They may not be the most prolific of bands recording wise but without doubt when Canadians doomsters Show Of Bedlam uncage their creative imaginations and sonic dexterity it results in something truly irresistible and memorable. That claim is richly confirmed yet again with the band’s new seven track EP/mini album, the quite stunning and unnerving Transfiguration.
The Show Of Bedlam sound has never been solely confined by that doom tagging, their fusion of sludge, post hardcore and punk, and atmospheric malevolence a cauldron of raw and transfixing invention and suggestion but never has it been so mesmeric, bone-chilling, and psychotically arcane as within Transfiguration. The release is a furnace of raw emotion and intensity soaked in a suffocating beauty; the band creating an evocation of macabre intrigue and corrosive psychosis which if the Witchfinder General was still a figure of ‘responsibility’ would have Show Of Bedlam burning at the stake.
From their debut release as one half of the split Autocannibalist with Jucifer in 2009 to first album Roont in 2012 and now Transfiguration, Montréal hailing Show Of Bedlam has kept ears and fears waiting and richly rewarded. The time between releases has seen the band continue to nurture and hone, push and experiment with a sound which is instinctively unique and dramatically imposing. For all their previous successes, Transfiguration is easily the band’s finest moment to date and the moment they surely blossom from a widely known secret to a fully-fledged inspiration within the metal scene.
Twelve minute opener Blue Lotus immediately engulfs the senses with its sonic smog of intrigue and melodic discord; enticing and intimidating in equal measure as it crowds the listener ready for the equally haunting and inescapable prowess of Paulina Richards’ presence and voice. There is virulence to all the dark thoughts and visceral imagery escaping the stifling atmospheric density; infectiousness as easily trespassing body and thoughts as the psychosis of sound carrying it. With a gothic wash equally blossoming and recalling Xmal Deutschland at times, the glorious predator of a track swallows the listener with its tapestry of creative spite and despair simultaneously disturbing and invigorating with its oppressive magnificence and intimate examination of the senses.
Latest single Taelus swiftly follows, teasing ears with its melodic beckoning as beats wait to lay an occasionally anthemic hand on an already eager appetite. As a sample lurks, the song simmers and bubbles, bursting from its confines as vocals and guitars entwine in another caustic wash of sonic tempting stalked by the hungry rumblings of bass. As its predecessor, the similarly deceitfully catchy track is as descriptive sonically as it is vocally, every fresh wave and adventure of intensity and cunning a new twist in the nightmarish landscape painted note by note, syllable by syllable.
At two minutes plus, the album’s title track is a short and powerful insight into a blossoming defiance and turning of the worm within a rhythmically entrancing and gripping affair, inciting the senses physically and emotionally before Hall of Mirrors rises from its slumber with carnivorous breath and intent. It crawls over the listener, dragging its sludgy weight and doomy intensity with rapacious relentlessness as Richards roars with unbridled emotive intensity and persuasion. It too ebbs and flows with energy and greater volcanic urgency, consuming the senses with lava-esque ferocity lined with more of the band’s contagious groove spited toxicity; it all leading to a climax which simply consumes all before it.
Lamentation offers a respite of sorts, its twenty odd seconds a detour into a fresh fly infested charnel house from which the oppressive elegance and invasive almost cancerous tempest of Easter Water broods and escapes. With every passing second it looms up and imposes its weight and immersive embrace, bullying whilst igniting ears and imagination. Subsequent slips into less intensive though no less spine-chilling and fearsome pastures as well as the darkest corners only adds to the theatre of sound and its realm of the portentously obscure, and to the imagery festering and conjuring in the imagination.
Closed by the brief sonic ruin of L’Appel Du Vide, quite simply Transfiguration is glorious; daunting and alarming for sure but a sonically and emotionally distressed alchemy of sound and invention which leaves the majority of releases this year so far and easy to suspect to come, looking bland and uneventful. As the world falls further into disaster and decay, so Show Of Bedlam rises, their sound and new offering the perfect soundtrack and antidote.
Transfiguration is released May 12th through PRC Music and Sentient Ruin Laboratories with pre-ordering available now @ http://www.prcmusic.com/store/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=1447 and https://sentientruin.bandcamp.com/album/transfiguration
Pete RingMaster 18/04/2017
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