Despite being the same band, the first two releases from these Modern Metallers were drastically different in aesthetic. The first was heavily footed in FEAR FACTORY territory with some more melodic spurts and the second had a certain almost CHIMAIRA like vibe to its Thrashy Metalcore tendencies and its denser production. Neither were bad (although I preferred the first album myself), but it's this third and self-titled release that has THREAT SIGNAL finding a solid middle ground – delivering a great record that surpasses their previous efforts in quality.
The foundations of “Threat Signal” remain the same. The band toys with a slew of different genres grounding Thrash, Metalcore, some Death Metal this time around, and a touch of Groove into a Modern Metal mash-up of dense stop and go punches. The riffs chunk out guitar grooves and layer them over with enough melodic flair and solid soling to please fans of more classically inclined Metal while all of this is under laid with heavy bass mixes and a diverse drum performance to deliver the needed pops and polyrhythms to maintain that Industrialized sound. The dueling vocal performance from Jon Howard of harsh modern style shouting and more crooning softer vocals only enhances its modern sound. This is the THREAT SIGNAL that fans have come to expect.
This is, essentially, the same sound that the band has crafted over the years – although with obviously less synthetic elements that graced the debut. What makes “Threat Signal” perhaps their strongest album to date is the improved writing. It continues to pummel with the dense layering the band discovered on their sophomore effort, but it pushes it to stronger hooks and more diverse and memorable places. The improved guitar chemistry on “Disposition” and “Face The Day” show the band strengthening as a unit and stronger vocal presence of Howard on songs like “Uncensored” and “Death Before Dishonor” build more hook like elements in the already dense songs. This is what makes “Threat Signal” one of the better Modern Metal albums of the year.
Of course, THREAT SIGNAL is not a band for everyone. Those keen on more modern style bands like the previously mentioned acts should take a gander at this album’s punchy sound and dense rhythms. It’s a strong album, perhaps their best in quality yet, and it showcases that THREAT SIGNAL can balance out their newer thicker sound with the catchier elements.
Songs to check out: “Uncensored”, “Disposition”, “Comatose”.
(Online October 24, 2011)