Hailing from a region of Sweden called Blekinge (which loosely translates to Pale Nothing), it’s obvious which frame of mind Signo Rojo are coming from. One look at their influences (The Melvins, Baroness, Neurosis, Isis) confirms that this band has a pretty bleak outlook on things, and that can often make for some very intense music.
Their self titled mini album is a good way to introduce the band, as at 36 minutes, it’s not exactly short for a 6-track release, but certainly leaves you wanting more. Signo Rojo are a band that let a song develop, and obviously don’t feel the need to do things in a rush. Jonas (vocals, bass), Elias & Hampus (guitar) and Pontus (drums) have spent a long time carefully crafting these songs to be as heavy as possible when needed but still allow room to mix some quiet moments in there.
Opener ‘Lashing The Hellspont’ sounds like a song that sounds like a mixture of The Melvins more melodic moments and Crowbar’s power, and in my eyes, you can’t go too far wrong with a combination like that. Jonas’ vocals add a huge amount to the atmosphere of the band and it really works well. Following this is ‘The Beast beneath’ which compared to the other tacks is quite upbeat. It moves away from the sludge/doom sound and dares to almost enter stoner territory with a riff that you can’t help at least nodding your head to.
At around 1:20 into the third track ‘These Machines Used To Kill’ I almost expect it to break into Iron Maiden’s ‘The Clairvoyant’ with the short bass and guitar break, but it soon builds back up into the comfortable noise of earlier tracks. ‘The Calling’ is next up and brings to mind Volition with the slowest paced tune of the six. Another excellent tune! Fifth track ‘Dying Sun’ seems short at less than 5 minutes but would be a good choice to use for a single as it shows off all elements of Signo Rojo’s talents, which according to this release are in abundance.
Closing track ‘Apotheosis’ has some of the quieter moments of the album. The nearly 9-minute, largely instrumental track with occasional vocals that just adds to the heavier moments. The song is a bit of a journey, often switching between loud and quiet, and shows that each member of this band is as important as the next as you can make out each instrument and they each have their chance to shine on this track.
For a band that has been together barely 18 months, this is an excellent start. Signo Rojo have spent this time practising, writing and playing live to keep them busy as they say, “a hard working band is a healthy band”. If that is how they are going to do things, then this is a band with a very bright future ahead, now to pester them to come over here for some gigs.