Release DetailsLABEL Gomek Records
RELEASED ON 1/1/2006
posted on 1/2006 By:
Solid metal bands aren’t exactly common here in the fine province of Ontario. We’ve got more than our fair share of pretentious indie rock, bland metalcore, and heartrending emo, but when it comes to the balls-out ferocity of genuine metal, the scene is sorely lacking. Our French-Canadian neighbors in Quebec have us beat hands-down, boasting extreme metal legends Cryptopsy, death metal mainstays Quo Vadis, deathcore specialists Despised Icon, and A Perfect Murder, who with their last album became quite adept at impersonating Pantera.
Enter Threat Signal, a band from the Steel City (Hamilton) that sounds like a seamless blend of Meshuggah, Pantera, and A Predator’s Portrait-era Soilwork. Saviors of the Ontario metal scene? With a demo like this and a debut full-length due out on Nuclear Blast early this year, they may well be.
Rational Eyes is comprised of four songs that pull off neo-thrash with an intensity that’s rarely heard on independently produced demos. The Meshuggah influence is readily apparent around ten seconds into opener “Rational Eyes”, with chugging syncopated riffs backed by technical off-beat kick work. “One Last Breath” sees the band change their method of attack from mid-paced crunch to all-out speed (Soilwork’s Chainheart Machine comes to mind here), while “A New Beginning” is the catchiest song, displaying singer Jon Howard’s vocal range at its best, and also showing guitarists Kyle McKnight and Rich Howard’s ability to write a massive chorus riff. Closer “Inane” was the only tune that didn’t grab me right away, but it managed to redeem itself with an incredibly smooth and Dimebag-esque solo around the midway point. The production on this disc is also of note, as the quality (especially in the tone of the guitars) is on par or just slightly below the majority of major releases – pretty amazing for something that the band did themselves. What’s most impressive about the recording, however, is just how tight the band sounds. Despite working with some very odd time signatures, each member is razor-sharp in their playing; it would be interesting to see whether they’re capable of performing the songs with the same degree of accuracy live as shown here.
Threat Signal is without a doubt a young band worthy of keeping a close eye on and I have high hopes that their first full-length will be one of the better surprises of 2006.
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