Published on August 6th, 2020 | by Justin G.
China: Sign In The Sky (Bad Reputation, 1989/2020)
Originally released in 1989, Sign In The Sky was the second album from Swiss melodic rockers China, and their first to feature vocalist Eric St. Michaels. China was one of those bands that fit nicely into the hair metal/melodic hard rock sound of the time, but for whatever reason (nobody was paying attention to non-Krokus Swiss bands, maybe) they never seemed to take off.
With Sign In The Sky, China eased back on some of the metallic elements that characterized their 1988 self-titled debut in favor of more polished, more radio-friendly hard rock sound. And St. Michaels’ voice was ideally suited for that kind of rock n’ roll approach. The result is a slick, catchy melodic rock album along the lines of Icon, King Kobra and Tyketto. It’s party rock with just enough punch. The album has very catchy melodies, choruses that are easy to sing along with, and a really strong vocal performance (lead as well as some fantastic background harmonies). Standout tracks include “In The Middle Of The Night,” “Sign In The Sky” and “Animal Victim.”
Sign In The Sky is another rock-solid album from a band that really should have had more success. If you’re a fan of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s melodic hard rock sound, China is a band you need to discover, and this is arguably their best album. Fans of bands like Icon, Lion, King Kobra, Tyketto and House Of Lords ought to love this one.
Reissue Notes: After spending ages out of print, Sign In The Sky was finally given a proper reissue this year thanks to the Bad Reputation label out of France (the successors to Axe Killer). As with all Bad Reputation reissues, this one gets a fantastic remastering. That alone would make it worthwhile, but they also added enough bonus material to fill an extra disc. Disc 1 features the ful album plus the rare 2-song Wild Jealousy single from 1988 as bonus tracks, while disc 2 features the full 1991 China Live EP plus two songs from the China debut as bonus tracks. The booklet includes lyrics and a handful of vintage photos. No band essay or interviews unfortunately, but that’s a minor gripe on an otherwise perfect reissue.
Summary: Absolutely loaded reissue of this lost classic