The album from Ed Hale and the Transcendence, All Your Heroes Become Villains is certainly titled appropriately for the times we live in. And from the moment “the needle hits the record” it sounds like a forgotten classic, something beautiful lost and now remembered. Ed Hale and the band worked for over a year trying to bring the mammoth project under their control, bringing in other musicians when needed as varied as a gospel singer, a second drummer, a Los Angeles DJ, and various horn players. In the process, Transcendence became more of “a musical collective” rather than a traditional five-man indie-rock band.
The result is a mash of sounds but an album still recognizable as having “that Transcendence sound.” Haunting melodies, bold sonic experimentation and Hale’s richly layered and impassioned vocals all come together to create a highly memorable and moving listening experience. It’s also easily the band’s most mature and cohesive album to date. It is a stylistically and lyrically unified and thematic work of musical art that critics are calling their most ambitious to date. Like a shadow of the chaotic world we live in today, All Your Heroes Become Villains is dark, moody, heavy and yet, every now and then, it glimmers with hope.
The band’s new label Dying Van Gogh Records announced that Hale and the Transcendence would release their full length new album to the public in 2011. Sounding more like a rock musical or a concept album, the songs both musically and lyrically tie into one another seamlessly in one cohesively bold brash and powerful listen more akin to Pink Floyd or David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs. All Your Heroes Become Villains greets fans with a new path charted into new territories, only this time more dark, more heavy and more mysterious.
Ed Hale and the Transcendence first caught national attention in 2002 with their debut album, Rise and Shine by combining world music themes with an eclectic modern rock approach. Hale's consciousness raising lyrics and the fact that he sang them in five different languages added to the group's unique appeal. The album was a potpourri of musical styles that fans and critics found difficult to pigeon hole. Their second album, Sleep With You offered the world exposure to the band’s music through songs being featured in films and TV like MTV, VH1, and the three major television networks. Their third album, Nothing Is Cohesive jumped onto the CMJ Top 100 and the Alt-Rock Specialty Show Charts reaching number 24. They performed at numerous music festivals, such as the CMJ Music Marathon, SXSW and the Florida Music Festival.
Transcendence had changed internally; founding bassist Stro Stroman was replaced by 18-year-old Roger Houdaille and founding drummer Ricardo Mazzi was replaced by 21-year-old Bill Sommer. Each member released a solo album. Hale recorded the aforementioned Ballad On Third Avenue featuring the single, “New Orleans Dreams” which hit the top 40 on the AC charts. Perdomo formed the prog-pop group Dreaming In Stereo and Houdaille released an album by a side group he formed called Ex Norwegian. All three albums made the Top Ten Best Albums of the Year list by New Times magazine.
During the nine years since their debut, they have released four albums and toured the United States, Europe and South America, gaining a reputation as “musical shape-shifters” for their inventiveness and willingness to assume whatever form and go in whatever direction their music demands of them.