The nightmares of the 90s are alive in Show of Bedlam. It’s true whether we’re talking the messy, distorted blasts of grunge and noise rock that held the airwaves captive in the 1990s, or the 1890s post-Victorian hellscape that was Bethlem Royal Hospital—London’s most notorious mental institution and the festering pit from which the use of the term “bedlam” to signify chaos originated. Their latest album, Transfiguration, is a sludgy, hopeless dirge that often threatens full collapse (as in the neurotic, off-kilter “Hall of Mirrors”) or offers tense, lingering notes to beckon you in closer (as on the mediative post-metal gloom of “Easter Waster”).
Bedlam’s ghosts manifest in the darkness and dreariness of the Montréal quartet’s output, and their affinity for grungy throwback skronk is hidden in plain sight. The vocals provide illumination and exhortation, tripping airily above the muck, dipping into a frustrated yowl, and lowering into a serrated snarl when the moment calls for it. As they say themselves,”With a plethora of musical influences and backgrounds ranging from post-hardcore, post-punk, doom, no wave, and noise rock, the band has no limitations when it comes to experimenting with sound and style. Each of us has been influenced by different bands and artist such as Swans, Sonic Youth, Lydia Lunch, Neurosis, Babes in Toyland, Butthole Surfers, Bauhaus, to name a few.”
“We worked for 5 years on these songs, some of them had sketches even before [our last album] Roont was out. It took us a while to get the album together since we had lineup changes and also gear problems during the whole process,” the band told Noisey in a statement. “We experimented a lot while recording. The concept of transfiguration came also along the way, while pitching ideas and we felt the word meant a lot to us. Transfiguration could be interpreted as a change of figure, and this is the part of our figure that we decided to show out on an album this time. The idea for the cover came naturally to us too while brainstorming. It could be seen as a reflection of our music, our inner world, it could be seen as the kid who hides in our brain from the monster that messes up with the chemical balance in it. The lyrical content is very personal in the sense that it’s inspired from personal experience but sort of “narrated” in a fairy tale gone wrong kind of way.”
Order the record on a variety of formats from Sentient Ruin here (For EU customers, hit up Dawnbreed; Canadian can cop the vinyl from Desordre Ordonee, and PRC Music is handling the CD release everywhere). Sandblast your eardrums with our exclusive stream below:
Kim Kelly is transmogrifying on Twitter.
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