Review Summary: An album that is heavy, positively heavy.
It’s not every day that listeners will experience a metalcore act that is both refreshing and an interesting listen. There is however times where this ‘interesting listen’ will blend from track to track as some songs begin to sound ‘too’ similar. Features of Under Reprisal show great levels of promise for a genre that is losing its impact on the musical scene. Threat Signal display a very death metal, somewhat industrial approach to their metalcore workings that benefits the overall sound of the album. This should lift the overall reception of the album.
Threat Signal’s sound is far from unique but what lifts the records overall quality is the instrumentation used throughout. The sheer intensity shown by the members of the band shown in tracks such as ‘Rational Eyes’ and ‘One Last Breath’ display a higher level of creative song writing reinforcing the bands personal potential and the music they produce. Intensity is a big part of the Threat Signal recipe and this is also seen in the instrumentation on the album. Mixing heavy with melodic sounds as overused as the metalcore genre itself but what we have here on this record is a quality balance between the two, makes for an interesting listen. Impressively when considering the instrumentation of the group the guitar work comes to the fore front of the listeners’ musical minds. The guitar work creates an interest for the listener that should create multiple listens and should be looked into further. Following those guitar lines is the well executed drum work of one George Parfitt. The triggered bass kicks are clear and quick without having a too annoying ‘click’ sound. This ensures that nothing too much is taken from the music whilst keeping the quality at a steady level.
One feature that will either be seen as a high point or in the other scenario a low point is that of the vocal workings of Jon Howard. The vocals changes techniques during tracks adding to the bands recorded diversity and maintaining interest for the listener. His vocal range includes harsh raspy screams, strained clean vocals and growls (sometimes deep) that effectively contribute to the down tunings of the instruments in a positive manner. The vocals should be looked at in a positive light however considering how some of the higher registered screams can be overdone sounding strangled while at the same time losing its intensity. The vocals combined with the sometimes repetitive nature of some tracks do lower the overall listen ability of the studio released album and lose the interest of the listener remarkably.
In conclusion the band has released a steady, if somewhat blending debut album. Under Reprisal is heavy but not very innovative creating a steady, consistent listen without attracting too much interest or playbacks. The guitar and drum work is highly commendable and should be looked at with more depth before simply dismissing the instrumentation. While other listeners will be troubled by the vocals, whichever way that goes it is simply up to the listener. Under Reprisal is an album that is heavy, positively heavy.