Subsignal - Touchstones review
|Release date:||October 2011|
01. Feeding Utopia
02. My Sanctuary
03. Echoes In Eternity
04. The Size Of Light On Earth
05. As Dreams Are Made On
08. The Essence Called Mind
09. The Lifespan Of A Glimpse
10. Embers Part 1: Your Secret Is Safe With Me
12. Con Todas Las Palabras
Subsignal strikes again! This all-star progressive band is still referred to as Sieges Even part two, so whether you choose to see Touchstones as the second Subsignal album or the fourth Sieges Even Menses/Steffen-era album, it is doubtless that this is the most coherent one of the bunch. And coming from the person who loved The Art Of Navigating By The Stars to death, it's quite a recommendation, considering the fact that the aforementioned release turned a lot of heads by defining their dreamy, elegant prog rock/metal style.
Now that I've tossed some names and gotten everyone except the genuinely interested people confused, let's move on to what got me into this band: the emotion. The eye-catching aspect of their music was always the soft atmosphere Markus Steffen (guitar) weaved into the songs and the brilliant vocal interpretation of Arno Menses, and on this release it is brilliantly matched by the efforts of the remaining band members. The result is nothing really technical but most definitely prog. The almost-too-soft moments are wonderfully paired with ones that make me feel like a stone dropped in my stomach, and the overall feel is melancholic, distant, almost nostalgic, although the album ends on a very positive note with "Con Todas Las Palabras", which pretty much sounds like it was written back in the Sieges Even era.
But the ending track isn't the only familiar thing around here - there is always a sense of intertextuality present when you're dealing with the two bands. Touchstones refers to Sieges Even more than anything else, whether via lyrics ("a sense of change", "walk with me/towards the knowing river/let the waters wash/wash away this slow disease inside of you", "ride the lonely sea spray" from the top of my brain) or in a more subtle fashion (the riff in "Echoes Of Eternity" mirrors a riff on the first track of Subsignal's debut, which is lyrically somewhat of a continuation of a Sieges Even song).
The lyrics are once again one of the more important things to look out for. The ones written by David Bertok are more or less your typical prog preachings, but Markus Steffen proves to be a brilliant lyricist once again - one could say the words are a notch above the images. Stories of loss and grief, balance between the global and the personal, hardships of a man compared to hardships of our entire race - our burden, "boulder" as Steffen puts it - take the center place for the fourth time and yet sound as new and touching as they were on The Art Of Navigating By The Stars.
||Written on 30.12.2011 by A part of the team since December 2011, writes about the progressive, the sad and the melodic. She's nice until she's not.|
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