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Subsignal - Touchstones CD (album) cover





3.88 | 223 ratings

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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

Gatot | 4/5 |


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