THE SIGN – Signs Of Life / The Second Coming [2-CD Deluxe Digipak Boxset remastered] (2018) *EXCLUSIVE*
One of the most awesome Melodic Rock super-groups from this new Millennium was without a doubt THE SIGN, including keyboarder Mark Mangold (Touch, Drive She Said), guitarist Randy Jackson (Zebra), terrific singer Terry Brock (Strangeways, LeRoux), bassist Billy Greer (Streets, Kansas) and drummer Bobby Rondinelli (Rainbow et all).
Last year it was announced the re-release of both The Sign albums; ‘Signs Of Life’ and ‘The Second Coming’ as a Double CD Deluxe Digipack Boxset. ‘Sign Of Life’ with the original mixes by Mark Mangold and Randy Jackson, and fully mastered by Jacob Hansen, and “The Second Coming” with one bonus track, fully re-mastered by Mats “Limpan” Lindfors.
A Limited Edition of 1000 copies only,
In exclusive at 0dayrox
CD1 “Signs Of Life” is perhaps the last true Pomp AOR album ever made. Originally appeared in 2000, an era still plagued by depressive sounds, this was some kind of a breath of fresh air.
Heavenly keyboards / synths, superb guitars from Zebra’s Randy Jackson, a bouncy rhythm section, and the terrific lead vocals of Brock complemented by Greer / Jackson harmonies are the motto here.
Built around the concept about a young girl brought back from the coma, musically equally mixes parts of pure Pomp AOR and melodic rock with the progressive melodies of Kansas, the hard rock of Zebra and the swirling keyboards of Drive She Said all to the unmistakable vocals of Terry Brock, who sounds here like a mix of Kansas’ Steve Walsh and Journey’s Steve Perry.
Randy Jackson handles vocals on ‘I’m Alive’, the seriously intense opening cut. It’s awesome and captures the best melodic moments of bands like Kansas with an added commercial touch. There are several layers in its several parts, so it does take some listening before the melodies reveal themselves and one can truly appreciate the great production and structure of the song.
‘Crossed The Line’ is next up and sensibly is a more straight forward uptempo melodic rocker. The great Terry Brock simply shines, and while it is less complicated, it no less intense a rock song. The chorus is highly memorable with lots of guitars, swirling keyboards, time changes and some outstanding backing vocals.
After the pretty frantic opening two numbers, ‘Aryon’ slows things down a little with Terry occasionally sharing lead with Randy and moving uptempo for a rousing and terrific chorus.
‘Forever Again’ is nothing short of a killer power ballad ‘The Wait’ is a real highlight, a class song straight up with its moods changing from a desperate passionate plea to a fast paced bridge into the chorus, which quite honestly ignites this track. The catchiest chorus of the whole album is a real AOR gem and continues right through the song. What monster vocal work from Brock, and what a performance from the guys – Awesome.
More quality continues with the wonderful straight forward melodic rocker ‘Nothing But A Heartache’, the exquisite midtempo of ‘Wine’ and the rich harmony vocal heaven of ‘Desperate Heart’ and its great chorus.
Title track ‘Signs Of Life’ features sensational Terry Brock’s lead vocals, some great backing vocals and changes moods as it goes. The chorus is more wrapped in the passage of the song and is used as the emotional peak of the track.
Then ‘Love Is Alive’ is another catchy and commercial AOR tune with a contagious main melody and an overall feel-good vibe.
CD 2 “The Second Coming” picks up where The Sign’s debut left off, but it’s different in several important ways. The main drive behind the album is the continuing story line involving Aryon, the girl, introduced on the first disc, then musically is by far more complex and requires a degree of concentration to absorb, but it’s truly fascinating.
The line-up has changed a little, with Billy Greer & Bobby Rondinelli gone and Mark Mangold installed as drummer, adding to his already large work load as composer and keyboard player.
Terry Brock is certainly featured in all his glory, and he too gets a credit for guitar parts. The biggest influence on the record is the Mark Mangold / Terry Brock partnership. If the first The Sign album was epic, this is even more bombastic, pompy, challenging.
‘Aryon Overture’ is an intriguing plenty of synths soon followed by the rocker ‘Stained (Gone)’, pretty close to the sound of the debut with Brock in great melodic form.
‘The Morning After (Time To Run)’ is a moody track which rolls along smoothly backed by organ accompaniment, while ‘Motorcycle Messiah’ is a darker and heavier track with busy instrumentation that mirrors the pace of the mid-section of the track prior.
Now am I blown away by the highly melodic ‘Shine’, a highlight, full of hooks and delicious melodies. ‘Bliss’ is a haunting little instrumental interlude which runs directly into one of the album’s best tracks ‘If For One Moment’. This song should prove popular with all, given that it features an emotional vocal. The great ‘Flame Of The Oracle’ is another high point in the album, uptempo, pompous and melodic.
‘The Ooze’ is a 2 minute track featuring a tough and urgent vocal and a tempo to match. This leads directly into the softening instrumental ‘Inner Child (Exorcise)’. ‘Black Mountain’ is rocker and one of the heaviest tracks here, featuring Randy Jackson on lead vocal providing variation.
‘Keep On Breathin’ is a little gem, a big, powerful ballad in the style of the debut, ‘Shine (Finale)’ is a return to the earlier track with added musical parts from elsewhere within the album resulting into an interesting mix ranging from AOR to hard.
Both The Sign albums are fantastic pieces of work. A roller coaster of emotions and marvelous sounds, catchy & elaborated at the same time. It’s bold and it’s fresh, but it’s not your average record. It owns the unique magic of classic Pomp AOR, but as well the accessibility of melodic choruses.
The Sign pushes some boundaries here, but at the same time provides some classy melodies plus incredible performances & musicianship.
only at 0dayrox
CD 1: Signs Of Life [remastered]
01 – I’m Alive
02 – Crossed The Line
03 – Aryon
04 – Forever Again
05 – Stranded
06 – All Your Life
07 – The Wait
08 – I Will Be There For You
09 – Nothing But A Heartache
10 – Wine
11 – Desperate Heart
12 – Signs Of Life
13 – Love Is Alive
14 – Aryon [Radio Edit] (Bonus Track)
CD 2: The Second Coming [remastered]
01 – Aryon Overture
02 – Stained (Gone)
03 – The Morning After (Time To Run)
04 – Motorcycle Messiah
05 – Shine
06 – Bliss
07 – If For One Moment
08 – Canyon (We Are One Tribe)
09 – Flame Of The Oracle
10 – The Ooze
11 – Inner Child (Exorcise)
12 – Black Mountain
13 – Keep On Breathin’
14 – Shine (Finale)
15 – Trans Americana Symphony
16 – Rapture (Ode To Aryon)
17 – Maniac [Bonus Track]
Terry Brock: lead vocals, guitar
Randy Jackson: guitar, mandolin, lead vocals
Mark Mangold: keyboards, vocals, drums
Jon Bivona: bass, guitar
Billy Greer: bass, harmony vocals
Bobby Rondinelli: drums, percussion
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