Signum Regis – The Seal of a New World

Signum Regis – The Seal of a New World



In Europe, power metal bands are commonplace. The venerable power metal band Signum Regis (founded and led by bassist Ronnie König) stands out as a classic European melodic power metal band with a unique sound. What makes Signum Regis’ sound unique is because it has variety in their music where some songs are hard, some are soft, some are fast, some are slow, and some have elements of all of the above. Their sixth full-length album The Seal of a New World does not stray from the Signum Regis formula that they have honed well over the last 10+ years.

As with any band, their fans identify the band’s sound with the vocalist. Signum Regis has had several full-time vocalists and guest vocalists over the course time, most recently with Mayo Petranin who sang on their last two previous albums and EPs. However, he and the band have chosen to part ways, which led to guitarist Filip Koluš’ search for a new vocalist. Through an exhaustive search, Filip found the new vocalist Jota Fortinho through a YouTube video of him singing a cover version of Helloween’s infamous song “Halloween.” Fortinho is no stranger to this sort of music as he has previously played in Before Eden, Fortress, and Nine Circles. He is the only current band member not from Slovakia, as he hails from Portugal by way of Brazil. Rounding out the roster are Ján Tupý on keyboards and Jaroslav Jančula on drums.

Even though Signum Regis is technically not a Christian band, they do have the underlying theme of Christianity in a number of their songs. This album is no exception to this and is highly prominent on The City of God and Shalom. They also include more generally positive-themed songs as well as highlighting the importance of having one’s freedom.

The album was mixed by Ronnie König and mastered by the famous Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Amaranthe, Evergrey). Backing vocals on the album were done by David Åkesson. You can also hear two solos from Magnus Karlsson (Primal Fear, Allen/Lande, and Kiske/Somerville) and a guest appearance by Eli Prinsen (The Sacrificed, Sacred Warrior).

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I wonder if Kings of the Underground is a metaphor of the band and the power metal genre as a whole. It seems that most of the bands in this genre (Signum Regis included) that are not mainstream yet are happy to be where they are in the music industry.  The song is a classic definition of European power metal. It is a fast-tempo song that comes out of the gate with thrashing drums, heavy guitar riffs, galloping sounds, and strong harmonious choruses. The instruments play off of each other throughout the song. It showcases Fortinho’s strong vocal capabilities, which are important in power metal.

In this world of “fake news,” what’s right and what’s wrong? There are three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth. In the song Prisoner’s Elegy, the lyrics discuss this very topic. Who can you believe? Who should you believe? It is an overall mid-tempo traditional-sounding power metal song that borders on being a power ballad.  It starts slow but deliberate, then goes into a mid-tempo with strong choruses. It then alternates slow and fast, and showcases powerful vocal capabilities from Fortinho and strong guitar riffs from Koluš in the solo. Overall it is a well-rounded song where all the musicians’ talents shine.

I Always Go All-In is a positive attitude song – going all-in even if the odds are against you. It starts off with a fast traditional power metal sound featuring strong guitar riffs from Koluš and wailing harmonious vocals from Fortinho. Start and stop action is prominent in this song, featuring double bass drums, and point/counterpoint vocals. In the middle of song, it slows way down with airy and light synthesizer and slow solo, then speeds right back again for a fast solo. König should be commended with brilliant songwriting on this piece.

The Christian-themed song The City of God is referring to the New Jerusalem that is described in the Book of Revelation of the New Testament of the Bible. The song refers to this as a way to salvation through God. The song features dueling wailing guitars with an overall traditional metal sound. It alternates between fast and strong and slow and deliberate. It showcases Fortinho’s strong vocal talents and singing range. Strong vocal harmonies again showcase in the song. Near the end of the song there is a key change, followed by a strong, crescendoed ending.

The theme of title track of the album The Seal of a New World is that we only have one planet Earth. There are those who think that we are doomed if we don’t fix things now (climate change, for example). Will we need to escape Earth and go to outer space to find a new home? That’s what the song is asking us to figure out. The song has a strong start, sounding like more traditional power metal bands. It makes you pay attention with fast beating drums and with vocals that are almost harsh or scream-like sprinkled here and there. Then the song slows down to mid-tempo with strong vocal harmonies. The mid-song solo showcases Koluš’ melodic and technical playing ability. The song overall sound of the song is deliberate, yet catchy.

For the song A Memory, just the thought of certain memories evokes emotions from many of us, good or bad. Sometimes we have these memories for life and they can be our own worst enemy. The song is straight forward that builds as it goes. It starts slow with an acoustic steel guitar, then follows in with mid-tempo with heavy synth riffs sprinkled throughout. Then the song then pounds you with a wall of sound with powerful vocal harmonies. The mid-song solo slows down the tempo features more of a Spanish guitar sound, then speeds right back up with flowing strong guitar riffs.

The definition of the seventh song on the album Phantasmagoria is a sequence of real or imaginary images like those seen in a dream.  Overall it is a mid-tempo, straightforward power metal song with strong guitar riffs and thunderous drums throughout.  A couple of times in the song there seems to be an allusion to Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.

Let Freedom Ring is about freedom as something that we all strive for. It’s a mid- to fast-tempo song with classic power metal sounds including double bass drums throughout. It features fast guitar riffs in the mid-song solo. The song has a distinct but subtle patriotic sound to it, adding to Signum Regis’ several anthems in their catalog. Fortinho hits another home run with the wailing vocals on this one!

Never Surrender is about a person about ready to give up hope and reaching out to the Lord for help. It’s a fast-paced song that starts with strong dueling guitars, then a strong bass line with the first verse. Fortinho again goes into a heavy wail with crunchy and heavy guitars backing him up. The song alternates between slow-, fast-, and mid-tempo moments. Koluš’ guitar skills are again showcased in the solo feature. Finally, there is a key change towards end of the song for added interest.

Fly Away is about being able to fly away and free yourself away from your problems and have the freedom to do what is right. It starts strong right out of the gate. It has a throwback feel with an Iron Maiden-style with singing guitars in particular. In the mid-song break it slows way down but shoots right back to the initial tempo. The guitar solo is a moderate speed but deliberate, again paying homage to the Iron Maiden style. Overall, it is a mid- to fast-tempo song with great vocal harmonies and choruses, crunchy guitars, and strong drums.

Shalom (the Hebrew word for peace) is a slow song along the lines of a power ballad. As the song title implies, the lyrics talk about peace and harmony with God during dark times, and recounts some of the last words of Christ before His death, encouraging His disciples for the future by promising the otherworldly peace they will have regardless of what is going on around them. It is the slowest song, as well as being the most poignant and solemn song, on the album. It starts out with Fortinho singing softly with a slow synthesizer sound, then an acoustic guitar coming into the mix. Then the song takes off in a slow- to mid-tempo fashion. It offers the same harmonizing vocals as the other songs, but definitely has a more serious tone than the other songs on the album. It makes you take a step back and look at the solemnness the peacefulness of your life.

Is Scheme of Lies a metaphor about what’s going on in the world? Or is it just about being on the right side of life? The song starts off with a heavy bass riff from König, then dives into heavy guitars in this fast tempo song. Fortinho absolutely belts out the lyrics. It continues to follow the anthem theme of most of the album. As with other songs on the album, it is very reminiscent of heavy metal songs of the 80s (e.g. Iron Maiden and others) especially during the mid-song solo.

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Overall this is a great album. It’s a fresh, clean, insightful, and exciting new spin on classic European power metal. It features a lot of variety, not the same reused musical structures. It’s one of those albums that makes you feel good inside. With superb songwriting and a quality new lead in Fortinho, The Seal of a New World is definitely an enjoyable album to listen again and again.

Follow Signum Regis at their website and on Facebook

 

SIGNUM REGIS – Kings Of The Underground [Official Lyric Video]

 

SIGNUM REGIS – Never Surrender [Music Video]