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Album Reviews : Threat Signal – Vigilance

By on September 20, 2009

vigilargeSo apparently Threat Signal had a commercially popular debut album three years ago. I can’t say I’ve heard it or knew about it at the time but I’m just going by what our lord, the saviour, Google is telling me. It also tells me that vocalist Jon Howard is the only member still in the band that performed on their debut. Now I’m going to go out on a limb here, with no actual proof, and bet my balls that despite the lengthy wait and personnel change, ‘Vigilance’ sounds pretty damn similar.

Why am I making such substantial guesses with no proof? Well because ‘Vigilance’ sounds exactly like an album that would have been popular then, and maybe to a lesser extent, now. Parading an overly melodic blend of melodic death metal and metalcore, the similarities with Fear Factory, Scar Symmetry, Soilwork, In Flames, Lamb Of God and other bands commonly referred to as ‘mainstream metal’ are all over the place. Simple, repetitive guitar riffs and choppy, machine-gun drums form the basis of pretty much every song with Howard’s weak growls trying to reach over the top. When it comes to a chorus, the melody comes out and Howard’s vocals go clean, although you would swear they’re regular guest appearances by the Linkin Park vocalist. And more often than not, there’ll be a section where the two vocal styles are bouncing off each other. There are few moments, such as “Another Source Of Light”, where the band get totally creative and bring in an acoustic intro part. Fucking wow.

You’ve seen that “Metal By Numbers” video by metalhead comedian Brian Posehn right? Well if you haven’t then Youtube it because it’s a hoot. But if you have, you’ll see what I’m getting at. Now I’m not saying every band that does this is bad, some of them can be great if you’re in the mood for some mindless fun. But in this case the choruses and melodic sections fail at being memorable, and the heavier parts aren’t heavy enough to get your blood rushing. The production doesn’t help it either. It’s crisp and clean with neither the music nor vocals getting preference. A heavier bottom end could make the heavier parts sound ballsier, making the writing a bit more forgivable. Or maybe if the vocals were mixed higher (oh, and it would help if they were good), then the music would have a more powerful sound. Then maybe ‘Vigilance’ could have had a little something going for it.

But no. 3/10

For fans of: Scar Symmetry, late In Flames, Soilwork.

Band: Threat Signal
Album: Vigilance
Year: 2009
Genre: Melodic Death Metal/Metalcore
Origin: Canda
Label: Nuclear Blast/Riot! Entertainment

Track listing:
1. Afterlife
2. Through My Eyes
3. The Beginning of the End
4. United We Stand
5. Beyond Recognition
6. Another Source of Light
7. Hate Machine
8. Severed
9. Lost
10. Revision
11. In Repair
12. Escape From Reality
13. To Remember


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.