Signals to Vega describe themselves as “celestial rock,” a term that couldn’t be more apt when describing their music. With song titles like “Oh, Rhien,” and “Redshift” (which refers to a color change that accompanies an expansion of the universe), and the beautiful album cover art for their stunning debut EP “Into the Arms of Infinity,” it is clear to see that the celestial unknown is an important consideration for the band. Hailing from Lake Charles, Louisiana, the quintet gives listeners a soundtrack tailored for staring into the heavens, allowing for moments of quiet intimacy, but bursting with epic scope and moments of dramatic bliss.
RELEASE DATE: 18 August 2015 LABEL: Self-released
“Into the Arms of Infinity” follows the well-tread post-rock formula of soft builds and soaring crescendos, but where a number of albums would leave you with a feeling of dull familiarity, it instead acts as a reminder as to why this formula has grown to be so trusted. While I am not suggesting that even more bands should make a run at following this this oft-explored lead, when it is done right, there is no denying it. Originally released in 2013, this review refers to the 2015 re-master and re-release, which features more punch on the guitars, and a very noticeable upgrade to the drum production, which was a decided weak point on the album’s earlier version.
It begins not unlike Caspian’s debut EP “You Are the Conductor,” with a short intro track that wastes no time setting a high bar. “Unity and Division” fades in as if it had already been in progress, and quickly explodes with an exhilarating wave of riffs and melody, forcing the listener to match its pace as it leads into the second track, “Redshift.” Here you will find that dedication to familiar post-rock tropes – twinkling guitar melodies drenched in reverb that give way to deafening crescendos – but it absolutely works for them, as it lends to the intended sense of being on the ground staring into the vastness of space, maybe imagining what it would be like to be swirling amidst the cosmos. In this way, the balance of delicate and epic makes sense, and when you buy into it you are simply less likely to start picking it apart. That it works so well is also no doubt a testament to composition and execution. These guys know what they are going for, they are capable of doing so, and they get right at it. Despite some long track lengths, the songs never take long to get going – essentially all meat and muscle with very little filler.
The clear standout is “Fear Not the Cycle of Life,” the album’s longest track at just over ten minutes, and my personal choice for favorite song of 2013 upon its initial release. Again it balances quiet and loud in a very traditional fashion, but it also builds dynamics on top of dynamics during its series of ever-intensifying crescendos. You can feel a welcome presence of the band members’ professed post-metal influences, which don’t play a major role on the album as a whole, but are a welcome addition on its fringes to balance the sweetness of its softer passages.The final three minutes are, without a doubt, amongst the finest and most moving in recent post-rock history. If you have loved this subgenre, but found yourself missing out on that old thrill you used to get when everything was still new, listen to this song and feel your passion re-energized. Fist-clenchingly epic, it is a towering achievement, and deserves a much wider listenership. In a world where it is easy to float by and feel nothing, we should be thankful for anything that makes us feel something profoundly, each and every time. This song falls into that realm.
Keeping with the theme of gazing upward to the skies, “Into the Arms of Infinity” immediately launches Signals to Vega into a similar stratosphere as some of the recent powerhouses of the genre. Yet, they are still a band in their infancy, with much room to expand, and in need of support in order to do so. “Into the Arms of Infinity” is available as a name-your-price download on Band Camp, and is most certainly well-worth a few of your hard-earned dollars, at least. This is a band that hoists high the traditions of modern instrumental post-rock, and if you haven’t heard them yet, prepare to be reminded of why you got into this game in the first place.