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On disc: Threshold

- Hypothetical - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars
- Critical Mass - Amir Djawadi - 7 stars
- Dead Reckoning - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars
- The Ravages Of Time - Claudia Ehrhardt - 10 stars

The Ravages Of Time

The Ravages Of Time
(InsideOut Music - 2007)

With The Ravages Of Time the power prog heroes Threshold release their first Best-Of CD, a double CD with 20 tracks which present their whole career. The band was founded back in 1988 by Karl Groom and Nick Midson. First they played cover versions as so many bands, but soon started writing their own songs and signed the dotted line with Avalanche Records, later with InsideOut Music and now they are signed to Nuclear Blast.
This best-of double CD has songs from all their studio albums split up on 2 CDs. On CD 1 you get songs from Hypothetical (2001) up the their latest studio album Dead Reckoning which was released earlier this year. While on CD 2 the early years covered. Some songs are radio edits and so even interesting for long time fans, coz these versions partly haven't been released before. The early years also give the chance to hear the best songs of their different singers while on CD 1 only Andrew 'Mac' McDermott (Yargos, ex-Sargant Fury) is featured who joined the band in 1998 and recorded with Threshold their last 5 studio albums and one live album. But songs from Clone - the first one with Mac - are on CD 2 (The Early Years). After almost 20 years, 8 studio albums and 2 live albums it's time for a best-of!
Threshold toured frequently as headliners - their first tour ever was a co-headliner tour with Conception - and only in 1995 they supported for a few shows Dream Theater. It's unusual for a band to play mainly headliner shows and don't support bigger names to expand their audience. But Threshold preferred to play as headliners, even if that meant to play smaller places. Bands like Dream Theater and Symphony X probably are the more famous bands, but Threshold is in my opinion still underrated. Not in the prog scene, but with their powerful prog metal they aren't just interesting for prog fans. Perhaps with this best-of more metal fans will check out the band... But the DCD is also interesting for fans who aren't following the band from their early days, coz it gives a good idea about the early works. And in a way this release is also closing a chapter, coz Andrew 'Mac' McDermott left the band just a few months ago.
This double CD is a kind of inventory after almost 20 years and even if at the moment it's uncertain who will be the singer of Threshold, one thing is for sure - this isn't the last sign from Threshold! Karl Groom will be back! Meanwhile enjoy this collection of great songs!

CD 1: The Latter Years

Slipstream (radio edit)
Light And Space
Mission Profile
Falling Away
The Ravages Of Time
Pressure (radio edit)
The Art Of Reason
Pilot In The Sky Of Dreams (radio edit)

CD 2: The Former Years

The Latent Gene
A Tension Of Souls
Eat The Unicorn
Consume To Live
Exposed (radio edit)
Sanity's End
The Whispering
Voyager II

10 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


Dead Reckoning

Dead Reckoning
(Nuclear Blast - 2007)

With Dead Reckoning the British present their 8th studio album and again they delivered a fantastic piece of music. They already are one of the top bands of prog metal's premier league - and in a stunning form! What makes them special is that they are able to great music on a high level with progressive elements, metal riffs and hook lines you won't easily forget. So they are a band which not just addresses the prog metal fans, they appeal also melodic rock / metal fans
Slipstream is the opener and documents their music very well. Catchy, memorable melodies, heavy riffs, well structured and with Dan Swanö's growls they add a surprising element which builds a counter part to Mac's intriguing vocals. Be aware, this is highly addictive! Same can be said about This Is Your Life with it's catchy chorus.
With Elusive they get a bit heavier... Aggressive riffing forces them ahead. The chorus is very melodic, but not as memorable... But who cares? A great song which only needs a little more time to develop. Slowly and only with piano and vocals starts Pilot In The Sky Of Dreams... A bit melancholy... dreamy... enchanting. But then it get's a bit more powerful... And with synthesizer sounds and heavy riffs they go on - like they have hope again. A monumental piece with is almost 10 min. long and the quintet creates different atmospheres. Wow, what a song!
Luckily the label change had no negative effect on Threshold, they still follow their chosen path. But perhaps with Nuclear Blast they will reach more people... And get the chance to tour more extensively... I don't want to minimize what InsideOut Music did for them and is still doing for prog rock / metal, but a company like Nuclear Blast might be able to bring Threshold to the next level... Commercially, coz technically they already on top level!

9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


Critical Mass

Critical Mass
(InsideOut Music - 2004)

Okay, England isn't the center of the progressive metal world, but this CD is a high class release from the U.K.! It's the latest release of Threshold which is called Critical Mass. The album opener Phenomenon is a killer! This song sneaks into your brain and the catchy one stays there. The voice of 'Mac' takes you easily into other spheres; also the music of the British sextet is airy.
The main creatively work - as well as the job as a producer and mixer - is guitarist Karl Groom and keyboarder Richard West. The second guitar is played by Nick Midson and Jon Jeary on bass. The skins are hit by Johanne James. The album has 8 tracks (the last one is the title track Critical Mass which is build in three parts!) and impresses through the high musical density and intensity. Also the second track Choices is convincing through it's catchiness which puts the listener under a spell. Threshold have delivered several more then decent albums in the past, put this release is the best output of the British progsters so far. This disk will make the position of the band on the European progressive metal market much stronger.
After buying this album the decision to see them live on tour in October 2002 here in Europe is easily done and live they will convincingly present the material on stage!

7 stars

Amir Djawadi
(translation: Claudia Ehrhardt)



(InsideOut Music - 2001)

The albums of the British progsters are always different to the predecessor. With Hypothetical they found a way to take the best out of every album and combine it. The eight songs have power, complex prog parts and they are catchy at the same time! On Hypothetical it's obvious that Andrew 'Mac' MacDermott was right to join the band and Karl Groom & mates can be happy to have the former Sargant Fury singer in the band!
With songs like Light & Space, Turn On Tune In or Oceanborn the band can reach people outside the prog metal community. This album is a huge step forward for them. If they now get the chance to present Threshold to a bigger audience, they can be on their way to shake the prog metal throne and to conquer it one day!
It's a masterpiece!

9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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