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Threshold - Subsurface CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.97 | 284 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I was blown away by this album. First of all the lyrics deal with idea's rarely to be found on a prog album. Even though this is not a concept album, most of the lyrics are handling the influences of media on everyday's life : "and this is how we live our lives : our opium is televised." Besides this the lyrics are adjusted to the music. Everything sounds perfectly in place. The music is in the same vein of the previous Threshold albums and the production work is equally impressive. When compared to earlier releases, it's still prog metal, all the usual ingredients are present. Only the symphonic and atmospheric elements are emphasised more into the sound. Especially the sound of the keyboards are more to the fore. This leaves a rather accessible sound though it may take some time for newcomers to get into the music. Being not familiar with prog metal it took me some spins for appreciating this album. After a while I deceived the cold sounding guitar riffs and I discovered the beautiful melodies, the intelligent lyrics and the skilful musicianship. The melody lines are less exuberant when compared to other metal acts or earlier Threshold efforts but not less effective. Maybe the band members have aged a bit, learning from the past and ready for the next level of song writing : "It's growing colder, I'm growing older, my summer's over and it's time to face the fall". The song writing on this album is really top notch. I can't point out one flaw. Every track is simply perfect. It's been years since I enjoyed an album like I enjoyed this one even though some of the idea's in the lyrics aren't mine. The first time I heard the album it reminded me on the commercial heyday of a band like Europe. Especially on a melodic tune like the chorus of "Flag of footprints". That band use to have the same kind of polished production and dubbed vocals. The difference is that Europe was a Pop/aor band with simplified compositions that I never really enjoyed anyway. There's a deep emotional level in "subsurface" but it takes some time to discover it. Personal favourites are the title track and the semi-ballad "The destruction of words" but again, it's hard to pick out one song. The title track is the perfect example of how the music emphasis the power of the lyrical idea's. There's something transcending in the meaning of that lyric : "all I do reflects on you, now can you feel the pressure ? " You can notice this in the sound of the dubbed vocals and the astral sounding keys. Those harmonic vocals are splattered all over the album and I wonder how the band manages to do the live shows. Despite this, this is a hell of a energetic track with an sing a long tune which I can't get out of my head. "the destruction of words" may sound cold and calculated at first but later on you learn to appreciate the meaning of sentences like "truth is sublime but talk is just a waste of time and all that's left is you". In the end this turns out to be a romantic song. The art of reason" is the most lengthy track but you can hardly notice it due to the compelling atmosphere. Like most of the tracks on this album, the music is dominated by the extended vocal parts.

All in all, a great album that I can recommend to any lover of energetic prog rock/metal. It may need some spins but after a while you'll get pure enjoyment.

Fishy | 4/5 |


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