THE SIGN – The Second Coming

THE SIGN - The Second Coming


Frontiers Records
Release date: November 21, 2004

Vocals: B
Guitars: C
Bass: C
Drums: B
Keys: C
Recording Quality: B+
Lyrics: B+
Originality: C
Overall Rating: C

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

This, the second offering by The Sign, is being billed as “The Return Of The Pomp Rock Masters.” The Sign is made up of several talented American Hard Rock music stars. The initiator of the project is Mark Mangold (keyboards, drums, vocals) who earned his stars and stripes by writing hits songs for Michael Bolton and Cher, as well as being in bands like American Tears, Touch, Drive She Said, Flesh & Blood and Mystic Healer. Also add in Randy Jackson (guitar, vocals) from Zebra fame, Terry Brock (vocals, guitar) from Strangeways, Jon Bivona (guitar, bass) from Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and Mark Hermann (bass, guitar) and you have one impressive line-up.

Once again, the band delivers a concept album around the premise of Aryon, a girl saved from a coma. The question is can this impressive line-up keep listeners from falling into a coma? The answer to that question is a half-hearted, “Some of the time.”

Opening mini-track “Aryon Overture” will bring back memories of the American band Styx with its multi-layered chorus. The next track “Stained (Gone)” has a lead vocal delivery approach that sounds like something off a Trans-Siberian Orchestra track, meaning more spoken than sung, followed by “The Morning After (Time To Run),” which sounds like two songs spliced together. The first half being very Journey-like (without the punch of Steve Perry or the electricity of Neal Schon) until the track kicks into a mid-tempo pace. The last half contains a phased section that is reminiscent of something done by the band New England in the 80’s.

“Flame Of The Oracle” starts out with a guitar and keyboard pairing that will have you thinking of American studio band Toto. Are you beginning to see the pattern? The problem is not that any one track is really “awful;” it’s the fact that the majority of the tracks will remind you of other bands (interpreted as no originality and/or no developed style of their own). There’s just not much here that offers any lasting impression. In some instances, mellow passages seem to carry on longer than eternity, when in reality they are just two minutes in length. This is especially true on the track “Shine (Finale),” which comes in at a heaping 6:57 minutes and rehashes a melody heard at the beginning of the release (a typical trap presented by “concept albums”).

It’s unclear whether The Second Coming is truly “pomp” versus Melodic/AOR rock, maybe these genres blur too much together, making a real distinction too difficult. One thing is clear, there’s not a lot here to bang your head to. “Motorcycle Messiah,” which has seen Jukebox rotation here at Metal Express, is as heavy as this band gets on this release. Proceed with caution, as this CD is filled with its share of coma-inducing tracks, and most of them will have you saying … “Hey that sounds like ….”


Terry Brock: Vocals, guitar, mandolin
Randy Jackson: Vocals, guitar
Jon Binova: Guitar, bass
Mark Hermann: Bass, guitar
Mark Mangold: Keyboards, drums, vocals and production


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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