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Slightly ungainly dancer - 77%

gasmask_colostomy, April 12th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2017, Digital, More Hate Productions (Bandcamp, Remastered)

Let's be clear: for a band without much recorded music, Signist have some pretty good ideas. This lonely demo/EP/brief album (it could go any of three ways) has been revived a couple of times since the original release in 2006 and I'm sitting here with the More Hate version put out in 2017 on Bandcamp. Though apparently a remastered version, this latest edition of Of Worlds, Endtimely Enshadowed maintains a rough edge that partially helps the Russian/Kazakh duo to stand out from the familiar melodeath realm in which parts of the songs are embedded.

The first feature that really caught my attention (actually, I lie - it was the second, but I can't talk about the first one yet) was the guitar that sounds like a fucking drill that kicks off 'Stillborn Mind Reflection' after a relatively relaxing song-length introductory instrumental. Yeah, that rhythm tone will really bore into your skull, so whatever you think of my other comparisons for this effort, bear in mind that my first one was Immolation kicking the shit out of Deicide. Most of the album (I've decided, there's enough here for an album) is much more hooky and balanced, though those few bursts of heaviness keep me on my toes. The gruff tone of that drilling guitar is countered by a lighter, fluid lead tone that decorates as you would expect from Swedish melodeath. In this regard, the points of reference that come up are more obvious, occasionally dancing with lightness like early In Flames, glowering more darkly like Nightrage, or hitting suitable mid-points with the riffing as it bounces and lurchingly chugs through songs with few repeating parts.

The pay-off that Signist get from allowing catchy individual elements into the overall makeup of the album takes the form of those linear song structures. Very rarely do the band return to any given section (barely a chorus except on the closer), yet the hooky riffs will sink in by the second or third listen and leave familiar signposts, meaning the songs build up enjoyment fairly quickly without really being very accessible. Certain riffs do loiter rather longer than needed, such as some of the stuttering grooves in the overlong 'Bells of Oncoming Winter', though a memorable feature of that longest cut is how the most distasteful riff returns in altered - and indeed improved - form towards the end. However, the pitiable riff in question is accompanied by the only instance of clean vocals on the album, which Signist should probably have left out altogether. Still, at least all my disliked parts are concentrated together instead of being annoyingly spread out.

Due to there only being seven songs, each one remaining distinct is a key factor in the success of the release. Other than the varying guitar styles of fast melodic playing, steadier riffs, and occasional brutality, acoustic guitars also prove useful in allowing songs to breathe and regroup for a different approach. Those used in 'Premonition of the Endless Night' aid the band in attempting a four and a half minute instrumental opener, thinly setting out atmosphere alongside technical attractions, while 'Pessimistic Panorama' uses additional keyboards as well as acoustics to highlight a subtler touch. The closing Katatonia cover (and captor of my first attentions) takes an interesting direction with 'My Punishment', transforming an originally sparse and desperate song into a warmer and simpler piece than found elsewhere on Of Worlds, Endtimely Enshrined. The album is, in a way, a bit like its title: slightly ungainly and unusually complicated, but curious and, finally, quite satisfying.

Fresh and unpredictable - 81%

KTMboyz, March 16th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2017, Digital, More Hate Productions (Bandcamp, Remastered)

Thanks to the release of the new In Flames record, I've basically given up on melodic death metal as a whole. I don't wanna delve into this too much but it should come as no surprise that most of today's melodic death metal is pretty stale. Now, this can't be said for all bands as there truly are some diamonds in the rough out there. (The Black Dahlia Murder and Amon Amarth, for example, are fantastic!) Signist is one of those bands. While it was released over ten years ago, their only demo, Of Worlds Endtimely Enshadowed, proves that Signist is a force to be reckoned with. The remaster could not have come at a better time.

Considering it's a demo, Of Worlds Endtimely Enshadowed sounds alright. Even though I've never heard the original, I can safely say that it sounds surprisingly good for a demo. With that out of the way, I'd like to talk about the music itself and the many different styles that can be found throughout. It truly is an amalgam of different metal subgenres and acts as a sort of homage to all the European metal bands from the 90s. Some songs contain groove metal elements, while others contain progressive metal elements and clean backing vocals. There were occasional synth passages and some great chords throughout. What I'm saying is that all these styles add a unique atmosphere and vibe to the demo. With all this variety, you can't help but be bombarded with different emotions. This is all great as it kept me engaged from start to finish. My problem with bands like this is that with all the different styles and sounds, they don't exactly have their own. I can't pick a song from the demo and say: "Of Worlds Endtimely Enshadowed sounds like this!" I understand that this is a demo and the band is most likely trying out different styles to show what they can do. It's just that I'd love to hear Signist truly find themselves.

The vocals aren't exactly my cup of tea as there isn't a whole lot of variety. The vocals soar above everything else and I would have liked something other than repetitive growling. Though, it is still very listenable. When the only real weak point is because of personal preference, that's saying a lot...

Of Worlds Endtimely Enshadowed was a blast to listen to. This band is pretty underrated. There are so many sounds and vibes flying around here that there is a song for everyone! I mentioned before that most new melodic death metal albums are stale and predictable. Of Worlds Endtimely Enshadowed is the complete opposite; it's fresh and unpredictable. I'm not kissing ass here, I'm serious. Though I don't really think the band has found their own style yet, I would still love to hear more from Signist. Unlike most mainstream bands, they understand the genre and this demo proves that in every way possible.

Such Promise - 87%

Five_Nails, January 6th, 2019

Signist is your standard melodic death metal fare offering some memorable and meritorious moments crammed within a familiar, easily approached, Swedish death metal style that has a flair for the technical in some showy segments. Staggering Gothenburg scales opening “Premonition of the Endless Night” make a heart swell with pride before the surge of drumming causes guitars to tear and notes to pour in an implacable deluge of immense intense inspiration. Testily buffeted by technicality, like the chained ouroboros in a seemingly reimagined fate of Jörmungandr adorning the re-released versions, Signist reigns in every advanced offshoot while still allowing these leaps of ecstasy to reach the edge of each song's gravity. The heart-melting acoustic interlude near the end of “Premonition of the Endless Night” wants of wandering forests and peace while simultaneously lamenting the further destruction to come as it evaporates lakes and fuels the machinery of battle, reconstituted to becomes its own harmonious harbinger of havoc. This melodic death metal approach with just the right amount of tasteful progression shows Signist as a band that is able to smoothly enjoy its transitions while also captivating an audience without going overboard and losing focus on the goal of a good old fashioned metal beating.

Surprisingly styled as a demo, these seven songs show Signist's songwriting strengths in variety and ambition meeting raw emotion and aptitude through a riff-heavy format that hinges on its accessible moments without compromising the power propelling its pendulum back and forth. A keen knowledge of arranging melodies to flow through each set of heavy chords permeates this demo through this heady mix of high hollow guitars with a pummeling drumming compliment. Signist creates a methodical maelstrom able to hint at the raucous Amon Amarth swing in the beginning of “XXI Century Presuicidal Reverie” or smoothly combines acoustic and electric guitars in “Stillborn Mind Reflection” and “Pessimistic Panorama” with impressive impact after a kaleidoscopic labyrinth of movement. Bringing reminiscences of Enslaved's “The Dead Stare”, a helicopter of echoing comes out like piss flowing through a drain pipe while being hammered with a tuning fork in the distorted “Tolls of Oncoming Winter”. Unlike many a band overthinking its approach and surrounding that single juicy moment with miles of minutiae, Signist encouragingly enjoys and employs its every motion to great contorted result. A good flow that hints at the more behind every direction shows that Signist is unwilling to ensconce itself in a singular vision of a song but is willing to let fly playing with the space it has.

“Pessimistic Panorama” is a major standout with its glorious rising scale reminiscent of many a lilting melodeath harmony that has become an underground staple paying aggressive homage to NWOBHM. Showing off just enough melody and just enough progression to make a mark without going too far into either and lose focus on its tight delivery, this downtrodden vision brings an almost flamenco rhythm, needing castanets and flowing dresses to accentuate its provocative undulation, while showering the soundscape in tears of a melancholic treble that grievously grabs at the fury behind its eyes and takes it forth to ascendance. Like accomplishing an oath “to bathe in the blood of man” after the betrayal in “She Painted Fire Across the Skyline”, there is growth and movement throughout this song that shows a willingness to understand as Signist writes and it makes the journey that much more fulfilling. All around tastefully executed and showing its strengths in abundance, the clarity of “Pessimistic Panorama” is as minutely detailed as its canvass is slashed by swaths of impressionistic shredding ensuring that balance in aggression and artistry stands in firm compliment to the scene and scope it promises.

Some inconsistencies in production end up calling forth some of the most memorable moments in this demo. Where many a band would flatten its sound in order to present a more accessible album, Signist allows these different tones to denote the major changes between each song and, in this case, does well to let these production limitations contribute to a more engaging atmosphere, an art that is losing ground in this all-too-clean digital age. The wonky and smoothly janky (swonky?) ebb and flow as clean vocals come through “Tolls of Oncoming Winter” allows waves of riffing to rise and come crashing down on the rhythm in beautifully rote succession. However, the cringe comes forth too easily as well. In the background of the chorus in “Dark Colours Breeder” is clean singing that would be easily repaired with studio backing but, in this song, is the off key attempt at sounding like a larger group and it painfully fails to connect. Though the cleans of “Tolls of Oncoming Winter” sound like sexy seaborne sirens compared to these cringey cries, Signist shows a genuine spirit in this moment that exemplifies something I've come to understand over the years. Sometimes an ambitious band needs to revel in at least one moment of pure concentrated cringe early on just to show the good faith footing of experimentation necessary to maintain a motivated counterbalance against flat formulaic stagnation.

A release that in many another circle would be considered a first full-length for all of its content, creativity, and talent, 'Of Worlds Endtimely Enshadowed' is a demo worthy of admiration. If only Signist had come out with a second release. Having disappeared since this 2006 demo, its members Ixaxaar and Axalcathu showing only a couple of minor musical credits on the Encyclopaedia Metallum since this release, there is no relief from this long dearth of a promising proper debut and that has let the world pass this band by, much like would happen with Brutal Agitation three years later with its fantastic and professional first EP that never materialized into more. Like driving down a highway after a nasty ice storm, Signist is one of many remnants of wrecks lining the road as a world intent on progress passes it by. Such is the frailty of the casual musician and the fickleness of such a cutthroat industry.

Too busy - 80%

PorcupineOfDoom, March 29th, 2017

Seeing that a band only has one release from 2006 doesn't usually fill me with confidence, especially if it's just a demo. Signist are therefore a pleasant surprise, as their recently remastered demo Of Worlds Endtimely Enshadowed is actually pretty kick-ass. There are still a few rough edges, but Signist have started strongly and hopefully now that they're active again we'll be getting more stuff like this pretty soon.

There's a large element of prog in this music, and as such it's quite complex. There are passages of groovy chugging, brief interludes where acoustic guitars take the limelight, more technical and melodic lines throughout various points and a hundred variations of those things. Each part is done brilliantly: the groove influences are generally saved for the rhythm section, which thunders magnificently in the background with a nice bite to it; the melodies show a lot of technical aptitude, but they never turn into mindless noodling and the emotional side always has the most weight; and the acoustics are inserted at just the right moment, eased in fantastically and executed to perfection. Sometimes it takes a little bit to wind up, but once it gets going it's a very impressive listen.

In fact, one of the only real weaknesses displayed on OWEE is the occasional difficulty in getting to the point. Sure, the drums are at times a little simplistic in comparison to the guitars and in general the mixing could be better, but as a general rule everything seems to come together rather well. It's just that the songwriting isn't quite concise enough to grab my attention right from the off and keep it until the end. A large portion of each track seems to be wandering thoughts, not entirely disconnected from the rest of the track but random enough that I'm left a little lost. Take 'XXI Century Presuicidal Reverie'. Besides the song titles needing some more thought, there are almost two songs contained within one another here. The first set of riffs is fairly generic but nonetheless enjoyable enough, and yet around the 1:50 mark they disappear completely for a bizarre change of tempo lasting all of ten seconds before a rapid-fire solo kicks in. After this we're given another sequence of riffs similar to the first before it switches to set two again without warning, just as I'm starting to settle into the song. There's a bit more back and forth before too, just in case you thought it would even out afterwards. I feel as though there's enough content on this demo to write a full-length rather easily, yet they cram it all into a thirty minute demo.

So while this is indeed one of the better demos that I've heard, it still suffers from a lack of direction. If Signist can contain their ideas a little better they have a lot of potential, assuming that there's a new release on the way some twelve years after this one first debuted. They certainly have the talent, it's just a question of whether they can put it to good use or not.

A Remastered EP Worth Revisiting - 80%

orionmetalhead, November 16th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2016, Digital, Narcoleptica Productions (Remastered)

With a shift towards regression swelling in the ocean of releases and bands, Signist are swimming against the stream by re-releasing and remastering their 2006 demo. It's easy to support the claim that the tendency in metal is to not push beyond the defined genre-prison with so many bands aiming for traditional sounds. And yet the Russian duo and their 2006 demo, Of Worlds, Endtimely Enshadowed, while a release that contextually is easy to place at that original time-period, is not so easily dissected as being purely defined by the discernible melodic death metal influences on the release. It is to be viewed outside the currents trends and the decision to re-release is, if anything, counter intuitive to the current metal climate.

There is a very specific guitar tonality on this recording which identifies it as a Russian release; a certain hollowness amidst the otherwise generic timbre that I have heard before from a host of Russian artists both contemporary with the timing of this release (Hell's Thrash Horsemen) as well as quite earlier in time (Aspid) whom all share this uniquely Russian tone. It's also appeared elsewhere in the east such as on Aum's 2012 Of Pestilence. It's a different feel, revealing Signist as going against the tide at this point in time, perhaps slowly drifting in the same waters, but observing a more careful route than that carried by the debris. Guitarist Ixaxaar handles most of the instrumentation and is impressive across the release while partner Axalcathu on drums complements capably. Both handle vocals throughout and exit with strong credentials.

Guitar tones aside, the contributing factors to the material would be several notable Swedish bands. Opeth's progressiveness is apparent early on in opening track "Premonition of the Endless Night" as the song dissolves into an acoustic interlude for it's majority. I hear a mix of Amon Amarth and Dark Tranquility in "Stillborn Mind Reflection." What is not prevalent are American Melodic Death influences and metalcore influences which factored into the "great blandening" of those years. There are lots of flourishes of experimentalism and progressive ideas incorporated into the tracks. "XXI Century Presuicidal Reverie" is a strong showing of this experimental penchant and passes attention to progressive masters thirty five years prior in title.

Perhaps the best combination of the influences on the album manifests itself in album highlight "Bells of Oncoming Winter." A twisting and extended riff opens the track and grips the listener in the culmination of the phrasing before layering additional effected clean guitars as an accompaniment cuing the verse. Later in the song, after a syncopated section of lead guitar work, clean vocals cue in the harsh vocals in a similar manner. Simple and smooth transitions of melody hold the ideas together. This is also true in "Dark Coulors Breeder," a big track with a demure interlude splitting it's ends. A cover of Katatonia's "This Punishment" is the final strap on the jacket for Signist's album.

Of Worlds, Endtimely Enshadowed, was artfully crafted amidst influences which overpowered a lot of music at the time. Signist recognized the original influences of the melodic death metal style and incorporated them heavily into their sound. This release will not appeal to everyone but may find a respected place for fans of the late 90's and early 00's melodic death metal material. The idea to resurrect the release now, after trends have died down, whether purposeful or not, affords a more unbiased look at material, which several years prior, may have been dismissed and disregarded.

Originally written for Contaminated Tones.

Bas-Relief(ed) with an Extra Dimension - 74%

putrevomitory, September 28th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2016, Digital, Narcoleptica Productions (Remastered)

The ouroboros is an enticing concept—ensnaring musicians and artists as a means of expression—metaphorically or ironically. Over-exposure's desensitization make end-users and targets almost immune to a reaction—especially this being the creator's point of concern. That is the much that can happen between 2005 and now, when the blueprint of Of Worlds, Endtimely Enshadowed was realized and articulated. Furthermore, the chained self-devouring snake portrays a continuum in stasis, something of a disheveling reality, accounting for self-begetting.

Signist is an unforgettable name, incredibly significant where there are myriad bands left, right, and center. From Russia with pluck purpose to pulverize and perpetuate perdition to the rest of the (Metal) world. Largely cast on a thrash metal motif that stretches to heavy metal and barbaric deathy thrash—progressions and changes abound on a lot of the songs. Influences are worn aggressively such as a slight punk pummeling—on track six—, technicality, and portional synth flourished atmosphere. Interestingly, it is the rhythm that channels the solos. Premonition of the Endless Night's placement was tactful. Other than splitting it into a short intro or insertion of one, the behemoth of cudgeling grooves is allowed to mature into a flounce, the first of a tenacious whirlgig—the kind that Wrust lashes unrepentantly—on an intracion of melodic rhythms which culminate into a Blackened lead, accompanied by blast beats. Played at a Spazmosity blackened death range. An acoustic shed follows, making up for the onslaught taking the listener off the nook at the start without warning.

Stillborn Mind Reflection perpetuates a blackened infusion while track three revives the catchy, contoured and uncompromisingly conking grooves by the advent of heavy metal accompaniment. It wouldn't be surprising how much the guitars take center space, especially on this song. Only the 'spongy' cymbals—unluckily quite consistent once or twice—are its downside, including on Bells of Oncoming Winter, the longest and felicitously changing track. There is some featured singing as the album unravels while addition of a synthesized keyboard wells a Darkified feel—with some post-thrash occupations.

As marginalizing as their logo is—a pagan/viking oriented band?—any power/thrash cacophony?—it certainly is a pointer to the listener to heed expecting anything—especially to be blown away. With melodies that are almost epically inclined; progressive tincture and bent, its omnipotence forays the floridness abound in a gradual manner—a propitious sculpt on thrash metal's mould. A progressive thrash metal stomp where Lieveil meets Wrust.

-Web Scrawler