Transcendence – Hour of the Summoning [Cassette] (2018) REVIEW

The Los Angeles underground extreme metal scene is thriving despite the few and far between spotlights set upon it and one of the more exciting old school death metal acts began as an unassuming thrash project named Minister in 2008. They were clearly just kids at the time but their thrashing ways gave way to old school death worship and splintered into a collective as Minister gave birth to Transcendence around 2013 and the original members went on to focus on Insineratehymn in 2016. Because they’re born from the same inception there are a lot of similarities in their crusted heavy thrash influenced death metal sound but upon closer listening they differentiate a fair amount. ‘Hour of the Summoning’ sees Transcendence moving closer to Finnish death metal sounds rather than classic LA death/thrash.

When I listen to Transcendence‘s 2014 EP I always feel like ‘Morbid Reality’ was the sort of stuff that’d have been on RoughAge/Dwell Records ‘The Heralds of Oblivion Part 2’ compilation if they’d made one. If you listen to Part 1 you get a sense of the influence of Autopsy, Insanity, Sadistic Intent and thrash metal in general on that era of death metal. Of the bands on that comp I’d point to Brainstorm and Decomposed first. But clearly I’m going way off the rails here, Transcendence‘s influences were more in line with stuff like Sodom in terms of thrash before their major line-up changes. This new sound on ‘Hour of the Summoning’ reminds me most of death metal demos from Scandinavian metal in the early 90’s. Gorefest‘s ‘Horrors in a Retarded Mind’ especially for it’s Carcass-esque riffing as well as Funebre‘s ‘Cranial Torment’ and Crucifier‘s ‘Unparalleled Majesty’ from a bit later.

Comparing this tape to a crusty-as-shit demo isn’t entirely fair, though. While Transcendence are notably ‘old school’ in their entire approach and the drum sound is a little rough, ‘Hour of Summoning’ has clear sound and notable melodic intentions. The first records I thought of were Sentenced‘s ‘Shadows of that Past’ and Centinex‘ ‘Malleus Maleficarum’ as the recording recalls the best of the early 90’s death metal underground where thrash and doom were still a large part of the guitar language. My favorite moments on the EP are easily the title track and “Mutilating Accursed Souls” because they reminded me of Finnish death metal so much. I’d initially overlooked the melodies of “The Nocturnal Dwelling” a bit, and it appealed to me a bit extra in reminding me of early No Fashion Records releases a la Decameron. The sound here is interesting enough for OSDM nerds to freak out to and it has a raw Swedish/Finnish death metal circa 1991 mystique to it that really holds up despite the dry snare hits and loud snarl of the vocals. Doubly recommended if you’re a freak for old Scandinavian death metal demos.

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Artist Transcendence
Type EP
Released April 20, 2018 [Cassette] | March 25, 2018 [CD]
BUY/LISTEN on Blood Harvest Records’ Bandcamp! Follow Transcendence on Facebook
Genres
Death Metal,
Death/Thrash Metal

Numbness will then follow. 3.75/5.0

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