In the footsteps of No Gods, No Monsters, NYC-based Signals of Bedlam had some very big shoes to fill for their next album, and expectations were very high. The band’s sophomore full-length effort is an album that is very different from the first one, and yet another great work. There’s a really spaced out feeling for most of the album, but the actual music itself far overshadows any of the atmospheric stuff.
There is not a single weak track on here out of twelve, which on average clock around four-minute mark. One of the first things that hits you about this record, is the power of the drums. In Rich Abidor they possess one of the most intensive and creative players on the current scene, and his rumbling beats are very impressive.
After a soft intro “Intercept,” which gives the album sort of a post-rock-ish tone, “The Thread” powers up all cylinders with powerful groovy rhythm section (Chika Obiora is on bass), very catchy riff-work, courtesy of Tom Hoy, and haunting voice of Cero Cartera, who also handles guitar duties. Laden with often rhythmic changes and a chorus that seems to decay as soon as it begins, the contorting and yet lulling song is a high point of the record. Of course, the track would not be complete without some atmospheric sounds at the end, which usher the listener into the fantastic “Mass Appeal.”
With a rocking rhythm that’s not too far from the Mars Volta, the wah-wah guitar in “Mass Appeal” is a highlight here, along with Cartera’s singing which shapes up to be a trademark of the record, and Signals of Bedlam as well. The band goes on with some real Prog Rock on this one, which will surely be praised by everyone who still thinks that Genesis is the best thing that happened to the genre.
Fourth on the record is the less-exciting “Rule 41,” the longest track on the Escaping Velocity, which is arguably the most “down-to-the-ground” piece on the record. “Piece of Us” is an atmospheric, vocal-only chant which just confirms that Cartera can do all kind of things with his voice. It also serves as an introduction to “Signals,” a song that lulls you in before a series of riffs take control for the chorus.
“The Void” is some sort of a mixture made from punk and mathcore, and it is a needed piece, positioned right where it belongs. The band’s punk-y streak continues with “Kingslayer,” while “Cause_Ø” is yet another effort where the quartet goes for more experimental sound, employing a bit of Psychedelic Rock. After a short instrumental break “Anomie Duet,” “The Fix” is yet another centrepiece of Escaping Velocity. A real hodgepodge of all kind of crazy things is going on here — this song is possibly a piece that in the best possible way depicts what this album is about. Escaping Velocity closes with “Without Your War,” a somewhat lazy, laid-back tune which is all the time on the verge to explode into something bigger.
In conclusion, this is what happens when a group of people decide to do whatever they damn well please. Signals of Bedlam created something different for a change. I honestly believe this album has that much “classic” potential, and hopefully some good big people will notice it. It’s going to be a big burden for the band to come up with something “new” after this, but if judging by Escaping Velocity, Signals of Bedlam have the knowledge and skills to come up with something far greater. Bring it on, boys!