Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Subsignal - Beautiful & Monstrous (2009)

Formed out of the explosive ashes of German progressive metal maestros Sieges Even (specifically vocal powerhouse Arno Menses and the ever indomitable Markus Steffen on guitar), it seems as though Subsignal was destined to be an awesome bunch simply due to those two involved.

The result of this formation is something like the reapplication of a great stylistic component under a new pretense. Instead of blending near pop-melodicism with Watchtower-esque technicality, the sound present on debut release Beautiful & Monstrous is more akin to the harder-edged neo-prog of the late 90's than anything their power metal-tinged contemporaries such as Vanden Plas have brought about.

All in all, it's quite fantastic stuff: the listener is treated to some slick sounding axe-lines, keyboards float around like clouds in the sky, and the ever wonderful treat of hearing Arno Menses at the top of his game: the man's voice soars through this sonic firmament like an eagle with tranquil, melancholic ease, and even the weaker material sounds like a million bucks.

Still, that wonderful Sieges Even sound occasionally does rear its head when you least expect it, such as the spacey 'Rain Is The Most Beautiful Color' and infectious 'Paradigm'.It's nice, however, to hear an album where these prog. metal diehards try to strip away the technical instrumental fireworks and let things develop in completely non-metallesque ways. The album is just that much more listenable and balanced because of it.

A toast then to these kickass Krauts: if you guys enjoy this one, keep an eye out for their upcoming summer 2011 sophomore album!

Listen Here - "Paradigm"

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