AlbumsNovember 29, 201110,930 views

Threat Signal Vigilance


01. Afterlife 02. Through My Eyes 03. The Beginning of the End 04. United We Stand 05. Beyond Recognition 06. Another Source of Light 07. Hate Machine 08. Severed 09. Lost 10. Revision 11. In Repair 12. Escape From Reality 13. To Remember
2009 Nuclear Blast Records
Our score 7

12/6/2009

Threat Signal might have gotten signed based on the success of "Rational Eyes" on Garageband.com throughout 2004 and early 2005 (if I remember right, they didn't even play a show or anything - ahh, the magic of the Internet!), leading to that Nuclear Blast deal, recording with Fear Factory's Christian Old Wolbers, a bunch of subsequent hype, and almost 20,000 records sold. And I'll be damned if the band's 2006 debut, Under Reprisal, wasn't heavy, skillfully written, and fucking catchy despite that magical Internet record deal. Sure it was blatant Fear Factory riffing, good-cop bad-cop vocals, and tons of throaty 'melodic' singing that would make Linkin Park proud, but the songwriting on Under Reprisal was top notch, too. The guitar melodies and leads were memorable and incredibly proficient and ultimately, the record left a lasting impression on this guy...and his iPod. Now, fast forward two or three years, a bunch of member rotations, a bailed headlining US tour and other such shenanigans and there's the release of Vigilance, the band's second in its six year history. Gone is co-founder/guitarist Rich Howard (cousin of co-founder/vocalist Jon Howard) and Kyle McKnight, who bailed in 2007, the latter responsible for most of Under Reprisal's frantically tasteful fret leads. With that sizeable line-up switch, arguably the band's strongest prescence - aside from Howard's upfront vocals - stepped out of the fold to pursue 'other interests.' Thankfully, Adam Weber and Travis Montgomery (both 2007 additions) fill in aptly; sort of. Vigilance does indeed continue down the road Under Reprisal beat through the brush, but that's sort of the problem. Instead of cutting a different path from Point A to Point B on Vigilance, it feels like Threat Signal just found that same path from 2006 and started hiking it again. Still present are the almost nu-metal tones and staccato riffing from the band's first release (or any Fear Factory record, for that matter), and Howard still injects his sorta-trademark, but sorta-Linkin Park-ish choruses left and right. And there are some really adept, skillful leads. The problem is that it all reminds me of the last record. Usually that's okay for brutal bands out for brutality's sake, but thirteen tracks of the same sugar-coated eleven tracks from the last record really is a stretch. That's not to say Vigilance doesn't have its strong points. "Lost," although generically named, is a scorcher and "United We Stand" features some awesome, fleet-fingered guitar tandem lead work and showcases varied structure (read: not verse, chorus, repeat), but then again the end sounds almost exactly like the flange-tastic end to "As I Destruct" or "A New Beginning" from the band's prior effort. And for the most part, if you didn't like Under Reprisal's songwriting, Howard's nasally 'clean' singing and always-apparent Fear Factory-isms, Vigilance probably won't change your mind. Bottom line: Sure it's more of the same, but if you can get past the whole Dino Cazares-inspired riffs and Howard's sugar-coated choruses, there is some great guitar work on Vigilance and the song structure is creative and memorable. It's just a lot more of what was on Under Reprisal three years ago. If that didn't spark an interest, then this won't either. And while a lot of Vigilance is similar to the band's prior effort, Under Reprisal was a grower of a record. Let's hope this one is too.

10 comments

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estuardo_ 12/6/2009 9:53:50 PM

vocalist is one of the nicest and most genuine dudes i have ever met. i shared a much needed clove with him afterward.


slut_ 12/6/2009 11:16:37 PM

f*ck you're on crack... not worth anything near a 7. Generic thrash bullshit. 4/10


Jon Howard_ 12/7/2009 8:28:51 AM

shut up, we play with technical proficiency, in lieu of some killswitch, as i lay dying thrash modern metal.


Doombox_ 12/7/2009 1:45:53 PM

LOL @ the singer defending his shit FF ripoff band.


picturesofme_ 12/7/2009 2:41:59 PM

what is this, the prp?


Lohan666_ 12/7/2009 3:05:56 PM

I agree, the record didn't live up to the bands potential, but not too bad. Looking forward to seein them on the Epica tour in February.


surfjam_ 12/7/2009 9:03:24 PM

for brutal bands out for brutality's sake?


Fred_ 12/8/2009 8:59:06 PM

My job is so f*cking unbelievable. I'll try to sum it up by first telling you about the folks I work with: First, there is this supermodel wanna-be chick. Yeah, okay, she is pretty hot, but damn is she completely useless. The girl is constantly fixing her hair or putting on make-up. She is extremely self-centred and has never once considered the needs or wants of anyone but herself. She is as dumb as a box of rocks, and I still find it surprising that she has enough brain power to continue to


captainfrontbutt_ 2/21/2010 4:25:18 PM

^^zoinks!


Chad_ 4/25/2011 7:40:37 PM

It's a well written album, with great guitar work and good progressions, if you are a guitarist into melodic metal, you chould check this out.