Review Summary: Fans of the band might find it a bit different, but just try to enjoy the mind numbing metal.
Receiving a respectable amount of success after their 2006 release Under Reprisal, Threat Signal began touring with various heavy weight bands such as: Darkest Hour, All That Remains, and Protest the Hero. The style of industrial/metalcore music began to be heard by various listeners, furthering the bands reputation. Now with a complete line-up change, with the exception of vocalist Jon Howard, sought the need for a follow-up album. While Jon Howard was working with ex-members of Fear Factory to release an album for Arkaea, skeptics believed if the same repetitive feel of Years in the Darkness was going to be shown in Threat Signal's sophomore release Vigilance. Repetitive and regurgitated is what we heard, and that is what we got. This uninteresting thought of an album took every unique, novel idea from Under Reprisal and threw it to the pigs.
The first track, Afterlife, already shows a courteous amount of variance from its predecessor. More thrash metal and Jon's vocal work being less raspy compared to most of Threat Signal's work. The industrial sound, which has been the contrasting point from similarities with other bands in metalcore, is still present. The sound is great, however becomes dull because of the excessive use throughout the album. The constant pattern of: Intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo/breakdown, chorus with outro, makes the album endless, begging the listener for something different. Through My Eyes, the album's first single, has familiar riffs, Although catchy it has been done before. Following it, The Beginning of the End, contains the albums only proper solo. This would be the stand-out track to this album among many metalcore type songs. Although other tracks from Vigilance do bring something new to the table. Hate Machine, Lost, and Afterlife all contain more of a ‘thrashier' metal feel to it. Another Source of Light is also the "epic" ballad contained in most metal albums. Problem is that it seems like Threat Signal tried to bunch up various groupings of metal into one album which makes it feel clustered.
Jon's vocal work has evidently changed between albums but the outcome is undecided whether good or bad. Guitarists Adam Weber and Travis Montgomery keep a nice rhythmic pattern, interweaving the rhythm and lead quite well. Although the skill of the lead is overshadowed by previous lead guitarist Kyle McKnight. The drum patterns seem less-varied in comparison to there earlier work. Technicality of the band as a whole is still pretty consistent, but there are other bands such as Born of Osiris, August Burns Red or Misery Signals, that have shown a lot more progression. Lyrics as a whole has more of a generic feeling to it. "Suffocate our will to survive / eliminate the choice and divide us." Nothing thought provoking, just good ol' mind numbing metal.
By no means am I saying that this is a bad album, however it was a big disappointed. The formula for Under Reprisal worked. Somewhat repetitive but it was abstract art. With a massive line-up change it was predictable that things were going to take a nose dive. I'm proud to say that I come from Hamilton, like Threat Signal, because you should support hometown music. Most fans will see this as an upset or a failure but certain bands need it to progress into something better. Most of the problem deals with production. Vigilance's production was done by Howard, while Under Reprisal was mixed and varied. Most was still done by Howard, but his cousin Richard, who was the backing vocals and bassist, along with McKnight, produced most of the songs. It takes a toll in the long run. I can't make much of a comment about the bands growth as a whole because of the change of members, but if Threat Signal want to hit it big, they have to stick to their guns and find members who are willing to stay for the long run.