"Under Reprisal"

(Nuclear Blast)

01. Rational Eyes
02. As I Destruct
03. One Last Breath
04. Seeing Red
05. A New Beginning
06. Counter Balance
07. Inane
08. Now
09. Faceless
10. Haunting
11. When All is Said and Done

RATING: 7.5/10

One moment you're a demo-band making big waves on, the next you're signed to Nuclear Blast and FEAR FACTORY's Christian Olde Wolbers is producing your debut album. Such is the life of Toronto's THREAT SIGNAL, five determined musicians whose "Under Reprisal" album may not make anyone forget about FEAR FACTORY and SOILWORK, but will sure as hell have fans of either band loving what the Canadian act has concocted.

"Under Reprisal" takes the syncopated riff/drum thunder of FEAR FACTORY, the Swedish melodic thrash of SOILWORK, a bit of STRAPPING YOUNG LAD's futuristic atmosphere, and even a pinch of MESHUGGAH rhythmic power to create a consistently heavy and catchy collection of songs. What you will not hear is a departure from the patented formula of extreme brutality on the verses and clean/melodic choruses. What you will hear is a band that plays with passion, tightness, and conviction. In other words, the boys are damn good at what they do. Right from the start, "Rational Eyes" kicks one in the face with the thick, rubbery, and lockstep delivery that is characteristic of FEAR FACTORY and recent SOILWORK. Christian Olde Wolbers' production gives it a BIG sound and makes a good album even better. Working your way through tracks like "As I Destruct", "One Last Breath", and "Seeing Red", the heavy-to-melodic delivery may be formulaic, but it is a formula that works every time. There are a few slight departures on tracks such as "Inane", owing mainly to tempo variation and lighter sections.

And the players burn awfully hot here. Guitarists Kyle McKnight and Rich Howard haven't reinvented the riffs, but the ones that come flying out of the speakers are full of chunky aggression. The use of guitar solos throughout are not only ripping, but go a long way toward making the arrangements that much more dynamic. Vocalist Jon Howard is a versatile one. His bark has bite, his melodic vocals soar, and his screams will peel paint; the guy just plain sings his ass off. Considering the aforementioned comparisons, it won't surprise anyone that the rhythm section of drummer George Parfitt and bassist Marco Bressette could bust up concrete.

So what else do you really need to know? "Under Reprisal" is catchy, well played, and tough as nails. Unless you're looking for surprises, this one should do the trick for any fan of the style.


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