SIGNUM REGIS - Fit For A King
January 5, 2016, 2 years ago
Slovakian power metal band, Signum Regis, has been doing its thing since 2007, which is, creating effective European power metal with a neoclassical flair. On its fourth full-length release, Chapter IV: The Reckoning, the band shows its skill for song craft, which is evident on its 10 vibrant tracks. Signum Regis, which translates to ‘Signature of the King’ from Latin, has been gaining a significant amount of steam within the genre, and the band is coming off a successful third album, 2013’s Exodus. Bassist Ronnie König spoke to BraveWords writer Kelley Simms about the origins of the band, its latest album and what the future holds for the band.
BraveWords: You formed the band in 2007, did it initially start as a project or a full-time band?
Ronnie König: “It was more like a project. I think we always somehow thought it could be a real band one day, but in the beginning it was not. Especially because the singer (Göran Edman) lives in Sweden far away from us and it wasn’t possible to make it happen with the traveling and so on. Also Göran’s not so much into metal, he used to be the singer with Yngwie Malmsteen, but I think in his heart he prefers rock, jazz and funk, not the kind of metal that we do. It could work on a studio level but not as a live band, so we decided to move on with a mutual agreement and no bad blood between us.”
BraveWords: How did new vocalist Mayo Petranin come into the picture?
Ronnie König: “He was invited by our guitarist to do one song as a guest on the Exodus album, which featured ten or 11 singers. So he was one of those and he was the only one who was actually in the studio. All the others recorded in their own studios in South America, North America, Sweden, etc. He was the only one who actually met with us and that led to the proposal to stay with us as a live vocalist. And the next step was to invite him to become a real band member, and that’s how our new lineup happened.”
BraveWords: How did the creative process go while writing Exodus?
Ronnie König: “I never thought I would do a concept album about Exodus, but I wrote three songs; ‘Let Us Go!’, ‘Exodus’ and ‘Wrath Of Pharaoh’. So Ulterium Records suggested to do a whole album about Exodus, since we already had three songs. That’s when it really started. I really had to study the Bible, because I wanted to do it accurately and not invent or change anything, to keep it as close to the Bible as possible. The biggest challenge was to keep the sequencing and song order with the lyrics that went along with the song order.”
BraveWords: If there is one track on Chapter IV: The Reckoning that personified what Signum Regis is all about, which one would it be?
Ronnie König: “I would probably say, ‘The Magi’. I like that song very much. Maybe it’s not what (our sound) is all about, but that’s my gut feeling. The reason I like the song is because there are many riffs, so it’s not just chord-to-chord progressions, and there are good melodies and some great solos. There are also some Classical parts from Johann Sebastian Bach, a little part.”
BraveWords: Guitarist Filip Kolus is proficient with his solos. How did he come to join the band?
Ronnie König: “I think I met him when he was 16-17 years old when he had his own band and recorded in my home studio. When the situation came up when we needed a guitarist, he’s the one that came to mind. I really admire his working attitude because he’s the hardest working guitarist I know. He can practice 10 hours a day even after all these years he’s been playing. He started playing when he was six years old on classical guitar, then he switched to electric guitar. I had the chance to see him grow as a guitarist because he’s not the same guitarist as he was eight years ago. He still has this attitude of trying to get better and learn new licks.”
BraveWords: What is the Slovakian metal scene like?
Ronnie König: “For some time, we were the only Euro power metal band here. But now the whole scene is getting better in many directions. You have more concerts from famous bands coming to play in Slovakia like Iron Maiden, Metallica, you name it. And if not here, you can go to Vienna, which is really close to Slovakia. The Slovakian bands… I think there are more death metal and black metal, but all different styles. Now you can also see some prog metal bands and other metal like our colleagues from Ulterium Records, Within Silence. I cannot tell you if there is one professional band from here that plays every major festival or makes a living out of playing power metal. But it’s getting better.”
BraveWords: How did you come up with the band name?
Ronnie König: “There’s a couple of stories about the band name. It was invented by my brother, who is an archaeologist and he knows Latin. So the meaning of Signum Regis translated from Latin is, ‘Signature of the King.’ And my last name is König, which is German for king. So it was an interesting combination. There are some bands that have names that can be easily ridiculed, and we haven’t seen that with our name yet. Everyone seems to like it, and we are really happy with the name, too.”
BraveWords: The artwork was created by Jan Yrlund (Delain, Apocalyptica, Korpiklaani). What’s the concept behind it and did you have to give him much direction?
Ronnie König: “We weren’t sure of the album title until the last minute. But the concept of what should be painted was quite clear from the get-go. The idea was to put a figure, some kind of a prophet, pointing his finger toward some danger and to have a dark evil cloud like in the movie The Mummy. And the other idea was to have a crowd of people who don’t really care about the impending danger, but blame the messenger. And they are trying to lynch him.”
BraveWords: What’s next for the band?
Ronnie König: “The next step will be a vinyl release of the album. In March we have three shows booked already, two in the Netherlands and one in Germany. There will be a new album, the songs are more or less ready. In the summer, we might book some festivals. We are already thinking about how to do something better. We know we will never be as big as Metallica, but we still see that we could grow as a band and that’s what we’re trying to do.”