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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.

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Brice Ezell has written for PopMatters since 2011. He loves to write about music of any kind, literature, film, television, and philosophy. Progressive rock and metal are his primary interests, though there's little in the music world he doesn't like to engage with. His writing also appears in Sea of Tranquility and Glide Magazine (and formerly Hidden Track). You can follow his attempts at wit on Twitter and Tumblr if you're so inclined. You can also contact him through email. He is a resident of the greater Portland, OR, area.


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