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SUBSIGNAL

Neo-Prog • Germany


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Subsignal biography
Founded in Munich, Germany in 2007

German outfit SUBSIGNAL was at first a side project for SIEGES EVEN members Arno Menses (vocals) and Markus Steffen (guitars). 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.

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SUBSIGNAL discography


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

3.93 | 190 ratings
Beautiful & Monstrous
2009
3.88 | 223 ratings
Touchstones
2011
3.82 | 136 ratings
Paraíso
2013
3.75 | 103 ratings
The Beacons Of Somewhere Sometime
2015
3.82 | 79 ratings
La Muerta
2018

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

4.00 | 3 ratings
A Song for the Homeless - Live in Rüsselsheim 2019
2020

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

3.80 | 10 ratings
Out There Must Be Something
2012

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

5.00 | 1 ratings
A Canopy of Stars - The Best of Subsignal 2009-2015
2018

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

3.83 | 6 ratings
Even the Stars Don't Shine (radio version)
2018

SUBSIGNAL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 La Muerta by SUBSIGNAL album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.82 | 79 ratings

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La Muerta
Subsignal Neo-Prog

Review by javajeff

4 stars I was disappointed with the production of The Beacons Of Somewhere Sometime. While it does have some great songs, it does not sound as good as any of Subsignal's other album. I listened to it again using a different pair of headphones, and it did sound better but still muddy. However, La Muerta does not have any production issues and sounds very good. The mix is just a huge improvement, and more in line with Paraíso. Speaking of Paraíso, La Muerta shares a more accessible collection of songs. La Muerta still has the same stellar harmonies that Subsignal really explores throughout their catalog. They are often described as a lighter version of their previous band Sieges Even, and La Muerta does not get too heavy to qualify for progressive metal. They fit the Neo-Prog label, but could also be crossover. Overall, this latest offering has everything I enjoy including fantastic songwriting and musicianship. The heart of the album with La Muerta, The Bells of Lyonesse, and Every Able Hand is just perfect. The Passage could be the best song on the album, but really there is no filler here. Marjana Semkina singing in a duet on Some Kind Of Drowning is just stunning. Maybe that is the best song. La Muerta is not the most progressive album, but it still has many interesting compositions to keep the listener entertained. It is a must get for fans of Subsignal that appreciate their brand of consistently great music.
 A Song for the Homeless - Live in Rüsselsheim 2019 by SUBSIGNAL album cover Live, 2020
4.00 | 3 ratings

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A Song for the Homeless - Live in Rüsselsheim 2019
Subsignal Neo-Prog

Review by javajeff

4 stars This is a phenomenal live album. The sound quality is fantastic, and the performances are loaded with energy and the crowd was really into it. The set list has some of their best songs like The Sea, Touchstones, and Paradigm. The harmonies that they are known for are just stellar in this live release. The musicianship is spot on, and the band sounds tight. Anyone new to the band can actually start with this album as it is almost a greatest hits based on the set list. Anyone that love Subsignal should definitely get this releases since it is more of a really good thing. This band keeps producing high quality music, and they deserve a continued growing fan base.
 A Song for the Homeless - Live in Rüsselsheim 2019 by SUBSIGNAL album cover Live, 2020
4.00 | 3 ratings

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A Song for the Homeless - Live in Rüsselsheim 2019
Subsignal Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars After five studio albums the Germans decided time was right to record a live show, again involving producer/mixing engineer Yogi Lang who produced their 2018 album 'La Muerte'. Subsignal were originally going to be a side project for Sieges Even members Arno Menses (vocals) and Markus Steffen (guitar), but it soon became a full-time gig, mixing the heaviness of their original band with a more neo-prog attitude. There have been a few line-up changes over the years, while bassist Ralf Schwager has been there since the beginning, drummer Dirk Brand had been there for a few albums and it is only keyboard player Markus Maichel who was relatively new to the band, although he was a member by the time of the previous album.

The idea behind their live show is not to be clinical and perfect, nor have the highly polished sound, but instead to enjoy what they are doing, bringing heart and dynamics to the songs, and taking the audience along with them. They have definitely managed to achieve that, the result being a band who are absolutely cooking onstage and a crowd who are lapping it all up. They play songs all the way back to the debut, with an infectious neo-prog attitude which at times is quite metallic, yet always with a commercial progressive sound which takes the edge off when it is needed. In many ways this is the perfect introduction to the band, as even those who have never previously come across them will find plenty here to enjoy. In many ways the music is built around Menses's strong clear vocals (and the harmonies from the rest of the guys are simply superb) and the guitar of Steffen: the two guys who started this all those years ago are still very much at the helm of the band while the rest round out the sound and take it to a whole new level.

This is a band very much at one with their audience as opposed to the "look at me" attitude of some prog bands, and the result is an album which feels inviting, whole, embracing, and joyous. If you have not come across Subsignal prior to this, then you owe it to your ears to start with this one.

 La Muerta by SUBSIGNAL album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.82 | 79 ratings

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La Muerta
Subsignal Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars German band SUBSIGNAL have been around for just about a decade at this point, starting off as a side project to progressive metal band Sieges Even and then continuing on as the main band of it's members when Sieges Even decided to call it quits. "La Muerta" is Subsignal's fifth studio album, and was released through German label Gentle Art of Music in the spring of 2018.

Subsignal comes across as a band that has the potential to reach and engage a broad audience with the music on their latest album "La Muerta". A production that is a wee bit removed from the vanguard of expressive and boundary breaking progressive rock, instead opting to focus on the melodic and accessible aspects of the genre. Possibly crossing over towards an AOR interested audience along the way. The most direct comparison I can give would be Rush' 1987 album "Hold Your Fire" - if you find that album to be enjoyable, chances are very good that this album should also be one that will catch your interest.

 La Muerta by SUBSIGNAL album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.82 | 79 ratings

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La Muerta
Subsignal Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Back with their fifth studio album, it has been a while since I last heard this German band that morphed out of Sieges Even, as there have been two other albums between this and 2011's 'Touchstones'. I would have classified their last album as solid neo-prog, but while I do think that classification is still the best place for this as a whole, there is much more crossover in what they are doing now. This has a lightness and deftness of touch to it, yet at the same time there is a maturity and feeling of a band knowing exactly what they want to get across to the audience. Bringing in RPWL's Yogi Lang and Kalle Wallner to undertake the production was a touch of genius, as that act has also been through a great deal of change as they have moved to adulthood, and together they have all combined here to show that here is a prog band that has very much come of age.

The current line-up, consisting of Markus Steffen (guitar), Arno Menses (vocals), Ralf Schwager (bass), Markus Maichel (keyboards) and Dirk Brand (drums), has remained unchanged for quite some time. Markus and Arno starting working together in Sieges Even before moving away, while Ralf (Dreamscape) and Dirk Brand (Axxis, Geoff Downes & John Wetton) also have strong reputations, but it is as this quintet that they are now becoming best known. The vocals soar, the melodies hit while the harmonies and musicianship are all that one would expect and want from a band like this.

The approach is far more songs-based than before, and although they can hit hard when they want to (witness the keyboard-led melodic hard rock introduction to 'Every Able Hand'), they are also content to lighten it up and let Arno take centre stage. This is an incredibly accessible progressive rock album, one that brings the bands of the Nineties right up to date, and also not being afraid to use hints of the Seventies when the need is right, but all wrapped up in commercially acceptable radio-friendly songs that are a delight.

 La Muerta by SUBSIGNAL album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.82 | 79 ratings

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La Muerta
Subsignal Neo-Prog

Review by Kingsnake

4 stars Less progmetal, less neoprog, more pop but most important; more grown-up.

The band have released only great albums, don't get me wrong, but this album sounds the most consistent and coherent to-date. I thought they could never reach the level of Touchtones, but this album could be their best. Time will tell, if this album stands the test of time.

First thing that is directly noticeable is the role the keys platy on this album. 'For the first time the keyboards have a leadrole (together with the vocals and leadguitar). And it's done with much taste and detail. The production is the capable hands of Kalle Wallner and Yogi Lang (both RPWL and Blind Ego), and that is very good thing.

Of course singer Arno Mendes and guitarist Marko Steffen are responsible for the style and sound of the mind, wich is unmistakenly Subsignal. But I find it a great achievement to create such a diversity in songs like Subsignal is always capable of. I love that the vocals remind so much of Jon Anderson/Yes.

I konw that many prog-fans are allergic to pop, but pop means great songs, great hooklines and melodies, and of course a lot of focus which this album is full of. And believe me: there's enough great guitar/keyboardsolos, great technical drumming (both heavy doublebassdrumming as Police-like groovy drumming) and tastefull and groovy basslicks.

Highly recommended....

 The Beacons Of Somewhere Sometime by SUBSIGNAL album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 103 ratings

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The Beacons Of Somewhere Sometime
Subsignal Neo-Prog

Review by Progrussia

3 stars Subsignal, which arose from the ashes of a seminal German prog band Sieges Even, continue with their brand of melancholic adult-oriented power pop, but still showing its metal roots. This is their lengthiest album with more complex songs, as these average 6 minutes, and also with a 20-minute loosely tied quasi epic. So I guess you can call it boredom squared, ha-ha, since there are few things more boring than AOR and prog metal. But seriously, you'll find all the Marcus Steffen and Arno Menses trademarks you love here: hard riffs followed by soft ones, soaring vocals, classical guitar runs and pretentious lyrics. On the flip side, production is more muffled than on their earlier releases, and several instances where they use double kicks as a contrast to nice melodies are annoying, less effective device than the contrast between harder and softer guitar.
 Paraíso by SUBSIGNAL album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.82 | 136 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.
 Paraíso by SUBSIGNAL album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.82 | 136 ratings

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Paraíso
Subsignal Neo-Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Touchstones by SUBSIGNAL album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.88 | 223 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.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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