SIGNUM REGIS – In The Name Of The King
November 22, 2023, 3 months ago
“Look out, could it be the new beginning in our lives?”
The lyric shines on the inspiring track “Salt Of The Earth”, fresh off Signum Regis’ recently released new album Undivided. Although not a “new beginning” in the truest sense, the Bratislava power metallers made a new pact to rejoin Ulterium Records to release their seventh full-length and is remarkably their first using an outside producer, the reputable Jacob Hansen.
The result is a riff heavy power metal opus with incredible chorus work that should not go unnoticed. Bassist and founder Ronnie König spoke to BraveWords about the album, its positive, up-beat lyrics, the current power metal scene, and more.
BraveWords: Speak about Undivided – the band’s first full-length album in 4 years. How was the recording for the album and what inspired the songwriting?
Ronnie: “I think there was nothing really unique about the recording process. We have been doing this for some time and we know how to get the job done. However, having all the experience from the past was the key to avoiding mistakes of the past. We made no compromise. Things like always recording with new strings, new drum heads, making sure the arrangements are good and everything is tight and every take is good, that every song is good and that there are no fillers. I think you can say that we had very strict quality control. Of course, we have always been doing our best (since the debut album, every album), but now we really utilized everything we could. We had this mindset of giving our very best in every way or not doing it at all.”
BraveWords: How important is the band’s faith when composing the music? The positive outlook on Undivided is a breath of fresh air compared to the bleak topics other music has taken on in this post-pandemic world.
Ronnie: “In 99% cases, the music part comes first. I just go for whatever sounds good and interesting to me. I tend to write with a focus on melody. I try to be open minded about what music ideas can be used in the context of Signum Regis, but of course, our sound is already defined and established, so we have to have a selection process. If the music idea is way out of our style, we don’t use it. I think that’s completely natural and reasonable. Once we have the songs and melodies, we start with the lyrics. Faith plays a major role there for me personally, but I am not the only one who writes lyrics.
“Many of our fans know that I wrote a lot of Biblical lyrics, but that’s not a rule at all. I write about whatever I like to, whatever is interesting to me at the moment. I always keep in mind that once you release something to the world you cannot take it back and delete it from every device. It’s important for me to make sure that in a couple of years, I will not regret what I wrote. That’s why I prefer spreading messages of hope, because that’s something I will never regret. I would never write lyrics about suicide for example. I don’t want to get a letter one day or read in the news that my lyrics inspired somebody to commit suicide or to lose faith or to kill somebody or anything like that.”
BraveWords: What drove the decision to use Jacob Hansen to produce the album? What was it like working with him?
Ronnie: “We’ve been around for some time, but we have never worked with a real producer before. We wanted to try something new, we wanted to get this kind of experience and we wanted to hear how it would sound, if we had someone involved during all steps of the recording process. I think that Jacob felt that we didn’t need him to hold our hands and lead us through every little detail. We followed his technical advice. For example he recommended what kind of a vocal chain we should use for the recording of vocals (what mic, preamp, compressor, etc). He worked on the mix on his own, he mixed the first song and sent it to us for approval. He nailed it right-away and then he mixed all songs in that same style/setup. He is a nice person and working with him is always great because you know that the result will be great. And when you have this kind of confidence, you don’t have to worry. You just know it will all turn out great. He is very consistent!”
BraveWords: I love the artwork – it’s visually striking and gives the perfect impression of what to expect. Talk about the inspiration and background of the artwork.
Ronnie: The artwork is based on the song ‘Undivided’. There is this king fighting all sorts of evil enemies. It shows the fight between the forces of good and evil. The good side is represented and united under one king. This king is also the mascot of the band. He is called King Rex. With this album we are re-introducing him, so to say. On the debut album, we had a knight - king, but it was not the whole figure. The band name is Signum Regis which is ‘the signature of the king.’ Now, with this artwork it all comes together on full display. I think it’s correct to say that the message of the album is a message of unification of good people fighting the good fight.”
BraveWords: Any tracks that stand out as favorites?
Ronnie: “My personal favorites at the moment are: ‘Salt Of The Earth’, ‘Servants Of The Fallen’. I like all tracks from the album, but these two stand out the most to me at the moment. If you asked me again in a month, it might be other songs.”
BraveWords: How do you feel about the current power metal genre? Do you find it increasingly difficult to remain unique and different?
Ronnie: “I don’t follow the ‘power metal’ scene too much. I know there are trends going on. Like for example the parody gimmick. I know that having fun and not taking yourself too seriously has always been a part of the genre, but I don’t like when there’s nothing left but parody. Then it’s too much for me. I don’t like the idea of playing in masks and hiding the identity of band members. The band Ghost comes to mind. I know that they don’t do power metal, but there are such bands who do the same thing in the power metal genre too. I understand the storytelling dimension of it, the theatrics, but I still prefer when I know who’s playing, I like charisma of real personalities. I still like the ‘rock ‘n’ roll band’ formula.
“In order to stand out in the genre, I try to avoid taking inspiration from the next guy in this very same genre. I think you need to take inspiration from somewhere else. Are we unique, are we original? It depends who you ask. Some reviewers said that we are always recognizable and that we bring original elements to the table, other say that we keep doing what was done before. I think people should simply check out our new Undivided album and think for themselves and form their own opinions.”
BraveWords: Future plans? Shows? Any possible reissues of your earlier material?
Ronnie: “The next show will be in March 2024 at the Elements Of Rock festival in Switzerland. We will, of course, try to play much more than that. There will be a re-issue of our second album The Eyes Of Power (remix, remaster) and a physical release of the new Chapter IV: The Reckoning album, but I don’t know the timeline yet.”