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Starset: Transmissions

Transmissions from Starset feels like a big budget release; a classy tactile digipack housing a wonderfully illustrated booklet containing all the lyrics to the songs and their concept, and yet this is a debut offering from a young band. Admittedly Dustin Bates of Downplay is the singer, Joe Rickard ex of Red handles drums and Rob Graves (Red/Pillar) does an excellent, if thoroughly full on, job producing the whole caboodle. So they aren't exactly newbies.

So a concept album eh? From guys known for modern rock/metal? Surely not? And yes, scientists are having their work taken by government agencies and being silenced in the process... Credit where it's due, this is a story that's a little less hackneyed than most concept pieces and interesting spoken sections also pep things up considerably. Then tying this story to a mix of synthed strings, and gyrating riffs aplenty means Transmissions hits hard and fast, yet still holds up reasonably well when you come back to it a few weeks later.

The album's focal point seems to have come through "My Demon", a song that's picked up a fair amount of airplay and achieved a level of chart success. Layers of voices careen into strings, hammering drums and walls of guitars, sparse sections of vocals and guitars played against utter bombast of synth-tastic proportions. It's a great encapsulation of what Transmissions is all about and in ways it's true to suggest that if you like this and "Let It Die", then you'll pretty much be into the whole thing.

However what doesn't quite fall in the favour of Starset is that running at twelve tracks and sixty minutes (plus an acoustic version of "My Demons"), this is an album which does begin to struggle to hold the attention as it works its way towards conclusion. Factor in that there's also a reasonably strict formula from song to song and even with a fantastic sound and genuinely clever lyrics, trimming the fat off the main feast would have gone a long way to improving the overall flavour.

Transmissions is an impressive and well executed debut from a band with an eye on greater things, that it doesn't always quite come off can be forgiven this early in their time together. However if they can build on the promise shown here Starset could definitely grow into a force to be reckoned with.

Track Listing
1. First Light
2. Down With The Fallen
3. Halo
4. Carnivore
5. Telescope
6. It Has Begun
7. My Demons
8. Antigravity
9. Dark On Me
10. Let It Die
11. The Future Is Now
12. Point Of No Return
13. Rise And Fall

Added: December 13th 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Starset online
Hits: 2015
Language: english

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