Signum Regis_Chapter IV the ReckoningThe greatest complaint my non-metal friends have about my choice of music is not the volume or heaviness, but the lyrical content and “metal’s message.” Anti-societal, nonconforming, angry, and satanic are qualities that, apparently, are unappealing. As with many non-metal listeners, however, every metalhead and every metal genre fall under this blanket. Oh, and every band is a “death metal” band. Hence, many dislike metal and some even fear it. Being the black metal fan I am, I’ve scared many a girlfriend with my devil-worshiping, goat-sacrificing practices; which – according to these people – are not the result of the music but because that’s who I am and why I listen to metal music. All people have opinions and metal fans are no different. Many  were recently offended because of the semi-regular appearance of the Christian deity in this year’s releases. As you can probably surmise, Signum Regis is here to continue this God-fearing trend. This time it’s not classic Stryper-fare or the born-again mastery from the dude that wrote “Animal (Fuck Like a Beast).” Instead, we have power metal. I know, everyone’s offended now.

Diving into Signum Regis‘ back-catalog, I discovered a couple decent releases in the form of their sophomore The Eyes of Power and 2013’s Exodus; the latter naturally being a concept album about Moses’ liberation of the Children of Israel. Exodus was quite the undertaking that incorporated guest vocals throughout (including some from Thomas Winkler – whose band I become greatly offended by at the very mention of their name) and a big dose of everything that makes power metal over-the-top and downright cheesy. Signum Regis has some technical prowess in their songwriting that results in some Dragonforce wizardry (without wanking the fuck out of it) and the crunchy, razor-sharp chugging as only Metalium could do. But in the end, Signum Regis isn’t particularly original in their approach. Exodus isn’t a must-have for power-metal fanatics but the band’s newest release (Chapter IV: The Reckoning) has a lot to live up to.

For this release, these Slovakian’s employed Mayo Petranin, one of the Exodus guest contributors, to handle all the vocals. Petranin has a good set of pipes but only truly shines on a handful of tunes. His other performances are respectable but his approach is quite typical, making the simplistic songwriting more obvious. In particular, Petranin’s Hansi-like vocals on the Blind Guardian-esque “The Kingdom of Heaven” and the beauty he achieves on piano-led “Bells Are Tolling” are magically delicious. Throw in catchy-chorus numbers like “The Voice in the Wilderness,” “Quitters Never Win,” and “Tempter of Evil,” and you have yourself some Sunday morning devotion.

Signum_Regis_2015

But, for all the great moments in the aforementioned tracks, the songs are pretty standard power metal. The best parts are the choruses, while the guitar solos effectively cap off the cheesy slopes with an air of fantastical technicality. The band has also apparently chosen to swap their earlier days of progressive prowess and instrumental highlights (particularly the bass) for classic power metal numbers like the Dragonforce-noodling of “The Prophet of Doom” and Iced Earth-inspired chorus of “The Magi.” The soloing is impressive, the synths are meaty, and the choruses are massive, but these tracks aren’t overly unique or memorable. On top of that, you get odd ditties like “The Secret of the Sea,” with its Pantera-inspired squealing harmonics and keyboard atmospheres that remind me of a James Bond movie score.

In the end, Chapter IV: The Reckoning is just a notch below Exodus in quality and execution, and on par with its recent precursor, 2015’s Through the Storm EP. This release is neither exceptional or offensive, and for all the power-metal enthusiasts out there, you will get a real kick out of about three-quarters of it. The rest of you may only find half of it enjoyable. Christian metal or not, this is pretty decent. Chapter IV: The Reckoning is yet another offering of God Metal in this, the year of the Wood Sheep; the most offensive animal on the planet.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Ulterium Records
Websites: www.signum-regis.com | facebook.com/SignumRegis
Releases Worldwide: November 20th, 2015

 

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  • Wow, this guy’s voice does nothing for me.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Exactly. He has some great moments but, overall, he’s pretty mediocre.

      • Thatguy

        Embarrassingly bad vocals. I turned the embedded song off before the chorus. The song has everything I dislike about power metal including nerdish lyrical content.

  • brutal_sushi

    I stopped head banging when his voice came in. Way too weak for power metal. It’s a shame because the music is cheese-tastic.

  • Soge

    I’d exchange all the Christian Metal albums this year for a single EP from “Theocracy”.

  • RuySan

    Is this supposed to be pro-Christian?

    Because it seems the hooded figure in the cover is ordering the masses to go burn some witches. Or maybe this band is so hardcore that they’re pro-inquisition.

    • I’m pro -Inquisition, especially after that last album!

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Sheesh, “Quitters Never Win”… Enjoy ov deep obviousness..
    I think there was a lot more scope to be really mean here.
    Perhaps a good doctor / bad doctor double review with Dr Fisting

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Ha!! Dr. Fisting would be pissed if he had to review this… But that would be quite entertaining.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        I suspect monitors would melt and that the AMG server would spontaneously combust …

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          It already has the occasional spark and smokes most of the time.

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            Gloryhammer backgrounds can have that effect

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Just the mention of Gloryhammer has the effect.

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            The sparks could also be from Steel Druhm’s unicorn collection

          • Don’t you ever speak of the Univault.

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            Get some umlauts on that univault!

          • Too risky.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            That isn’t helping. That fucking collection is the perfect kindling lying in wait by the server – just waiting to burn this place to the ground.

  • Guillotine of Papal Crowns

    At first I thought I was listening to a side project of the singer of Avalanch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVvZE33t0Lk

    • Kalsten

      So…Warcry? :P

      • Guillotine of Papal Crowns

        Fuck, I totally forgot about them. Nobody expects the Spanish Cheesequisition!

        • Kalsten

          As a matter of fact, I like more Warcry than Avalanch, although Llanto de un héroe is a good album, but when considering the whole discography of Warcry vs Avalanch, I choose Warcry everyday.

          • Guillotine of Papal Crowns

            Warcry, Tierra Santa and Avalanch are bands that belong to an extremely NEEEERD era of mine… We played Heroes of Might & Magic III on a weekly basis in the “hot seat” mode and replace the OST with power-metal… My god, the memories :___)
            I’m going to give Warcry a spin in the near future only just for that.

          • Kalsten

            Oh, Tierra Santa was da’best in my teens. I learnt La canción del pirata because of them, much better than at school :P Also, Saratoga was a band I got really into, and old-time Mago de Oz has also very good albums until Finisterra (btw, they just re-recorded Finisterra, and against all odds, I am enjoying it a lot).

  • FutureBeyondSatan

    Satan laughs, damnation has sunk its talons deep into the womb of utopia spilling forth great streams of virginal purity and bliss….
    I feel better now. Had to listen to a little Venom to erase this bible thumping “metal” from my thinker.

  • I liked this one quite a bit… it wasn’t great, but it was catchy. :) I guess I have low expectations. :)

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      It IS catchy. I like a lot of stuff much better but these guys have some decent choruses.

      • That’s the hook for me. Back in the dusty old days of my early music purchases, I remember great choruses and hooks (Ratt’s 2nd album had tons of them) made the songs.

        Of course I don’t simply live on catchy hooks and choruses, but it’s never far away on my playlist. :)