Transmaniacon: The Darkening Plain

Spaced-out debut from these sci-fi lovers.

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The accompanying press blurb states that this London-based band derived their name and the inspiration for their concept album by marrying up the influences of Blue Öyster Cult track Transmaniacon MC and John Shirley’s 1979 sci-fi novel of the same name (minus the MC).

They’ve grabbed this spacey theme by the scruff of the neck alright, and run wild with it over four tracks, 45 minutes’ worth. The jewel in the crown is cinematic opener Quintessence Of Dust, which clocks in at nearly half an hour and sums up this whole boisterous affair with effortless style. It’s got the cosmic Hawkwind-esque nods, all the knee-deep sludge groove you could ever want and welcome smatterings of prog-certified organ work. This doomy album at times stoops to the sluggish tempo of Black Sabbath on Valium, but there are enough uppers here – the marauding, runaway Judas Priest riffs of Eye For An Eye and the punked-up perks in City Of Chaos – to see past any beats per minute blues. It’s all topped off by superb post-apocalyptic artwork from renowned sci-fi illustrator Ian Miller, whose creative flair catapults this retrotastic debut album into the 21st century and beyond.

Chris Cope

A writer for Prog magazine since 2014, armed with a particular taste for the darker side of rock. The dayjob is local news, so writing about the music on the side keeps things exciting - especially when Chris is based in the wild norths of Scotland. Previous bylines include national newspapers and magazines.