|Musical Style: Melodic Power Metal||Produced By:|
|Record Label: Ulterium||Country Of Origin: Slovakia|
|Year Released: 2015||Artist Website: Signum Regis|
|Tracks: 6||Rating: 80%|
With its six song spring of 2015 Ulterium Records EP (and fourth release to date) Through The Storm, Signum Regis has a clear winner on its hands. The concise but well conceived work, based upon a similar melodic power metal foundation as the groups 2013 predecessor Exodus (also Ulterium), exceeds expectations and not just in terms of songwriting but also production. Unlike many EP releases, which can fall victim to second best material and ‘B’ side filler, Through The Storm delivers four new album worthy tracks which find the Senec, Slovakia based act firing on all cylinders and upping the heaviness and energy levels overall. Remaining two compositions maintain the quality, as a re-recorded version of “All Over The World” (off the groups 2008 self-titled debut) and Yngwie Malmsteen cover medley of the classic tracks “Vengeance” & “Liar” attest in no uncertain terms.
If anything, Through The Storm reflects the musical maturity and growth made by the group since its 2007 founding when bassist Ronnie König joined forces with highly regarded vocalist Göran Edman (ex. Yngwie Malmsteen, John Norum) to record said self-titled debut on Locomotive Records. Later signing with Inner Wound Records, Signum Regis followed up with its 2010 sophomore effort The Eyes Of Power (also fronted by Edman) that was conceptually based upon Roman and Persian relations between 224 to 630 AD. The group maintained the concept release penchant for third album Exodus, which as its namesake applies focuses on the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. This time Signum Regis went the ‘vocalist by committee’ route by matching the right vocalist with the right song in featuring the likes of Thomas L. Winkler (Gloryhammer), Matt Smith (Theocracy), Eli Prinsen (The Sacrificed, Sacred Warrior), Lance King (ex Pyramaze, ex Balance of Power), Daísa Munhoz (Vandroya) and others.
Joining the Signum Regis roster for Through The Storm is Mayo Petranin, who many might remember from having fronted the Exodus track “Mountain Of God”. The album finds Petranin bringing the same brusque and earthy mid-range vocal presence, a particular I find refreshing in light of a power metal scene awash with too many high-end crooners and Geoff Tate wanna-bees. Perhaps it is due to Petranin’s lower register style, but the Through The Storm material has a bit more up-tempo kick to it than its Exodus equivalents- or at the very least that newfound heaviness and energy in question attributes to the gritty power he brings to the table. Regardless, it is a match that proves a perfect fit for either party in creating a best of both worlds scenario.
One need look no further than Through The Storm opening track “Living Well” for this to be made evident, as the group stomps and storms through five non-stop dogged minutes in which a neo-classical edge and prodigious bass driven low end (courtesy of König) hold sway. Lushly done guitar harmonies carry the instrumental moments, with this time thanks going to guitarist Filip Koluš. Immediate impression is the in your face production, which while not quite as polished as that to Exodus proves no less able with its raw but concentrated feel. In terms of specifics, guitars buttress the centerpiece of the mix, while vocals stand out but not to a fault.
“Through The Desert, Through The Storm”, albums longest at just under seven minutes, maintains the tempestuous angst but in the more melody driven package. The song masterfully maneuvers its verses with guitars crunching in and out of the mix only to establish itself as keyboards step forward to lighten the richly textured but catchy chorus (strong as anything on Exodus). The rousing stretch of lead guitar from Koluš would turn the head of Chris Impellitteri. “My Guide In The Night” slowly fades in prior to also moving forward at a decisive tempo. The song sets an uplifting and inspiring tone accordingly, assailing at breakneck speed in giving rise to a similar forthright melody but with airy keyboards lending a highlighting touch. Timekeeper Jaro Jančula steals the show with his relentless work on double bass.
“Come And Take It” proves a short (3:39) but intense energy burst. Starting to drum and bass solos, the song revels in diversity from upholding a melodic metal penchant (the catchy vocal melodies are huge) while emphasizing symphonic elements and heavy hitting guitars that approach the traditional metal side of things. What I said in my Exodus review (85%) still holds true in this regard from how the “(group) reveals a bit more than meets the eye (from a musical standpoint) in (proving) power metal and a whole lot more”.
“All Over The World”, first of the two covers, aligns with the high-energy nature of the music at hand. The song proves up-tempo and expeditious manifest, albeit not to the point of repetitive in that there is a solid melody basis at hand (chorus is of the engaging variety). Plenty of edgy guitars help keep things fresh with repeat listen. The Yngwie medley cover, “Vengeance/Liar”, flows naturally, more as if one cohesive song as opposed to coming across choppy with two indistinct songs pasted together (as I have encountered from some medley compositions). Of course, a generous neo-classical feel presents itself along with some crazy good guitar work, not to mention the same brisk feel as the remaining Through The Storm material.
Only two tracks with lyrics are available, including “All Over The World” and “My Guide In The Night”, of which the group recorded a lyric video. Former provides a good indicator of the positive Signum Regis prose:
Lord, spread your shelter all over the world
Core of the universe is growing cold
Do not let mankind stray here all alone
Lighten our hearts
Don't let them turn to stone
That's not a dream you wished to live
Keep your faith
You're not the only one, you see
Latter finds the group making a statement of faith:
A lamp to my feet
A light for my way
Is every word you say
The poor ones you see
You care for the lonely
You hear the ones who pray
Our only King
Peace you will bring
Your Word is with me
It stands firm eternally
You are my guide in the night
I want to follow your light
More details as they pertain to lyrics forthcoming upon the release of the hard copy CD version (May 8, 2015 for Europe; May 12, 2015 for North America).
As with all quality EP releases, Through The Storm cannot help but leave me wanting more: Four new songs and two covers is just enough to wet my appetite. At the very least, foreshadowing is provided in terms of some very promising things to come from Signum Regis in the near future. I cannot help but look forward to a full length follow up release in light of not only the quality that is Through The Storm but also how Signum Regis proves underrated in terms of songwriting, musicianship and talented new vocalist Mayo Petranin. The group comes highly recommended as a result for those into all forms of the power metal and melodic metal genres.
Review by Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Living Well” (5:00), “Through The Desert, Through The Storm” (6:44), “My Guide In The Night” (4:43), “Come And Take It” (3:39), “All Over The World” (5:34), “Vengeance-Liar” (4:29)
Mayo Petranin - Lead Vocals
Filip Koluš - Guitars
Ján Tupý - Keyboards
Ronnie König - Bass
Jaro Jančula - Drums