Threat Signal - Under Reprisal
Century Media
NWOAHM / Thrash / Noisecore
11 songs (47:02)
Release year: 2006
Threat Signal, Century Media
Reviewed by Ross
Surprise of the month
On first spin of Threat Signal’s debut album Under Reprisal I’m afraid I had a couple of W.T.F. Moments. First was the ‘Clean Vocals’. Not the fact that there were clean vocals but that it sounded remarkably like Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington. (Not the Rap guy, the other one) Second was the use of electronic loops and samples in a few places. After a few more spins, I realised that the clean vocals and electro stuff were an integral part of the album, as a whole, rather than some “Here guys, let’s try this!” experiment. For those of you who like their music all defined, labelled and pigeon-holed, I’m afraid you are going to be sent into a tailspin with this; Threat Signal don’t want to come all nicely pre-packaged and labelled, they want you to listen to and experience their music for the music’s sake, not to try and figure out who you can compare them to.

Threat Signal are Jon Howard – Vocals, Kyle McKnight and Marco Bressette – Guitars (but not figured out who is lead and rhythm), Pat Kavanagh – Bass, George Parfitt – Drums and they hail from Hamilton, Ontario. I believe Ontario has been producing quite a few good Metal band recently, gotta keep an eye on that place.

Under Reprisal has two distinct, yet polar opposite, themes running throughout the album. The low-down chunky guitar riffage, pummelling bass drums and screaming vocals; then you have some mellow electro synth/keys, clean(ish) vocals and subdued drumming. There is also a boat-load of other stuff going on in between these two opposing styles that will take some time for you to get your head round. So this album is a grower, worth spending some time on getting to know. It is not a case of one track heavy, one track light, you get a track like Inane that starts pretty down ‘n’ dirty and ends in something quite floaty and relaxing. However, the next two tracks, Now and Faceless will soon dissolve any relaxing thoughts, shredding your underwear into the middle of next week with their speed and ferocity.

Under Reprisal is a new and fresh sounding NWOAHM / Thrash / Metalcore / Shoutcore or whatever label somebody wants to slap on it, and it will appeal to many fans of the aforementioned genres. However, there will always be those few who don’t have the patience to discover exciting new stuff, and no doubt this review will return quite a few of the usual one liner “This Sucks” replies in the Forum. Century Media don’t just pick up on any old crap you know! Threat Signal have put a lot of work into this album. The guitar hooks and riffs are spinejarringly heavy in all the right places. George Parfitt’s drumming is sharp and precise. Pat Kavanagh puts in enough low end, where necessary, to keep the atmosphere dark and dangerous, and Jon Howard can actually sing when he’s screaming his lungs out, it’s not the usual monotone bellowing that you get with many other bands. Think Randy Blythe from Lamb Of God with an even greater vocal range. As for the Electro stuff, undoubtedly this will be the focal point of criticism, but this is what turns Under Reprisal into a memorable chunk of sound.

Threat Signal have created an outstanding debut album. Being produced by Fear Factory’s Christian Olde Wolbers may have something to do with as well. However, have they left anything in reserve for a future record of equal or superior quality? Will they be able to deliver their unique sound with all the electro noise to a live audience? Only time will tell, but in the meantime, give Under Reprisal a shot; break your neck head banging at all the thrashy heavy bits and catch your breath when the mellow stuff comes on.

Killing Songs :
One Last Breath, Inane, Now.
Ross quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Threat Signal that we have reviewed:
Threat Signal - Vigilance reviewed by Dan and quoted 75 / 100
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There are 15 replies to this review. Last one on Sat Dec 02, 2006 6:06 am
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