Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Review: Threat Signal – Under Reprisal (2006)

Threat Signal debuted a few years ago with “Under Reprisal,” a masterpiece if I do say so myself. Threat Signal is an experience second to none and, when compared to all 285+ artists in my personal library, no one comes close. Echoing my sentiments for Sweden’s Scar Symmetry, I cannot find anyone else to match the ferocity of Canada’s Threat Signal.

The opening track, ‘Rational Eyes,’ is an in-your-face assault, mixed with hard riffs, great screams, great drumming, and great melodic vocal work from lead Jon Howard. Yes, it’s melodic death metal, which is quite possibly my favourite genre and this CD is quite possible my one favourite out of everything I have.

‘As I Destruct’ opens like an off-time mess (no qualms here!) and ‘One Last Breath’ opens with a shotgun blast before unloading its melodic beauty through your speakers.

‘Seeing Red’ is a fun and quick song but it’s the fifth track, one ‘A New Beginning’ that I vote the best track on the album. Not just because it’s the first song I heard from them on their mySpace, but because it’s perfect. Opening with a light intro, the real meat of the song is Howard’s screaming and the thick riffs behind him. The track is 4 ½ minutes of delicious goodness, with hard bass thumps that will rock your trunk if you have a good set-up in your car.

Following is ‘Counterbalance,’ another damn good song, and after that is ‘Inane,’ a close tie for first when it comes to the album’s greatest song. Clocking in at over six minutes, ‘Inane’ is all screams until around 2 ½ minutes in, when the vocals end and the guitar work by McKnight and Rich Howard take over. The outro is over three minutes long and is all solos and riffs. Each time I listen to this track, I question my vote for best song.

‘Now’ and ‘Faceless,’ while good, are somewhat forgettable for me. ‘Haunting’ is a great track but mainly because the demo I heard of it before I purchased the CD stuck with me so well. The closer, ‘When All is Said and Done’ is simply magnificent.

Threat Signal debuts strong with “Under Reprisal,” which I consider one of the greatest works I have in my collection. The band, though, has suffered quite the line-up change in losing their guitarist McKnight and their drummer. We’ll just have to wait and see what the band has to offer when their follow-up, “Vigilance,” drops this August.

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