It's a long time since FEAR FACTORY were any good. In my opinion they haven't released anything decent since the legendary "Demanufacture", so itís very refreshing to hear some truly good music in the style of FEAR FACTORY. But that's not to say THREAT SIGNAL are merely a FF clone, far from it and considering how awful "Transgression" was, THREAT SIGNAL are probably better than FF now anyway.
Opener "Rational Eyes" is a hard hitting song, with it's heavy double bass, chugging guitars and melodic chorus and is reminiscent of FF at their best, but its the second song "As I Destruct" that shows that THREAT SIGNAL are special. A superb effort, which transcends the Industrial tag and is just plain Metal, and also is magnificent. The guitar solo is particularly impressive, and shows the talent of guitarists Kyle McKnight and Rich Howard. A bit later on, "A New Beginning" opens with clean guitars, but bursts into a fit of rage and anger, but never loses its melodic qualities and ends with one of the most memorable riffs I have heard in a long time.
Unfortunately, there are bits of the album were the performances aren't quite up to scratch. Vocalist Jon Howard growls and sings with a lot of passion and has three distinct styles of singing, of which two are fine. There is the growling, which is fine, the melodious singing, which again is fine, but the more aggressive singing sounds too much like that singer from LINKIN PARK, which isn't a good thing at all, and is the major flaw of the album.
The production is superb, Christian Olde Wolbers (FEAR FACTORYís current guitarist) has done a great job. The drums aren't too loud, the guitars are crisp and heavy, the vocals don't drown out the riffs, but the bass is almost completely inaudible. I can't name an instance which it stands out above the guitars. Overall, the album sounds good though.
In a world where the likes of FEAR FACTORY sell millions of records, and tour the globe, its leaves you thinking, if THREAT SIGNAL can keep up this level of quality, as this is only their debut release, there's no doubt that they will be doing the same in a few years time. As for now, "Under Reprisal" is certainly out shining anything that old guard have released in the last 5 years or so.
(Online December 11, 2006)