In case you weren’t already aware, ‘Transmaniacon’ is a track from Blue Oyster Cult. Frankly, a band taking inspiration from these guys is a breath of fresh air in a generation where everyone cites Black Sabbath as their reason for being. Blue Oyster Cult are a band that are criminally overlooked, unless we include the overplay of ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’, but the rest of their back catalogue is equally noteworthy, as they are one of few bands from their era that let the songs do the talking and not just their image.
Transmaniacon are very much in a similar vein to Blue Oyster Cult, yet with up updated 21st century twist, helping them to create a freaskishly good concept album. The song writing at work on this record is superb, and heavy on the prog, with shimmering keyboards and guitar solos that go on for days. Simon Holliday’s vocals add something special to the overall mix too; opting for a half spoken/half sung approach adds a 70’s punk vibe to ‘The Darkening Plain’ that’s reminiscent to that of The Sex Pistols and Black Flag, yet slightly more melodic. While talking about this record, it would silly to overlook the absolutely stunning album artwork. Produced by the insanely talented Ian Miller (Google him, seriously), the cover depicts a type of giant bearded robot warrior, which is very much in keeping with the post apocalyptic theme of the album.
This is certainly one of the most original releases of this year, with both vocals and instrumentals completely holding their own. The only thing tripping this release up, however, is the insane length. The first track sits at a staggering 24 minutes, while the remaining three are seven apiece. It begins to feel like Transmaniacon are outstaying their welcome, and ‘The Darkening Plain’ would probably have worked much better as an EP if they’d trimmed some of the fat.
(7.5 Angela Davey)