TLDR: After listening to this one, I immediately pre-ordered it.
Subsignal are back with their 5th album “La Muerta” that is once again very song oriented. This time out they lean on their melodic/AOR side a little more than their prog side, though there are prog moments to be found for sure. And the melodies and harmonies on display here are fantastic (as expected)!
Production duties were handed to Yogi Lang and Kalle Wallner of RPWL on this one. The album as a whole has that airy feel that I love and just feels right while sitting outside on a warm evening with a favorite beverage. Would love to hear this performed at an open air venue someday. Unfortunately, it seems that they have succumbed to the loudness war once again but try to not let that detract too much from the enjoyment of this album as it isn’t that bad. I know a lot of people don’t really care about this anyway. I’m just picky.
The album is a hefty 53 minutes with the longest track clocking in at 7:23. This prompted me to look back at their other releases time wise, and found they seem to alternate a bit. So maybe the next will be of epic length? Eh… Not enough to even begin speculating. On to the new album!
We start things off with a short intro track, “271 Days,” that I’m sure means something to the band but seems like it could have just been part of the title track. Maybe it is present to give a little prog taste before “La Muerta,” which really starts things off right. Great catchy chorus with a complex instrumental section. Good idea for a single. The album version is over 2 minutes longer than the radio single that was released and has some tasty lead guitar that is missing from the single. This is followed up by another potential single in “The Bells Of Lyonesse.” Catchy track.
“Every Able Hand” starts of with a great synth line that heads into a nice little complex intro followed by a little carnival-type music (think Jordan Rudess style at the most inopportune time in some of the longer instrumental sections with Dream Theater). Not really fond of that style but they make it work here. The keys are prominent on this track with some great guitar work that leads into a very Yes like verse toward the end. Actually, this whole song reminds me a bit of Yes. But with more of an edge.
A little break is given in the form of an acoustic guitar interlude called “Teardrops Will Dry In Source Of Origin.” They do have a way with song titles. Very moving, but short piece that is beautifully played. That is followed up by “The Approaches.” Yet another song that reminds me of Yes at times. Especially the vocals and the Wakeman style keys. Still very Subsignal though! “Even though the Stars Don’t Shine” has an upbeat 80’s style synth and rhythm track with an instrumental section showcasing their prog sensibilities. Great song.
“The Passage” is the longest track on the album and as expected has some of the proggiest moments showcased. Big sounding intro and the band really stretches out here where they have the room to do so. “When All The Trains Are Sleeping” and “All Birds on Pinions Free” brings us back into the melodic catchy rock arena. I’m going to get booed for this [editor: BOO! -Rob], but I got a bit of a Counting Crows vibe off of “All Birds on Pinions Free” (am I showing my age?). It is a bit heavier than that, though. Plus, I’ll listen to this one again! A nice little bonus to this track is a Lifeson guitar tone ala Red Sector A that just feels right.
“Some Kind of Drowning” is a very Anathema-esque track, with Marjana Semkina (Iamthemorning) and Arno on vocals along with piano by Markus Jehle (RPWL). It builds to an interesting industrial noise sound that plays along with the chorus. This is making me want to go back and listen to more Iamthemorning big time. Killer track and a very melancholy, and beautiful, way to end the album… but it works! Honestly, it all works!
This album is honestly full of singles and I hope it goes a long way in getting the band some much needed exposure. Time will tell but they have made a great effort to that end with this release. More power to them!
Highlight tracks for me: The Bells of Lyonesse, Even Though The Stars Don’t Shine, All Birds on Pinions Free, Some Kind of Drowning.
- 271 Days
- La Muerta
- The Bells Of Lyonesse
- Every Able Hand
- Teardrops Will Dry In Source Of Origin
- The Approaches
- Even Though The Stars Don’t Shine
- The Passage
- When All The Trains Are Sleeping
- As Birds On Pinions Free
- Some Kind Of Drowning