap of "typical lyrical-song structure".

The most exciting and surprising track is the last one, a 12 minute tour-de-force of wonderful musical construction called "A Parallel Reflection I" which will probably satisfy even the most progressive critic as it soars from pastoral beauty to tense, thumping heaviness while Costas really shows off his vocal talent as he brings in ethnical influences from the middle-East. When it all ends, you can't help but want more of it.

I can't help but think this could have been a 5 star album if it had just one more track on it to help make it feel more finished. But, the title of the album hints towards maybe a second volume, and if that is the case, this could all fit together quite well. If you find yourself questioning the progressive metal designation, you probably won't be alone. But, if you look at the overall picture, the heavy aspect of the band is the overall style. The fact that there are some very tasty keyboard solos and effects in there creates so much more depth than the typical "metal" or even typical "progressive metal" style, and this is what I feel a lot of that genre seems to be missing with all of the endless bands coming out trying to find a spot in the genre's universe, and in the end, they all end up sounding too much the same. The difference there is the wealth of talent that exists in the musicians involved and in the sweeping songwriting and music that exists on this album. I think many people that don't normally listen to Progressive Metal will be pleasantly surprised by this album and the amount of depth here. The one drawback that I can't get over, at least for the time being, is the short length of it all. It leaves you hanging, wanting to hear more, and it does seem a bit unfinished, at least from a full-album standpoint. However, it is considered an album, not an EP. Anyway, this is easily a 4-star affair, but it still comes very highly recommended especially for those that think Progressive Metal bands as of late are too one-dimensional.

 The Mind by TRANSCEND album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.46 | 29 ratings

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The Mind
Transcend Progressive Metal

Review by Progrussia

4 stars After hearing all my life about Dream Theater clones, and finding basically souped-up power metal, its nice to actually come across a band that sounds (or tries to sound, if they are on a tight budget, like these young Greek-Canadians) a lot like their idols, but still maintains an identity. Transcend follows the DT formula of very long songs filled with metallic riffs plus extended neo-classical soloing and the occasional cheesy pop, wrapped in a slighty esoteric package, but adds more ethnic and influences.

I've heard some complaints about the vocalist, but hey, you cant expect a guy to play the bazooki and sing like a Greek god at the same time. But seriously, he sings pleasantly, and they also dared to include a 45-minute suite (what's up with debutante band writing 45-minutes these days? See also: Seventh Dimension) that holds up pretty well (actually, the entire 82-minute album flows as a single sequence of music). It will not open your eyes, and I doubt anyone outside hardcore and not too snobbish prog metal demographic appreciating this, but guys should applauded for their effort.

 The Mind by TRANSCEND album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.46 | 29 ratings

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The Mind
Transcend Progressive Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars '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.

 The Mind by TRANSCEND album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.46 | 29 ratings

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The Mind
Transcend Progressive Metal

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Canadian foursome TRANSCEND was formed in the summer of 2006, and it took them five years to create, develop and record what was to become their debut album "The Mind", initially self released as a digital download in 2011, and in 2012 given a hardcopy release courtesy of US label Melodic Revolution Records.

In terms of style there's basically two bands worth mentioning as comparisons for this act. The first and least important is Rush. Traces possibly inspired by these fellow Canadians pop up on a few occasions throughout, mostly in the less intense passages, but all in all is a minor direct influence as far as I can tell. But a band you can't avoid mentioning when dealing with Transcend is Dream Theater, and in particular the sound that band explored around the time when they release Awake. As far as major influences go this one merits a description as certain rather than possible, although there is the odd chance that it's a case of indirect rather than direct inspiration.

This Canadian foursome is an ambitious crew it seems, as their first foray into the world of recording artists is a double album, and a conceptual creation to boot. In a day and age where just about anyone easily can release whatever they want of music it isn't that unheard of to have such a creation as the opening move in a future career, but it is still unusual enough to merit mentioning. This is a Canadian quartet that comes across as high in confidence and self belief, and with dedication to see it through as well. Which is a nice detail to observe in a young, up and coming band.

The music itself isn't quite as ambitious. The majority sticks to a slow to midpaced tempo, with occasional runs of a more spirited nature. There's plenty of variation however, with alterations in pace, intensity and mood throughout, but generally lacking the more demanding and intricate, quirky dimensions of aforementioned Dream Theater. But there's good flow and momentum throughout, and they know how to work a tune to take it from bombastic themes to gentler grounds with a natural grace and smoothness many might envy them. The use of guitars and keyboards as counterpoints and contrasting features is a skill they master, as is using both sets of instruments as harmonizing entities creating majestic, richly textured arrangements. A detail more peculiar to this band is that they frequently opt for guitar and piano combinations, a variation that most often result in themes that are joyfully and subtly different from what many other progressive metal bands create.

Mix and production does leave a bit to be desired however, and while bass and drums are employed quite nicely and to good effect these instruments doesn't manage to elevate the compositions either. But the studio efforts and the contributions from the rhythm department is passable, by all means, but to my set of ears these details of the complete whole is of the bread and butter variety as far as quality goes rather than something better.

The weak link in this band however, at least for this set of ears, is the vocals of Costa Damouliano. His voice and delivery works at times very well in the gentler parts of this album, but whenever he needs to add emotional impact or deliver the vocals more forcefully the end result becomes too strained. Perhaps a tad out of tune on occasion, but a more frequent listener experience is that he fights a losing battle to control his delivery whenever vocals with a higher degree of impact is needed. Especially when he has to use the higher parts of his register. I know I'm incredibly sensitive to vocals and that many won't ever notice this, but for me this is the main reason for this album to come across as a pleasant experience rather than something a bit more interesting.

Transcend have made themselves a fine debut with "The Mind", a double CD whose major strengths are varied compositions and cleverly constructed themes based around guitar and keyboard interactions as the dominant features. If you tend to enjoy progressive metal from the Dream Theater school this is a production you can safely add to your list of music worth checking out at some point in time, as long as you're not the kind of person who has a very sensitive ear aas far as lead vocals go.

 The Mind by TRANSCEND album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.46 | 29 ratings

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The Mind
Transcend Progressive Metal

Review by dtguitarfan

4 stars 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

Thanks to aapatsos for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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