Threat Signal
Threat Signal

In my interview with Jon Howard, he sarcastically derided the term “djent” when asked about Threat Signal’s genre classification. Similarly, I dislike that term. Many people like to call Threat Signal a “djent” band, but I like to be simple and just consider them a modern death metal band.

This new record sees Threat Signal maturing in a few aspects.

The first and most obvious one is the increased presence of expressive, significantly lengthier, and neo-classical guitar solos throughout the album (check out the tracks “Uncensored”, “Trust In None”, “Disposition” and “Buried Alive”). The dominance of chugging riffs has been toned down, and the music harks back to the demo days of Threat Signal, especially reminding one of the song “Counterbalance”, which features an expressive solo reminiscent of the ones you just heard if you checked out the above-mentioned tracks. While the solos on Under Reprisal and Vigilance are melodic and catchy, they are mostly made up of motifs that are repeated in succession with some syncopation thrown in (e.g. like in the songs “A New Beginning” and “Through My Eyes” respectively). Being a sucker for intricate guitar solos that don’t just seduce me only to dump me in 10 seconds, this is a plus point for me.

The next most striking trait would be how much darker the guitars sound on this record as compared to Vigilance. The newly incorporated 7-stringed guitar is the blessed culprit behind this gratifyingly heavy sound, and the end results reminds me most strongly of an earlier song called “Rational Eyes” off of Threat Signal’s first album, Under Reprisal. It’s funny how they then got lighter in tone on Vigilance, and then decided to go back to that earlier dark sound on a new, self-titled record. Maybe it’s supposed to fit the dystopian theme of the album artwork this time round, or maybe it’s supposed to fit in with the purpose of self-titling a new record: representing a new (and often, more mature) stage in a band’s career. Whichever the case is, it certainly is working well with the expressive solo-ing to keep Threat Signal’s sound ever so modern, yet in comfortable territory (read: post- , avant-garde).

Jon’s vocals have gone back to focusing more on guttural growls and anguished screams, and cut down on the high-pitched, nasal clean singing he did so much of on Vigilance. I guess this is also supposed to go in line with that pessimistic album theme of the majority of humanity being fed propaganda and lies everyday. They have definitely grown more powerful over the course of the last two albums, and the weight of the frustration and anger behind them is very convincing now.

This is not a groundbreaking record in many ways, but it is another one of those decent keepsakes every self-respecting appreciator of modern metal should have in their rack.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Dane Prokofiev
January 16th, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    very good write-up. I haven’t heard anything since the debut so I will check this out. I personally don’t mind the term djent (although its etymology is wtf), it’s a better term than math-metal or whatever, most dent fails to hold my interest for more than a minute though…


  2. Commented by: Dane Prokofiev

    gabaghoul:

    Well, the guitar solos are the main thing to keep an ear out for on this record!


  3. Commented by: Odovacar

    I definitely need to give Threat Signal another look. I thought they were just a generic metalcore band from the name alone; upon hearing some of their songs I was obviously mistaken.


  4. Commented by: demise

    Terrible garbage band.keep ripping off dino and company.


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