Basically, there are two ways to release a live album. The first option is to record and then start perfecting the sound quality; re-record some out of tune guitar parts, redo some vocals, make sure the drums keep the same tempo all through the song. Some live albums even have the complete vocal parts redone, just to present you the perfect image of the band involved. The other way is the way this album, A Song For The Homeless - Live In Rüsselsheim 2019 came to life. That special night in Rüsselsheim, everything felt right, the technology worked perfectly, the audience was enthusiastic and the band itself was in great shape. Luckily someone pressed “Record” at the right time and the result is an album that represents the songs played as authentically as possible, without any tricks to cover-up any mistake.
With a settling line-up, including both initiators vocalist Arno Menses and guitar player Markus Steffen, Ralf Schwager on bass, Markus Maichel on keyboards and drummer Dirk Brand, Subsignal brings you a nice variety of composition. Even though the recordings are from the tour that supported their previous release La Muerta (2018, see review), the band presents a set list that covers all their albums, starting with a memorable version of the title track of their 2011 album Touchstones. A pronounced guitar sound and Arno's great voice make this the perfect opener for the album. But also on the Journey inspired track of the last album The Bells Of Lyonesse proves how solid and inspired the band is. Listening to the tracks that were on the band's debut album Beautiful & Monstrous (2009), both The Sea as well as Walking With Ghosts, you can hear how the band has continued to write wonderful tracks, combining progressive rock, adding elements of metal, AOR and pop, creating their own defined sound. A track like The Passage shows how Subsignal combines those elements to a perfect song. A little point of criticism comes when Dirk Brand gets his three minutes of fame on this album. In my opinion a drum solo is out dated and doesn't add anything to a modern show, unless you are someone like Neil Peart. Luckily the band returns stronger than before with the catchy La Muerta and Touchstones smoother song My Sanctuary. Time And Again marks the intro for one of my favourites, Paraiso's title track, again the heavy guitars and amazing voice deliver and define the band's sound. Subsignal closes their set with the obligated track Paradigm, the song the band always plays during their concerts.
A Song For The Homeless - Live In Rüsselsheim 2019 is an honest recording, perfectly highlighting some of Subsignal's finest songs. When you listen with your eyes closed, you almost feel yourself present at that memorable evening in Germany.
I really hope we will be able to go to shows again and are able to see our beloved bands play live. If you are a fan, and/or want to support Subsignal, buy the album. Bands like this really need all the support they can get.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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