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Threshold – Dead Reckoning

Label: Nuclear Blast USA
Format: CD
Released: 2007
Reviewed By: Rich Catino


England’s Threshold (this their eighth studio album), combine equal parts of big arena rock type hooks and vocal harmonies with progressive passages and changes to, in a way, create their own sound and add some spice to the progressive genre. With a first listen to opening track 'Slipstream' and its catchy melody, driving riffs and solid rhythm section (the track also includes a couple properly placed deep vocal growls for effect) I had a feeling the rest of the disc was gonna be good. I was not wrong. Vocalist Andrew "Mac" McDermott reminds at times of those early 80’s arena rock singers from bands like Boston, Foreigner, and Journey where the voice takes center stage of the recording and the music behind it really brings out tone and emotion.

 

'Pilot in the Sky of Dreams' is a gem, clearly a highlight on the record and may be hot on the heels Dream Theater set on "Images and Words" given its level of both dynamics and musicianship. Well let me re phrase that, Threshold are in the same building as far as talented players yes but not nearly as intricate or acrobatic as DT’s usual fare. 'Pilot' begins as a ballad and effortlessly morphs into a progressive energetic rocker. Excellent excellent stuff that sounds fresh and inspiring. Really I love when I find a band that can write songs that are not only memorable but equally challenging and interesting musically.

'Fighting for Breath' follows with a darker more aggressive riffing pattern, lead breaks are sick, even those keyboards are a bit ominous and has a bit of a different energy than the rest of the tracks. 'Disappear' is also a strong rocker, a bit more contemporary with a Disturbed like drum beat carrying the rhythm and solid as hell, I like the variety this one provides. 'This is Your Life' also carries that more rhythmic drum pattern as do the guitar riffs akin to Disturbed. You get a little dual guitar leads here also. 'Safe to Fly' is misleading with an almost balladesque chorus yet heavy and dark in parts.

No two songs sound the same and I found myself waiting to hear what was next in each arrangement. After listening to the whole disc, Threshold I put up there with similar younger hopefuls Circus Maximus and Stride as all three bands effortlessly combine arena rock chorus’ with excellent musicianship, taking progressive metal into the future and maybe out of just the diehard prog listener’s heart into more mainstream ears.

 
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