SUBSIGNAL

Metal Related / Non-Metal • Germany
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German outfit SUBSIGNAL was at first a side project for Sieges Even members Arno Menses (vocals) and Markus Steffen (guitars), and was set up in 2007. The first creative output from this duo actually made it onto the Sieges Even album Paramount - a track called Eyes Wide Open.

In the summer of 2008 they left Sieges Even, and decided to turn this side project into a band, and with the addition of Ralf Schwager (bass), Roel van Helden (drums) and David Bertok (keyboards) a full line-up was in place. The aim of the band is to more or less continue where Sieges Even left off, but with a greater variety in terms of musical expressions.

In the spring of 2009 they started recording material for their first production, and in September 2009 the debut album Beautiful and Monstrous was released.

( Originally written for Prog Archives by Windhawk)
Thanks to UMUR for the addition and adg211288 for the updates

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SUBSIGNAL Discography

SUBSIGNAL albums / top albums

SUBSIGNAL Beautiful & Monstrous album cover 3.67 | 6 ratings
Beautiful & Monstrous
Metal Related 2009
SUBSIGNAL Touchstones album cover 4.31 | 5 ratings
Touchstones
Metal Related 2011
SUBSIGNAL PARAÍSO album cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
PARAÍSO
Metal Related 2013
SUBSIGNAL The Beacons Of Somewhere Sometime album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
The Beacons Of Somewhere Sometime
Metal Related 2015
SUBSIGNAL La Muerta album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
La Muerta
Non-Metal 2018

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SUBSIGNAL Reviews

SUBSIGNAL Touchstones

Album · 2011 · Metal Related
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dtguitarfan
I find it fascinating that there was a lot of buzz about this album in Progressive Metal circles, and yet it is on Prog Archives being classified as Neo Prog. To me, the fact that this band seems to transcend genre classification is a mark of greatness. This is an extremely polished, well-engineered, and carefully composed album. And it's no surprise as the band was originally intended to be the side project of seasoned Prog artists Arno Menses (Vocals) and Markus Steffen (Guitars) formerly of Sieges Even. I've heard people compare this band to Yes, The Police, Dream Theater - all very different styles, and it's clear that while there may be influences from these and other bands, this band has their own style to offer. And while I don't often even notice lyrics, I couldn't help but notice how amazingly descriptive the lyrics of this album are - filled with metaphorical descriptions. I think with this album, Subsignal has created a unique and interesting work of art.

SUBSIGNAL Touchstones

Album · 2011 · Metal Related
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Conor Fynes
'Touchstones' - Subsignal (8/10)

Although German progsters Subsignal have been assigned to the label of the middling neo-prog style, this band has much more up their sleeve than the typical act of that scene. In fact, it may not be such a stretch to call Subsignal a progressive metal band; after all, their two founding members Arno Menses and Markus Steffen are formerly part of metal powerhouse Sieges Even. Seeking to continue their music together after leaving Sieges, the pair enlisted the help of other musicians, and thus, Subsignal was born. 'Touchstones' is this band's second album, and here, Menses and Steffen have realized the potential of their new melodic aims. To be honest, there were so many prog albums throughout 2011 that- while not necessarily 'poor'- never sought to move me. More often than not, they were albums which went the melodic route with prog rock, using the 'epic' format as more of a gimmick, and replacing technical achievement with bland AOR tropes. What I'm getting at is that while I was practically setting myself up to dislike 'Touchstones' without knowing a thing about the band, they have created a remarkable piece of progressive, melodic metal here. Although 2011 is now over, I suspect that 'Touchstones' would have crept its way up my year end list, had I only heard it a couple of months earlier.

The sound of Subsignal reminds me greatly of modern prog darlings Haken, and their collision of epic progressive metal and softer melodic atmosphere. For those more invested in prog rock terms, both of these bands merge progressive metal and neo-prog together, creating something that manages to sport strong melodic hooks and clean sound without sacrificing the complexity or technical display of the musicians at work. As any fan of Sieges Even could have bet, the musicianship on 'Touchstones' is levelled at a very high standard. The compositions are focused primarily on melody, and while you won't hear the ten minute instrumental indulgences made infamous by Dream Theater, there is never any doubt that these are some of the best musicians in progressive music today. Roel van Helden's drum work was pleasantly reminiscent of Mike Portnoy's wild style. Menses and Steffen get the limelight throughout virtually the entire album. David Bertok's keyboards are the most inconspicuous aspect of the sound, adding atmosphere and depth to the sound, but rarely stepping forth. Although I would have cared for a few more spotlight's on Ralf Schwager's evidently impressive bass work, Subsignal never feels dominated by any ego from anyone.

The songwriting on 'Touchstones' is consistent, although the overbearing length and somewhat singular approach of the album tends to make the songs run together. The eleven minute title track 'Touchstones' earns my vote for the highlight, though. Although it is a fairly long song, the time is used well; those minutes aren't wasted on instrumental noodling, but instead work towards developing melodies and atmosphere. It is here where Subsignal's symphonic undertones come out most brightly as well, with a beautiful symphonic instrument acting in sharp contrast to the otherwise gloomy sounds of the guitar. Barring an album length that could have reasonably had twenty minutes shaved off, this is among the greatest melodic prog/metal albums to have come out in 2011. It's a shame I didn't get around to hearing it earlier, but there's little doubt in my mind that I will be enjoying this album well into 2012.

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