Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Transcend - The Mind CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.46 | 29 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

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.

Windhawk | 3/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this TRANSCEND review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.