I can imagine all of the FEAR FACTORY comparisons THREAT SIGNAL earned with their debut, "Under Reprisal", and the band's subsequent involvement with FF off-shoot ARKAEA must have swerved the Canada-based act away from adopting more of a "factory-friendly" sound on their newest effort. Well, that and the fact that vocalist Jon Howard is the only remaining member that actually played on the album. Regardless, "Vigilance" sees a noticeable shift in direction from THREAT SIGNAL, but one that sees them retaining many of the same elements heard on the debut at the same time.In a nutshell, "Vigilance" offers less FEAR FACTORY derived cyber-thrash and more of the SOILWORK-inspired elements we heard last time around. That would be all well and good were that aggressive attack that made "Under Reprisal" such a throat-grabber not been replaced with a more formulaic approach. Though solid tunes, much of this disc follows that time honored tradition of following a driving and thrashy verse with a melodic chorus. Stepping into this comfort zone did little more than take what personality THREAT SIGNAL had and stick it on a shelf at your local Hot Topic. Aside from the initial impact of opener "Afterlife", I failed to hear much separation among until the brief acoustic outro on "United We Stand". "Beyond Recognition" threatens to do some damage with its rapid-fire melodeath slant and an ear-catching array of melodic lead work and acoustic guitar during "Another Source Of Light" (and the opening seconds of "Lost") show some skill at the other end of the spectrum, but it's at this point that "Vigilance" starts to lose steam. Had THREAT SIGNAL trimmed some of the fat off of this release and placed more focus on making the good moments even better, "Vigilance" would have made much more of an overall impact. As it stands, with thirteen very similar tracks, this is album that tends to go back to the well a few too many times. While it does prove THREAT SIGNAL to be a band that can survive the most drastic of roster changes and still deliver a respectable, yet not very memorable, effort. There are a handful of parts here that give me hope for what this line-up can produce once they settle into themselves, they just aren't there yet.
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