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Threshold - Critical Mass  CD (album) cover

CRITICAL MASS

Threshold

 

Progressive Metal

4.06 | 199 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Vanwarp
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Critical Mass is Threshold's sixth studio album since their debut released in 1993. Everything a prog metal album should contain is here: some lengthy tracks and unpredictable song structures, powerful guitar riffs with both guitar and keyboard solos, awesome technical drum work, several atmospheric instrumental passages, beautiful vocal harmonies throughout the album, it's all here for your enjoyment and it's all very pleasing to the ears.

Where Threshold's Critical Mass differs a bit from other prog metal music is the melancholic feel of this album as a whole. Being a fan of melancholic music, I have been very impressed with this recurring saddened theme throughout this album and their last release in 2001: Hypothetical. As a matter of fact, this "darker" more soothing prog metal style appeals to me. Take the title track for instance, the lyrics explore quantum physics, and anybody who knows anything about quantum physics and "critical mass" will fully understand what happens when one reaches "critical mass!" The analogy between quantum physics and the human condition is obvious.

The music on this album is easy to get into. Andrew McDermott commandeers all microphone duties and sings with a clear, mid-range voice. There are several smooth and beautiful lead guitar solos that truly standout. There's some nice twin guitar work and some wonderful bass lines. Not overly aggressive and never monotonous, the album moves along nicely. As on most prog metal albums, the production is crystal clear and flawless. The album is full of fascinating, intelligent, complex songs.

The band earns high marks for their consistent display of strong melodies and smart musical arrangements that are spread out throughout the album. In addition, the band ends the album softly with acoustic guitars and Mac's impressive vocal performance ends in a soft voice singing these last few lines:

"I was awake I was asleep, I never had anything that I could keep, I was asleep I was awake, I never broke anything I couldn't make, but...I've only just found it, It's slipping away and there's nothing I can do."

The album ends abruptly on "nothing I can do." Very effective moment, nice touch and at close to 14 minutes in length, "Critical Mass" is a fine example of what a good prog metal song should be. Simply a great ending to a fine prog metal album.

Those of you lucky enough to get a Limited Edition copy will benefit from the following features:

Extended booklet and slipcase, a bonus CD single featuring "Phenomenon" (edit), "Do Unto Them" (non-album track), "New Beginning" (non-album track), and a Multimedia section featuring: Documentary video, Studio video footage and diary, Screensaver, Musician pages, Exclusive photos, artwork and demo recordings. Wow!

Vanwarp | 4/5 |

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