Threat Signal - Vigilance
Nuclear Blast
13 songs (54:47)
Release year: 2009
Threat Signal, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Dan
Threat Signal ’s latest album, Vigilance, comes along with the history of heavy(weight) players of the Metalcore scene created by their first and previous album, Under Reprisal. Even if not worthy of a 90/100 score in your reviewer’s humble opinion, Under Reprisal brought that feeling of freshness signaling that aggressiveness in Metalcore can be achieved in other ways than just repeating overly simplistic in-you-face riffs to the point of ultimate and absolute boredom. Instead they brought to the table heavy screams intertwined with polyrhythmic sequences, atypical tempos, carefully crafted solos, fast machine-like drumming masterfully adjusted with the relentless rhythm guitar and the occasional catchy melody coming either from the keyboards or from the lead guitar. Of course, the infamous Metalcore breakdown was always present, but in the end that’s what (melodic) Metalcore is all about. You build a crushing wall of sound gratified by the holy moshpit and from time to time you let the crowd rest and maybe engage in some intimate dreaming about… whatever… the girl/guy sitting next to you in the classroom, the girl/guy at your side in the crowd, the shitty world you live in or the beauty of some metaphysical concept you just grasped from the lyrics.

In some ways Vigilance is a totally different thing than Under Reprisal, in others it is not. It is indeed a logical continuity of the band’s previous album; the production is much cleaner, the melodic parts are much more carefully built, the guitar solos come in more swiftly and the structure of the songs reveal much more continuity between the aggressive and mellow parts. Overall the listening process is a lot easier than on Under Reprisal but this doesn’t necessarily do much good to the album. You listen to it once or twice but afterwards a sense of inherent recurrent-ness engulfs you. The predictability of the songs slowly builds itself into you and you might easily lose interest. And it’s not just the inevitable Metalcore breakdown that is responsible for this. No, it’s the somewhat frustrating – but hopefully not irreversible - loss of the feeling that this band can mix into Metalcore illustrious ingredients like Fear Factory, Meshuggah, At The Gates and Soilwork at the same time in one humble song. But it’s not completely lost, since remnants of that feeling still survive in songs like Hate Machine - oh yeah, please do write more of that At The Gates mayhem – in the sublime melodic intro of Another Source of Light, in the aggressive wall of sound built on The Beginning Of The End or in the atypical intro rhythmic section of To Remember. The vocal part also contributes a great deal to the frustrating part of the listening experience; all the heaviness of the screams displayed on Under Reprisal is gone. The screaming vocals also contribute to the frustration; they sound like the band is competing with Sonic Syndicate for a place on the stage of the local prom, an battle lost even before it began. And that somehow forced you reviewer to navigate between the singing parts to reach out to the instrumental solid bedrock. To end on a positive note, lead guitar solos, while being given a too small place in a rather lenghty album, deserve a special kudos.

Canada is a source of highly interesting Metal music throughout all its genres and when it comes to Metalcore your reviewer will cite Canada’s Protest The Hero and Canada’s Threat Signal among his favorites. But Vigilance, while far from being a weak album, is nevertheless far from reaching up to the high expectations set by Under Reprisal. Nevertheless it rides high above the average Metalcore mainstream, so if you’re into this brand of Metal you might want to give it a well deserved spin.
Killing Songs :
The Beginning Of The End, Hate Machine
Dan quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Threat Signal that we have reviewed:
Threat Signal - Under Reprisal reviewed by Ross and quoted 90 / 100
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