Threat Signal

I think I liked Threat Signal more when they were basically a Fear Factory clone (right down to Christian Olde Wolbers producing). Yeah, ok, shades of Soilwork’s melodic thrash/death and Strapping Young Lad’s atmospherics were present as well. But the point is that I didn’t find the mimicry on Under Reprisal to be a problem; Threat Signal did what they did and they sounded good doing it. None of that means I’m building toward a critical evisceration of Vigilance though; it just didn’t grab me in the same way.Maybe it’s that whole “too much of a good thing” syndrome that you run into occasionally by the time the second or third albums roll around. The up side is that Vigilance is filled with modern thrash riffs that owe as much (if not more) to Soilwork and their ilk as it does to Fear Factory. Lots of chugging, often syncopated riffs and aggressive vocals give way to bright, shiny, and cleanly sung choruses (and in the case of “Another Source of Light” a clean verse); that’s the story of the album. So if you can’t get enough of this particular style of modern metal, then you’ll probably enjoy Vigilance.

But even for those folks, isn’t 55 minutes of it just plain overkill? I was sick to death of it around the 30-minute mark. And it is not as though the first half hour is filled with barn burners either. Solid, yes; essential, no. I’ll give you that songs like “Afterlife” (and a handful of others) are quite good, but in no case did I find hooky choruses without which I could not continue my existence on this planet.

If I did in fact find that said melodies were out of this world, then I’d be more inclined to cut Threat Signal additional slack. But by the time you’ve heard “United We Stand” and “Beyond Recognition,” you’ve basically heard the album. And by the time you make it to the 11th and 12th tracks (“In Repair” and “Escape from Reality”) those sugary sweet, Hot Topic lovin’ choruses should be turning your stomach, my slight exaggeration to make a point notwithstanding.

Don’t for a second think that I’ve got an issue with clean vocals either; it’s just that some bands do it better and make it more interesting, not to mention with a little less sweetener in the mix. So all that aside, I don’t hate Vigilance by any stretch of the imagination. I like the overall aggressiveness and at least a handful of the melodies (a handful are rather painful though). It’s just too damn much of a thing that was only semi-good to begin with.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Scott Alisoglu
September 7th, 2009


  1. Commented by: Desperado

    I tried to like the first but just couldn’t,yet this one is nice in small doses,mainly the songs with the acoustics and keys.I hear occassional Meshuggah worship in there too.

  2. Commented by: mike

    The band has always had a very strong Meshuggah influence — more so than Fear Factory.

    However, for modern metal, this album rocks. Probably better than Under Reprisal in some areas, but falls a bit short overall. I also thought the second half from track 7 onwards was stronger too.

  3. Commented by: krustster

    The main thing I dislike about this band is the horrible Linkin Park style singing. I will give this one a chance but the vocals have worn on me so badly over time (since the first album) that I don’t know if I’ll be able to take it

  4. Commented by: Dimaension X

    “…isn’t 55 minutes of it just plain overkill? I was sick to death of it around the 30-minute mark.”

    Since when did metal albums have to be only 30 minutes long?? I’d prefer a good album be a bit longer than your average EP. Ever since “Reign In Blood”, it sems like the industry has decided on the 30 minute rule.

    If they’re just playing the same re-cycled riffs over and over, then I understand, but it seems like the 30 minute rule is overused.

  5. Commented by: Dimaension X

    I take it back – I just heard the songs on their Myspace. If this were a 5 minute album, it would be too long.

  6. Commented by: Scott Alisoglu

    I couldn’t give two shits about a “30 minute rule.” My only point was that if the music isn’t consistently good enough to hold my attention, then an hour’s worth of it is too goddamned long.

    But like I said, I don’t “hate” this album; I generally like the band. But they don’t have enough here to warrant an hour’s worth of an overused formula.

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