Metal To Infinity

I still remember the time that I bought this band’s first album ‘Break Out’, around 1982. The front cover artwork showed an opened coffin with a Flying V, which impressed me a lot and the musical style of the band was rather original, especially the vocals were really new to me. Can’t say that Lothar Antoni is a world class singer, but he has a very own sound and a typical style in the higher regions, totally incomparable with other vocalists. ‘Break Out’ was the start of a pretty challenging time and the successors on this debut album delivered Heavy Metal anthems like ‘Heavy Metal Queen’, ‘Break The Chains’ and many more. Because of legal reasons, the band changed their name into Trancemission at the end of the eighties, for only short time, until the band was put on ice. When they reunited again, they continued under the moniker of Trancemission, and since the end of July 2012, the new album is available!

I was really delighted to receive this promo for review, as I played their records many, many times, while the track ‘Loser’ from the debut album is probably one of the most heart breaking ballads ever made! I lost Trance out of sight, and I didn’t hear anything from Trancemission until now, so I was really curious to find out what Trance(Mission) anno 2012 is all about. Their previous album (“Mine”), was released around 2005, so they had a lot of time to compose, rehearse and finish the songs to a high level, but at the same time, I wonder if the band stood the test of time... Did they succeed to adapt to modern times, are all positive memories from the past still present in the new songs, or is Trancemission a band with only a nostalgic heritance?

The first track on the new album is called ‘Naked Flames Pt. 1’, and is a really unusual track, especially as opener. My expectations were high, and this track is really at slow pace and is dragging forward with unusual rhythmic arrangements. I guess it’s meant as a kind of prologue, just to appease myself. ‘Thorn Birds’ is totally different, with some heavy guitars and of course the original and extraordinary vocals of mastermind Lothar Antoni! Yeah, he’s back and still able to give a little extra to a common song! This is why I loved Trance so much! They have the skills to team up as a quartet, bring some heavy tunes on 10, and add really wonderful lyrics all over! Lothar is also playing the guitar, together with Andreas Meyer, and ‘bolt headed bass player’ Joe J. Hagle is creating some real concrete with his 4-string axe! Alexander Franken is the man behind the drums and all four, they have the same passion and dedication to create good music.

While the next track ‘Not Me’ is playing, I have the impression that Trancemission is more focused on rock’n’roll instead of Heavy Metal. Is this the sign of the times, or just a natural progress in song writing? I really don’t know, and I don’t care about this rocking path that they choose! Another highlight on this new album is the track ‘Sex Me Up’, as it has a chorus line that lingers on for hours! This track is totally unusual, again, but has something magical in the arrangement. I just love it!! Some songs are pretty common, others are really outstanding. I would suggest to take a good listen to ‘Jenny And The Beast’, which has remarkable lyrics as well! Those that want a track with balled influences and a female guest appearance, need to check the track ‘You’. To conclude what ‘Naked Flames’ is all about: I have the idea that the members of Trancemission just want to do their own thing without restrictions and that’s great! Some songs refer to the early years, some are rather experimental.

A few tracks are really common material, that tends to become fillers (e.g. ‘House Of Love’). The most remarkable comment is held back to the end of this review: I would like to compare Transmission with Fisher Z, not musical wise, but mentally. They both did what they wanted to do. They both have a unique ‘love it or hate it’ throat. They both have a rough edge but a very emotional side as well, and I guess that both bands had a hell of a time while composing and recording their songs, before sharing them with the audience. Respect for Trancemission and especially for Lothar! Keep up the chosen path, whether it’s metal or just pure rock ’n’ roll!

My rating: 76 / 100 (Review by Patrick De Sloover)