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I am very proud to say that Threat Signal has done a complete 180 on their brand new self-titled album since their very lackluster sophomore album Vigilance. When they released a statement saying that “we’re going back to the Under Reprisal days, but with bigger balls,” I was one of many who were skeptical to believe it. Although at this moment I can’t say that it’s better than Under Reprisal, I can assure you, the listener, that you will be extremely pleased.
Chock full of quality headbanging and enough metal to build a mecha-Godzilla from, this was quickly placed as one of the best metal releases of the year. Second track “Comatose” brings the band back to the glory days. Awesome technical riffs, perfect spot-on drumming, break neck bass and those vocals you can never mistake for any others, this song has it all. The clean singing has a rougher edge than before, and it is a step up.
Threat Signal covers a lot of different genres with each release, all within the metal spectrum. For a truly awesome speed metal/progressive track, look no further than “New World Order.” A live Threat Signal show will now never be complete until they play this song. Jon Howard hits some brutal lows that are rarely heard and sound refined and polished, which prompts me to say this… “JON HOWARD GIVE US MOAR LOWS RIGHT MEOW!!!!!!!!” The clean singing again shows a little bit of a rough edge, which I believe has to do with their new producer Zuess (if you don’t know who that is, then GTFO).
Their experimentation with 7-string guitars has really paid off, most notably in the song “Face The Day.” Without the 7-string, this track would have never sounded the same. This gives an all new depth into Threat Signal’s overall style, making them more technical than before. The mathcore-like drums really round this track out into a masterpiece, all done over growls and screeches of “You’re the fucking disease.” Then, like a machine gun, at the 2:40 mark, they obliterate the ear canal with unbridled metal fury.
While I was worried about the future of this band due to the numerous line-up changes, I know that as long as Howard (the sole remaining original member) is still fronting the band, they still have a long way to go in the music industry and are far from disappearing from the limelight. Again, not as unique and diverse as Under Reprisal, but pretty damn close. Think of that era, except that the songs blend more into each other instead of really standing on their own. That is the only weakness on the album, but alas it is a small one. I even went and bought the bonus track “Resistance,” and your listening of this album is not complete without the bonus track. Seriously, go the extra mile and get that version.
Threat Signal play some a sort of groovy melodic death metal along the lines of what Devildriver has done with their last couple of releases. But you can immediately tell they take a heavy influence from Fear Factory in the mechanical guitar riffs. With their third album the band streamlines their sound and becomes a bit more consistent.
The album starts off with what I think is probably the heaviest song here, Uncensored. TS shows they can get pretty heavy on this one and the blast beats are a treat, though I don't remember hearing them really on any other track. And I guess even if they were there they didn't stand out as much as they did here. A thing that began to bug me as time went on and I listened to the album a few times over was a certain sound the guitars made. Listen to just about any song on the album and you will notice the guitars make an almost snarling noise in every riff (which are repeated of course ad nauseum).
What usually bothered me in the past about Threat Signal was the clean vocals. Jon Howard has a dreadful singing voice. Its like hes channeling Chester Bennington from Linkin Park. Its nasally and comes off almost whiny, and not in the emo kind of way but the normal complaining manner that we all hate so much. Other than that his growls and screams are close to what Randy Blythe from Lamb of God sounds like. But a lot of what is used is like part Howard's singing voice half scream which doesn't really make the singing part of it sound any better. But his proper screams are decent and he throws in some lower death grunts here and there that sound really good.
The drumming is solid, though I wish Alex Rudinger had been able to throw in some more blasts. They sounded so well in Uncensored I think they missed a chance to keep that going for the rest of the album. And the bass seems to follow the guitars note for note, the norm for the genre. A nice fill here or there would be nice. I will give them credit for the great sounding production on the album though, its about perfect minus the annoying snarling guitar noise that is so prevalent.
Threat Signal (the album) is on the better side of average and actually even good if you can get over the parts I mentioned not enjoying. They have given us a decently crafted melodic death metal album that will please fans of the band and probably bring in a few more people who may have been on the fence. And on a closing note, they had a pretty sweet album cover made up as well!
Originally reviewed @ http://abaddonsmetalshop.blogspot.com/