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SUBSIGNAL

Neo-Prog • Germany


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Subsignal biography
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.

Subsignal official website

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Buy SUBSIGNAL Music


Paraiso (Deluxe Edition)Paraiso (Deluxe Edition)
Import
Goldencore Records (ZYX) 2013
Audio CD$13.29
$12.22 (used)
TouchstonesTouchstones
C&B Productions 2011
Audio CD$9.72
$18.17 (used)
The Blueprint Of A WinterThe Blueprint Of A Winter
Single
Golden Core (ZYX) 2013
Audio CD$4.65
090204640836090204640836
Import
Goldencore Records (ZYX) 2013
Audio CD$11.96
Beautiful & MonstrousBeautiful & Monstrous
zyx/gcr 2009
Audio CD$7.31
$15.04 (used)
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Subsignal - Paraiso CD 880831088022 US $17.04 Buy It Now 2 days
Touchstones by Subsignal (CD, Nov-2011, C&B Productions) US $10.56 Buy It Now 3 days
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Subsignal - Paraiso Deluxe Version [CD New] US $13.21 Buy It Now 4 days
Subsignal - Paraiso (Deluxe Edition) (NEW 2CD) US $24.86 Buy It Now 7 days
Subsignal - Touchstones [CD New] US $13.12 Buy It Now 7 days
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SUBSIGNAL - PARA¡SO [CD] [1 DISC] - NEW CD US $14.03 Buy It Now 11 days
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SUBSIGNAL - PARAISO - GCR200782CD US $20.39 Buy It Now 15 days
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Subsignal - Touchstones (Music CD) US $26.51 Buy It Now 26 days
Para¡so by Subsignal (CD, Jan-2014, Golden Core Records) US $9.43 Buy It Now 26 days
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Subsignal - Paraiso (Music CD) US $29.20 Buy It Now 27 days
Subsignal - Out There Must Be Something (+DVD) (Music CD) US $28.92 Buy It Now 27 days
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SUBSIGNAL discography


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SUBSIGNAL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.95 | 132 ratings
Beautiful & Monstrous
2009
3.86 | 172 ratings
Touchstones
2011
3.80 | 83 ratings
Paraíso
2013

SUBSIGNAL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SUBSIGNAL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.67 | 9 ratings
Out There Must Be Something
2012

SUBSIGNAL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SUBSIGNAL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

SUBSIGNAL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Paraíso by SUBSIGNAL album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.80 | 83 ratings

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Paraíso
Subsignal Neo-Prog

Review by Progrussia

4 stars Subsignal do not stray from their modestly comercially successful formula of heavy melodic adult rock, with alternating uplifting/mysterious and lighter/heavier motifs. In fact, there is an effort to make it even more popular this time around. There are even more huge emotional choruses (although the tattooed and ear holed singer looks on the official photo scary as hell :), classical guitars, keyboard embellishments, pretentious/poetic titles and those phylosophically sounding songs. And less metal, although guitar, when electric, is in full mode, washing over the listener. There is some branching out, towards more familiar neo prog, radio- friendly male-female duet, some interesting bridges and bouncy 80s style verses, but in general Subsignal does not offer anything we haven't heard from them before. 3 stars for the style, and 4 stars for the execution and melodic ear.

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 Paraíso by SUBSIGNAL album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.80 | 83 ratings

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Paraíso
Subsignal Neo-Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Collaborator Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams

5 stars Sometimes, an album simply blows me away from the very first listen. However, I find that the ones that require several listens to appreciate tend to be the best. The latter is the case for Subsignal's third album, "Paraiso". I'm a big fan of their first two releases, and I even thought their last one, "Touchstones", was a masterwork. However, I was somewhat concerned with this release, as the band lost an integral member of its sound, the drummer Roel van Helden. In stepped Danilo Batdorf to take his place, and I was not familiar with his work at all.

I say I was concerned because Roel's drumming was always a perfect median between technical and appropriate, and his performance always seemed to drive the melody to greater places. I'm happy to say, then, that Danilo's performance is just as good, if not better. However, I think this album represents a greater balance for Subsignal overall.

With "Paraiso", Subsignal has tweaked their sound to perfection. The glorious vocals of Arno Menses are far less layered, and thus come across as pure, raw, and more emotive. The drums are not over-loud this time, as they join the chorus of great bass, strong riffing guitars, atmospheric use of keys, and a stuttering grooviness that is really catchy. The band has also made use of strong piano pieces to drive many of their songs. Lastly, the album is a bit softer overall, which is welcome as I felt a few songs on "Touchstones" were too loud for their purpose.

Indeed, this album full of ridiculously creative track titles is also full of ballads to a degree. The thing about Subsignal is that each track is full of different styles. So, technically, every song is a ballad, but every track is also a rocker, too. Heck, "A New Reliance" even includes a salsa interlude! There isn't a weak track on this album, especially when you give this album time to grow. "Paraiso", "A Heartbeat Away", "A Long Time Since the Earth Crashed", "A Giant Leap of Faith", and "The Colossus the Bestrode the World" are all favorites, but all the other tracks are strong, too. It's just one of those albums that seems to be inspired from beginning to end.

Overall, then, I think this is Subsignal's best album. I feel their maturity is showing, as they focus more on complex melodies than on heavy riffs. I feel that they have come into their own with the harmonies, as Arno doesn't hog them all to himself now, and every part of the song complements the whole. I feel that they have finally captured the essence of what they set out to do after Sieges Even, and they have the synth solos, the magnificent climaxes, and the excellent composition to prove it.

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 Touchstones by SUBSIGNAL album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.86 | 172 ratings

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Touchstones
Subsignal Neo-Prog

Review by Progrussia

4 stars Subsignal is a marriage between two excellent, but below-the-radar prog metal bands, Sieges Even and Dreamscape. More precise, the marriage of their more melodic parts - the pop vocal of Arno Menses, the mood-creating guitar of Marcus Steffen and the strong keys of David Bertok, who, according to the band's website, share writing duties. The result is accesible metal for the middle aged, or AOR slash metal, with lyrics aiming for the poetic to the extent of the German writers translating abilities.

This is slightly heavier that the first album, Beautiful and Monstrous, which had a more spacy 80s feel. The main types of songs here are layered, energetic pop rock, mysterious and dramatic slow-burners, and more metal numbers with frequently alternating hard/clean guitar, which Steffen was fond of on the last Sieges Even album. I must add, that for all the band members' pedigrees, songwriting, while good and catchy, is not as detailed and up to the parent bands' standards. Some songs here are overreliant on the vocal melodies or simply overstay their welcome. Menses and Steffen miss the creative collaboration with the Holzwarth brothers, I think.

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 Touchstones by SUBSIGNAL album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.86 | 172 ratings

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Touchstones
Subsignal Neo-Prog

Review by voliveira

4 stars 8/10

With Touchstones, Subsignal continues to evolve its brilliant sound that not only contains a progression of what was being tarabalhado by Sieges Even in his later albums but also introduces new elements, presenting an accessibility combined with a dose masterful technique, melody and emotion in his music. While they have no intention of sounding prog metal masters still exhibit a pleasant [avel dose complex in their songs, but all washed down with a stylish defnitivamente melodic sense that is the hallmark of this phenomenal band.

However, as other reviewers have pointed out, this is an album that could be shorter, not necessarily needing to have their 75 minutes - about 15 less and it would be great. I really felt that he was a little "filled" in my first audition, but that feeling was passing along the wiretaps. I believe, although Touchstones not better than Beautiful and Monstruous, it is not worse. Structurally this album reminds me a lot the classic Awake, from Dream Theater.

Again, the band members perform their roles with perfection. There is the addition of some external factors, such as the strings in Ember and the gorgeous oboe in the title track (I really have a weakness for oboes). These two are the longest tracks on the album, and although they are masterly aren't my favorite. My highlights are the opening Feeding Utopia, which blends perfectly sound prog metal / Porcupine Tree-esque with electronic elements, Echoes in Eternity (that repeats a melodic theme addressed in the first album), Wingless, The Lifespan of a Glimpse (I do not know who is this female singer, but she has a great voice!) and closure Con Todas Las Palabras, which is definitely my favorite here.

4 stars.

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 Beautiful & Monstrous by SUBSIGNAL album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.95 | 132 ratings

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Beautiful & Monstrous
Subsignal Neo-Prog

Review by voliveira

4 stars 8/10

Emerging from the ashes of the second break-up of Sieges Even, Subsignal consists of Arno Menses and Markus Steffen vocals on guitars (both remaining SE)​​, and Ralf Schwager on bass, Roel van Helden on drums and David Bertok on keyboards. Beautiful and monstruous is the first of its three albums released so far in 2009.

Stylistically speaking, I can not say because the band is listed as Neo-Prog, when his style is a visible extension of what we saw in Sieges Even's last two albums, The Art of Navigating by the Stars and Paramount. Ok, is a prog metal not-so-metal? Yes, it is. It is a more lightweight and affordable, as well as a bit atmospheric, but also full of weight. Okay that neo-prog is not my area, but still, it was up to me they would be classified as prog-metal. But anyway ...

Musical and technically speaking, this album is flawless. The Art of Navigating by the Stars is one of my favorite prog metal albums of all time, and the band is expanding the wonderful sound that was developed in the last years by SE. The highlight is the guitar quite eclectic and minimalist from Steffen, who is obviously a very talented guitarist underrated, unfortunately. However each member shines. The crystal clear production and excellent allows one to appreciate all equally, without any being disadvantaged.

And the songs are all featured as well, although the album seems to end in either of anticlimax. That's because my version comes with the bonus track Rain Is The Most Beautiful Color, which seems to be somewhat forgettable. Three tracks stand out: Paradigm, which offers an eighties vibe tied with outstanding vocal Menses (which offers some harmonies here) and a wonderful instrumentation, atmospheric and The Sea and Walking With Ghosts. There are some passages (especially regarding guitars) that remind me of Madlin of the Well, in some ways, especially in its current phase post-rock.

4 stars. Excellent album!

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 Beautiful & Monstrous by SUBSIGNAL album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.95 | 132 ratings

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Beautiful & Monstrous
Subsignal Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars If the idea of some members of Sieges Even indulging a love of Marillion-influenced neo-prog by making an album in that general vein appeals to you, then by all means you should give Subsignal's Beautiful and Monstrous a try because that's the precise reason the album exists. However, personally I am not so impressed. There's good instrumental performances on here and a clear love for the genre, but that doesn't translate into any compelling compositions - there's nothing on here that really stands out for me as being really memorable. It doesn't have the drama and emotional rawness of Fish-era Marillion, or the dark bombast of Arena, or the complex esotericism of IQ, or really anything - it's just a melange of neo-prog motifs that fail to establish any particular atmosphere, and to me atmosphere is crucial for a decent neo-prog album.

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 Touchstones by SUBSIGNAL album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.86 | 172 ratings

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Touchstones
Subsignal Neo-Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars '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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 Touchstones by SUBSIGNAL album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.86 | 172 ratings

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Touchstones
Subsignal Neo-Prog

Review by dtguitarfan

5 stars I find it fascinating that there was a lot of buzz about this album in Progressive Metal circles, and yet here 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.

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 Beautiful & Monstrous by SUBSIGNAL album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.95 | 132 ratings

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Beautiful & Monstrous
Subsignal Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars German band Subsignal started in 2007 as an offshoot Sieges Even project with singer Arno Menses and guitarist Markus Steffen trying to treat with some of their main band's leftovers they composed.However, when both left Sieges Even the next year, the project turned into a full band with bassist Ralf Schwager and keyboardist David Bertok, both coming from veteran German Prog Metallers Dreamscape, along with drummer Roel van Helden from the Dutch Prog Metal outfit Sun Caged.Subsignal signed with ZYX Records and debuted in 2009 with ''Beautiful & Monstrous''.

Far from the very complex Sieges Even style or the bombastic Sun Caged/Dreamscape sound,Subsignal is actually a melodic Heavy Prog group of talented musicians, trying to deliver elaborate arrangements, melodic solos, catchy choruses and accesible songwriting.There are a couple of moments grounded in the metal field,but the overall approach is reminiscent of bands like ENCHANT or SKY ARCHITECT and a crossover style between the two is actually a great comparison.Powerful compositions with heavy guitars, balance between normal song structures and careful solos and good switches between dynamic passages and more mellow material based on atmospheric soundscapes guarantee a fantastic listening.Additionally Menses blows out one of his best performances with some very emotional singing throughout.Remaining quite accesible for the most of its part, ''Beautiful & Monstrous'' still is characterized by most of Progressive Rock's fundamentals: Sudden breaks, changing moods, long arrangements and grandiose atmospheres are only some of them.

This is an absolutely great entry of the band into discography, showcasing Prog Metal musicians' diverisity and long spectrum.If we are talking about how modern prog should sound like, ''Beautiful & Monstrous'' is one of the best examples out there.Highly recommended.

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 Touchstones by SUBSIGNAL album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.86 | 172 ratings

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Touchstones
Subsignal Neo-Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Well crafted composition backed with excellent performance

When I was first introduced to this band by a colleague prog head, he reckoned that this is a good neo-prog band. I was just a bit skeptical when I first heard the term 'neo-prog' where it depicted clear picture into my mind that would be music which comprises dragging long sustained keyboard work in relatively slow paced music - like what i had with the music of Cosmograf - that was quite boring to me ....or maybe my mood is now more on heavier side of prog with bands like Symphony X or Hakken and the like. But I then gave it a try couple of days ago. It amazed me with the kind of energy this band has throughout the tracks they offer through this album. To my surprise I could stay with the album until the last track because I could sense the joy of listening to the album. Then I tried to find who actually the band is.

From its official site, the band was originally intended as a side project in 2007 by the former Sieges Even-members Arno Menses (Vocals) and Markus Steffen (Guitars). The first result of this collaboration was the song ?A Wallflower On The Day Of Saint Juliana', which made its way to the 2007 Sieges Even album 'Paramount' under the title ?Eyes Wide Open'. The two gentle men left Sieges Even in summer 2008, looking for adequate musicians to turn SUBSIGNAL into to a real, functional band. The first guy to join the new outfit was bass player Ralf Schwager, known for his work with German progband Dreamscape. The line-up was completed with Drummer Roel van Helden, known for his collaboration with Dutch band Sun Caged, and Dreamscape's David Bertok on keyboards.

Even though the music of Subsignal is different than Yes but the way the vocal line sings reminds me to Jon ANderson. That's why my first impression was just like Yes plays neo- prog / progressive metal because there are clearly many heavy riffs throughout this album that reminds me to Chile's Crisalida. Last month I was introduced to Cosmograf and there waere many good reviews down here which it's hard for me to find my agreement as the music was so mellow and made me sleepy and tired having to listen another neo-prog music. But this one by Subsignal is different as the album demonstrates high energy neo- prog music like what Marillion pioneered during Fish era. Of course this one is not like Marillion as there are many heavy riffs that remind us to progressive metal.

I found myself engrossed with the music since the opening track until middle of the album without having a sort of bored situation and it continued nicely until the concluding track. From the opening track "Feeding Utopia" that basically a straight forward neo-prog music it moves nicely to "My Sanctuary" and finally I reached track 5 "As Dreams Are Made On" where I found great orchestration in the middle of relatively tempo music offered by this track. It then moves into mellow track "Wingless". I really find joy in listening to the album as the music is quite varied in style, combining the mellow and heavy riffs from all tracks provided here in the album. This is represented with track 7 "Finisterre". The album's title track "Touchstones" reminds me to the kind of Pallas music especially in the ambient opening track with keyboard solo. The music flows nicely from mellow into a bit of heavier part using guitar riffs but still maintaining great overall melody just before the vocal enters. For me, this is an interesting track from start to end with various tempo changes, vocal line reminds me to Jon Anderson in some segments. There are parts with simple piano touches that make the music sounds richer. The concluding track "Con Todas Las Palabras" as an excellent track that reminds me to Yes - but of course this album is MUCH better than the latest Yes "Fly From Here" album.

In conclusion, I consider this album as an excellent addition to any progressive music collection with neo-prog subgenre. Well, actually there are many heavy riffs that may sound to you like a progressive metal music. Fans of neo-prog must have this album - and see how different the music with other typical neo prog music that usually boring and sleepy. Keep on proggin' ...!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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