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Ed Hale and The Transcendence

All Your Heroes Become Villains

(Dying Van Gogh; US: 15 Nov 2011; UK: 22 Nov 2011)

The Dark Knight-referencing title of Ed Hale and The Transcendence’s latest release, All Your Heroes Become Villains, is indicative of one half of this mixed bag of a record. For the most part, the record is quite good; the riffs and hooks are great, and many of the songs are quite memorable. “Here it Comes” and “Solaris”, two of the album’s mid-tempo rockers, work quite well and possess the feel of a band with a solid creative direction. However, the very serious and at times heavy-handed lyrical material serves as a negative counterweight to the music, which for the most part isn’t that serious. The album levels some serious accusations at religion; on “Waiting for Godot,” Hale declares to God, “If you exist you’re either a joke or you’re some cruel monster.” In “We are Columbine (The Unforgiven)”, Hale grimly opines, “We are Columbine and we are Palestine / And Israel is going to rule the world”. Nothing is at all wrong with Hale expressing his opinions—these are commonly heard refrains that Hale and many others would rightly like to see addressed. However, the subject matter is not light by any means and, as a result, the intense lyrics often overpower the music. Still, if one can push past the overt strength of the band’s words, one will find an enjoyable rock record well worth the time.

Rating:

Brice Ezell is the Assistant Editor of PopMatters, where he also reviews music, film, and books, which he has done since 2011. He also is the creator of PopMatters' Notes on Celluloid column, which covers the world of film music. His writing also appears in Sea of Tranquility and Glide Magazine (formerly Hidden Track). His short story, "Belle de Jour", was published in 67 Press' inaugural publication The Salmagundi: An Anthology. You can follow his attempts at wit on Twitter and Tumblr if you're so inclined. He lives in Chicago.


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