Threat Signal

Threat Signal

Written by: PP on 27/10/2011 04:58:21

Despite the modern death metal backdrop in all Threat Signal songs on their third, self-titled studio album, I can't get it out of my head how closely vocalist Jon Howard's polished scream resembles that of Chester Bennington of Linkin Park fame on their older albums. It does so to such an extent that whenever the chorus arrives in "Comatose", it feels like the entire song changes from death metal into nu-metal, or at the very least mainstream-oriented radio metal. Despite the metal scene's hatred for Linkin Park, that need not be a negative trait, which it isn't either on "Threat Signal", although the metallers aren't going to like what I'm about to discuss for the rest of the review.

You see, Threat Signal are playing in the wrong genre. Though more than competent in each of their instruments, their modern death metal soundscape - the pummeling riffs, the technically proficient solos, and the standard growls - is painfully average. The band have almost no identity nor character in this department, which the mechanical big-budget production tries to remedy in vain. If anything, it makes it clear that the death metal on "Threat Signal" is soulless, lacks conviction and natural feeling (which my colleague EW always champions), falling well short of their more successful peers in the genre. Its packed with riffs which, while technical, come across as mediocre and uninspired throughout. The same goes for the death metal growling which Howard uses as his predominant weapon. There are simply far better bands playing this exact style of death metal than these Canadians throughout this album.

But here's the but, and it's a significant but: the nu-metallish, hard-rock inspired choruses are infectiously catchy when the band shifts into Linkin Park mode and simplifies both their instrumentation and the melodies involved. "Trust In None", "Face The Day", "Disposition" and "Comatose" are all good examples of that. It makes me wonder how much better "Threat Signal" would be if it saw the band playing slightly more ambitious alternative metal / nu-metal than Linkin Park, only with a modern and refreshing twist to it. Unfortunately, there's literally no way to convince their technically advanced guitarists to stick with something that simple and that un-metal, so instead we're likely to hear more mediocre pummeling in the future as well.

Download: Comatose, Trust In You, Disposition
For the fans of: Divine Heresy, Mnemic, Lamb Of God, Linkin Park
Listen: Myspace

Release date 07.10.2011
Nuclear Blast


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