By Jason Wellwood
Whenever a band changes members between albums, there is always some trepidation on the part of fans. Will the album be as good? Will it sound completely different? Threat Signal made some significant sound changes from album one to two, going from a heavy melodic death sound, to a more melodic hard rock sound. The constant on both of these records were the angry lyrics and voice of founding member Jon Howard. As different as the first two albums were, Jon made sure that you KNEW this was Threat Signal. Thankfully, this new, self-titled album not only retains the Jon Howard touch, but it also takes the heaviness of Under Reprisal and the unabashed melody of Vigilance and combines them into one cohesive musical statement.
The heavy has been made prevalent once again, with some great, bent and twisted riffs while the melody remains and is given a bit of a heavier make over this time around. For this album Threat Signal have brought in an outside producer again, Zeuss, who has helped to bring out the best performances from the band. Rhythmically, Threat Signal is locked in tighter than either of the two previous albums, resulting in unabashed toe tapping and air drumming from listeners. Seriously, resistance is futile. Listeners will also note that Jon sounds much angrier on this album. I mean, he’s sounded angry before but this time he sounds PISSED! Choruses are catchy without resorting to a cheesy sing along vibe and the melodies aren’t necessarily where you’d think they’d be. Taking Threat Signal to Zeuss could have resulted in the band becoming a New-England-Metalcore-by-way-of-Hamilton clone which would have resulted in no one caring about this album. Thankfully, Zeuss, Jon and the band knew what they were doing and have avoided moulding Threat Signal into anything other than what they are: a solid, heavy, melodic machine.
Threat Signal builds on and amplifies the talent and impressive respect for power and melody in the band. This is a great step forward for the band and further cements their place and (hopefully) longevity in the Canadian metal scene.
(Sonic Unyon Metal – Canada; Nuclear Blast – rest of world)