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Friday, November 18, 2011

Album Review: Threat Signal - Threat Signal

When I first caught a whiff of Canada's metal machine Threat Signal back in 2009, the feisty stench of bloody power chords, sweaty drum thunder and tearfully bellowed vocals pretty much knocked me off my feet. The album was 'Vigilance' and the track was "Afterlife". It had everything from that creepy slow-build and sharp snap into focussed aggression to an infectiously sassy swagger. Now, having heard their muscle-bound self-titled follow-up, it's instantly apparent that they've pulled out all the steps to chuck in as much vim and vigour as they can muster. They've brought a new drummer and guitarist to the party and have returned to using their seven-string axes. Dropping to A# has certainly beefed up the bottom-end chug and there is also an added tech metal dynamic. All of this, vocalist Jon Howard claims, "has made everything sound much heavier and darker; it also offered my vocals a different range to sing in."

"Uncensored", for instance, kicks like a mule, screams like a lunatic and double-kicks you until you actually feel bruised by the experience. Brutal enough to rub shoulders with both Mnemic and DevilDriver at the same time, it actually treads the inventive path that a small French band called Darkness Dynamite started so impressively down a few years back. "Comatose" and "New World Order" add hooked choruses which thrashily punch their way through to the dark pieces like "Trust In Noone" and "Fallen Disciples" where Howard revels in the speed, roars himself hoarse in the verses, and sinks his teeth into trying to surpass Jamey Jasta for power.

When Howard digs into the choruses his tremulous singing vocal tends to follow the same pattern of hold and pitch and it does, somewhat disappointingly, mean several of the tracks smear themselves across the album, bleeding into one another all too readily. "Death Before Dishonour", with its dark intro and polyrhythmic punch, stands out as does "Disposition" for its startlingly sudden drop into clean melodics and sweeping solo. In fact, as the album progresses, and they focus less on laying waste and more on delving into their box of tricks, they begin to find some pretty inventive methods of attack.

Having heard the nuts on this, it's no surprise to see Zeuss is on production duty and he's definitely given this one the beans. A little of 'Vigilance's subtlety has been lost somewhere along the line but, on the positive side, with an album like this, Threat Signal are now doing exactly what they say on the tin - fair warning, I believe.Link

Also online @ Metal Team UK = http://www.metalteamuk.net/oct11reviews/cdreviews-threat.htm

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