All signs suggest that Subsignal are way overdue complete recognition beyond being critic darlings!!!
Who: progressive band born as a side project from the band Sieges Even
Where: German based roots
When: recording debut 2009
Sounds like: highly accessible progressive music with a sense of melody and structure
Subsignal is by no means a brand-new band but have actually been in existence since 2007. Born original with the intent of being a side project of another progressive band Sieges Even, vocalist Arno Menses and guitarist Markus Steffen felt it was appropriate to completely spread their wings and fly away. With former Dreamscape bass player Ralf Schwager also joining Mense and Stefffen, the core of this original side project had been formed and metaphorized into their own full-fledged band Subsignal. These three members to this day remain the nucleus of Subsignal.
It only took one year for the band to begin recording their impressive 2008 debut Beautiful & Monstrous that did not see a worldwide release until the following year. With a solid all-around recording the most noticeable are the opening track “Where Angels Fear To Tread” and the glorious more reflective titles “The Sea” and closer “The Last Light Of Summer”. Followed up with their slightly more aggressive 2011 recording Tombstone, it was clear this band did not wish to limit their creative exploration. However, it was their 2013 album Paraiso whose special edition included a 3D album cover and bonus live disc Live In Mannheim 2012 that captured this writer’s attention. Clearly the band were not just musicians limited to their studio gimmickry but one’s fully capable of reproducing they’re at times complex music live. This particular impressive album also garnered attention Stateside and as a result found them enjoying their first US concert dates.
With some of the band members struggling with unknown personal issues, it appeared that their lives were somewhat reflecting in their art with their 2015 recording The Beacons Of Somewhere Sometime. It is certainly their moodiest and probably most experimental album to date. The title track, though broken into 4 movements clocks in at over 20 minutes long. Though three years later the band has managed to counter their prior recording with clearly their most accessible album to date in the form of 2018’s title La Muerta. With exception of the toe tapping title track and the uplifting piano and acoustic driven 7-minute composition “The Passage”, the remaining tracks clock in at around 5 minutes or less. Along with no tied in concepts, La Muerta is their most accessible to date yet with no sell out date attached to it. From the melodic driven “Even Though The Stars Don’t Shine One” to one of the most vulnerable recordings to date found on stripped down instrumental “Teardrops Will Dry In Source Of Origin”, these particular tracks reflect how reachable La Muerta is to a wider audience.
With a heavy emphasis on atmospheric and yet not overwrought progressive music somewhat in the vernacular of the Flower Kings and Marillion, Subsignal’s latest recording continues to reflect a band that brings their own image to the table. Nevertheless, the more accessible melodic sensibilities found on their 2018 recording La Muerta brings in the elements of their more melodic progressive brethren Spock’s Beard and Saga yet never at the expense of losing their own identity. And with a live recording pending a release date, this a good time to get caught up on a way overlooked progressive band.
New Artists coming at you all the time.