In the wake of industry changes, countless lineup shifts, often middling reviews and a mid-tier at best profile, you have to give credit to Threat Signal for perseverance. Now on album number three, it’s probably time to achieve something significant, or possibly face the end of their career.
A half-decade or so ago, a litany of melodic death/thrash metal acts blending the “futuristic” sounds of Fear Factory, Strapping Young Lad and Meshuggah appeared. Canada’s Threat Signal weren’t the best of that crop (Textures being the band to take that sound to the most intriguing places), but there was clearly potential. While not doing much wrong per se, Threat Signal doesn’t really fulfil that promise here either. There are some genuinely interesting soundscapes littered throughout (the ambient “New World Order”) and the seven-string guitars lend a greater heaviness to the angular, choppy riffing, but too often Threat Signal follows a similar, groove-laden, syncopation-heavy formula.
They could probably get away with much of this if the songs contained numerous knockout melodies, but bar a few exceptions (“Uncensored” and “Face the Day”) they don’t really achieve that goal either. For instance, as aggressive as it is “Death Before Dishonor” is really more of the same sub-par fare they’ve been peddling for three records now. Jon Howard’s caustic scream stands up against most bipolar vocalists in the business. That said, (and every other review you read of Threat Signal will surely highlight this point), his Linkin Park-esque croon will continue to be divisive and an irritant for many. It’s just far too slick and nasally. Threat Signal is also immaculately produced, but too clinical, on par with many extreme metal records these days which wring out nearly any soul in favour of sounding as cold and mechanical as possible.
Hopefully the band can retain a lineup for a reasonable period of time, because their hard-working, enthusiastic approach to this style of metal is admirable, if somewhat uninspired. They deserve some degree of success just for sticking at it despite so many obstacles.
3. New World Order
4. Trust in None
5. Face the Day
6. Fallen Disciples
8. Death Before Dishonor
9. Buried Alive
10. Resistance (Bonus)