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.