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The Strange World of Suzie Pellet


Artist: Transmaniacon
Label: New Heavy Sounds
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 23 November 2018

Transmaniacon releases The Strange World of Suzie Pellet via New Heavy Sounds. It is a concept album based on a nightmare by artist Ian Miller, who has adorned many book covers, and supplied the artwork for their previous release, The Darkening Plain. The story here follows future street dweller Suzie Pellet, a survivor in a dark and unsettling ruined world; a sort of apocalyptic London-esque dystopia known as Duht. Lidia Lunch plays a hind-sighted Suzie, while Maya Berlin portrays a current (future-setting) Suzie. There are eight tracks making up around 47-minutes of music. The titles are: 'Inca Sunshine', 'Painted On Skin', 'The River The Birds', 'Sexton Breen', 'Dogs of War', 'Outrun The Pack', 'Tooled Up', and 'Aerosol Death Rattle'...

The term "Transmaniacon" is described as the dangerous, grotesque, amoral world beyond the farthest reaches of chaos. It was a science fiction book title by John Shirley and a song ('Transmaniacon MC') by the excellent band Blue Oyster Cult. There were plans to amalgamate these two themes into a film which, sadly, never came to fruition. Fortunately, some music was written and the musicians became the band Transmaniacon (originally XM3a) to progress the style and content fitting the mood of a dark apocalyptic background. They have been described as anything from Dark Doom to Post Punk, but closer fit the mantle of Space and 1970s Rock in a mix which sounds quite unique.

What can I say about the first track, 'Inca Sunshine', except that it knocked me sideways. I love it when a band does something radically different with the genres of Rock, Punk and Metal. Immediately, this one sets a scene of hard science fiction, the breakdown of civilisation, the need to be tough and streetwise, and that you can’t always win so long as you survive. There is a mid-paced but heavy theme which fades in. A spoken narrative speaks a few words from the Suzie character every so often, but it’s the music which throws you off-kilter. Counter-points come into the mix, and it is only after listening to this three times you start to get an inkling of the direction it’s going in. It’s dull sometimes when music is lazy and conforms to expected patterns.

I would have been totally satisfied if the whole album had been narrated with this Mechanical/Industrial Groove but, although it does return a couple of times, the other songs are reminiscent of 1970s Hard Rock or Progressive Rock, mixed with Post Punk, Doom Metal, and even Sludge. Everything from Emerson, Lake & Palmer or Deep Purple to Patti Smith or Pat Benatar. There are heavy riffs and a thick, wide sound which even incorporates the drums; but there are also guitar solos and a wonderfully overdriven Hammond Organ, which befits the Post Psychedelic Rock Super-groups of the early '70s. All the while there is an ever-present weirdness about the whole thing, which reels me in.

It’s very difficult to research Transmaniacon, because there is very little information out there. To my mind, that’s a sad injustice. This band is doing something new and exciting whilst paying due homage to the past and setting it in the future! Do yourself a favour and check them out. It’s testament to how impressed I am by this release that I’ve ordered a CD version of the album (and their previous outing, The Darkening Plain). The Strange World of Suzie Pellet is also available for download and as a limited edition vinyl.


Ty Power

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