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progVisions

progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

album reviews

album review

Subsignal - La Muerta - 2018


    
“... do not judge a book on its cover ...”
Originally intended as a side project, Subsignal were founded back in 2007 by former Sieges Even members Arno Menses (vocals) and Markus Steffen (guitars). Their music was often characterized as a mix of Neo Prog and Metal. Those Metal influences are probably the reason that the band did not get my attention in the past. But what has changed? First of all Subsignal is a real band now and this “La Muerta” is their fifth album. Secondly, and maybe the main reason, the band has signed at Gentle Art Of Music, the label of Kalle Wallner (RPWL, Blind Ego) and Yogi Lang (RPWL). Those two guys knows how to record and produce an album. On this album the metal influences are almost gone and you will be positive surprised by this powerful Neo Prog album with lovely melodies and catchy vocal harmonies.
Markus Steffen - guitars; Arno Menses - vocals; Ralf Schwager - bass; Markus  Maichel - keyboards; Dirk Brand - drums

Guest musicians;
Marjana Semkina - vocals on “Some Kind Of Drowning”
Markus Jehle - piano on “Some Kind Of Drowning”¬†
Kalle Wallner - guitars
Yogi Lang - keyboards 
When I received the official promo of “La Muerta”, the fifth album of the German outfit Subsignal there where no alarm bells ringing at the progVisions headquarters. So, unaware of the quality of this album, the album found a home at the pile of new releases. My mind played games with me; the name Subsignal, a black and dark cover with the title “La Muerta” ... my brain was generating the thought “Just another metal related release”. When you have heard this album you can imagine that a surprise awaited me. When I heard this eleven track album for the first time, there was only one thing I could and wanted to do ... push the play button again! Well I think that this is the best compliment you can give to a band after hearing their new album for the first time.

As I told you before, you can find eleven tracks on this fine album; “271 Days”, “La Muerta”, “The Bells Of Lyonesse”, “Every Able Hand”, “Teardrops Will Dry In Source Of Origin”, “The Approaches”, “Even Though The Stars Don’t Shine”, “The Passage”, “When All The Trains Are Sleeping”, “As Birds On Pinions Free” and “Some Kind Of Drowning”.

After the short “271 Days” instrumental this album opens with the title track “La Muerta”. The song is representative for the whole album. Sparkling and uplifting tunes with catchy vocal harmonies and refrains that are supplemented with well crafted instrumental intermezzos. The music sounds powerful and transparent at the same time. While listening to the next track “The Bells Of Lyonesse”, I had to think of the vocal harmonies of those early Asia albums. “Every Able Hand” opens with a typical Neo Prog synth solo. After that the song develops more into a nice ballad before the band goes full throttle with great guitar and synth parts that are combined with amazing vocal melodies. The short track “Teardrops Will Dry In Source Of Origin” is a beautiful and delicate played acoustic guitar track with a Spanish feel. “The Approaches” has nice keyboard orchestrations and has the so needed diversity. The band put some Pop influences in the track “Even Though The Stars Don’t Shine”. So the contrast is big when you will hear my personal favorite track “The Passage”. With more than seven minutes it is also the longest track of the album. The song has a powerful Neo Prog opening with broad keyboard layers and synth melodies. You will also find beautiful vocal melodies accompanied by piano in this track. This track has it all, did I already mentioned the synth solo’s and the melodic guitar work? The vocal parts in this track are top notch, but that could be said for the whole album. In the end it sounds like Asia meets Arena ... absolutely a highlight of the album. The songs “When All The Trains Are Sleeping” and “As Birds On Pinions Free” have some nice guitar parts and fine vocals but don’t reach the high quality level of “The Passage. The album closes in style with the delicate sung ballad “Some Kind Of Drowning”. The female guest singer is Marjana Semkina, the vocalist of The I Am The Morning project. A worthy ending of a remarkable album.
As you can read in my introduction I was positive surprised by this wonderful album. My learning moment; do not judge a book on its cover. As a graphic designer who is also designing album covers for bands, I have some mixed feelings about this ... but this is another story. It is an album with a great production and full of uplifting melodies and catchy vocal harmonies. The music on this production sounds transparent and powerful at the same time. If you like powerful Neo Prog with catchy vocal harmonies, this one is for you!
Douwe Fledderus - July 2018
rating - Gentle Art Of Music

 

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