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(53:02, Gentle Art of Music)
TRACK LIST: 1. 271 Days 1:03 2. La Muerta 6:00 3. The Bells of Lyonesse 4:59 4. Every Able Hand 4:45 5. Teardrops Will Dry in Source of Origin 2:05 6. The Approaches 4:52 7. Even Though the Stars Don't Shine 5:14 8. The Passage 7:23 9. When All the Trains Are Sleeping 5:27 10. As Birds on Pinions Free 5:40 11. Some Kind of Drowning 5:34 LINEUP: Arno Menses - vocals Markus Steffen - guitars Markus Maichel - keyboards Ralf Schwager - bass Dirk Brand - drums with: Marjana Semkina - vocals Markus Jehle - piano
Prolusion. German band SUBSIGNAL have been around for just about a decade at this point, starting off as a side project to progressive metal band Sieges Even and then continuing on as the main band of it's members when Sieges Even decided to call it quits. "La Muerta" is Subsignal's fifth studio album, and was released through German label Gentle Art of Music in the spring of 2018.
Analysis. It's been a few years since I came across this band by now. My first encounter with the band was when I added them to the database of the website Progarchives many years ago, and then I saw them live when they performed at ROSfest in the US a few years ago. But it is a band that I haven't really kept track of I'll have to admit. I understand they have become quite the popular band though, and this album indicates just why this is the case I guess. Even if it may well be a bit different from their previous productions, if what I read about them is correct. What I can state straight away is that this isn't the album to look for if you desire your progressive rock to be challenging, boundary breaking or otherwise being on the innovative side of creativity and being expressive. This is an album that is a lot more safe in all of it's ways, and the music in general is one that comes with a broad general appeal. In general, a lot about this album revolves around AOR style rock and hard rock, and focus extensively on the melodic and pleasant arrangements. The verse parts tends to be gentler in all details, with the clean and clear vocals leading the way with quality instrument support, while the chorus sections tends to have a harder, a former or a more majestic take and arrangement. A lot of this is easygoing, straight forward material, with mainly some subtle details here and there that will keep the progressive rock fan listening. The band showcase their progressive rock credentials too, I should add, but that aspect of their repertoire is first and foremost showcased in the instrumental interludes, transitions and solo runs. Mainly in different variations of neo progressive rock with some harder prog and occasional progressive metal tinged elements added as flavoring, although there are sections that features more expressive keyboard runs that should be of interest also to those with a stronger taste for old school progressive rock. But by and large, the progressive rock aspects of this production is one made with a strong appeal for a broader audience base. While perhaps not all that exciting nor revolutionary, this is a pleasantly engaging experience. Top quality musician ship and excellent mix and production does elevate the end result ever so slightly here and there, at least in my opinion some of these songs may well have come across as a bit more ordinary if taken on by a band less skilled.
Conclusion. Subsignal comes across as a band that has the potential to reach and engage a broad audience with the music on their latest album "La Muerta". A production that is a wee bit removed from the vanguard of expressive and boundary breaking progressive rock, instead opting to focus on the melodic and accessible aspects of the genre. Possibly crossing over towards an AOR interested audience along the way. The most direct comparison I can give would be Rush' 1987 album "Hold Your Fire" - if you find that album to be enjoyable, chances are very good that this album should also be one that will catch your interest.
Progmessor: July 30th 2018
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