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Threshold - Subsurface  CD (album) cover

SUBSURFACE

Threshold

 

Progressive Metal

3.94 | 196 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Vanwarp
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The emphasis here is on more coherent song structures and catchy melodies. Subsurface is another concept album of sorts which ultimately questions the problems facing our society. The lyrics cover a wide variety of subjects surrounding the decline of our society, the question of power and influence is looked at closely, for instance is what we see on TV always the truth and if what we do or what the people in power do is really what "we" want them to do? The concept here is quite simple, where are "we" heading?

"Subsurface" is an outstanding effort by a progressive metal band from the UK that, in my view, have been in Dream Theater's shadow far to long.

The band lays everything out on the floor with the opening "Mission Profile." The plan has been explained and we all know where this is all heading now. Aggressive melodic guitar lines, strong vocals, syncopated rhythm patterns and some clear moments of musical improvisations with some splendid solos, all the ingredients for a strong progressive metal album.

Sample lyrics to "Mission Profile":

"disillusion is always possible but we've got propaganda mass confusion is always better than the threat of understanding we'll deceive you we've got so many ways to make you stand behind us if we need to we'll use them on ourselves to constantly remind us

there is just one lie that we can still defend we've started something we can never end

we know although we try to justify the means the truth behind the end remains unseen and while we all assume we all agree we're giving up the freedom to be free"

"Opium" opens with a guitar solo, the band clearly moving into heavy metal territory. This is one of the highlights on the album with a brilliant vocal performance by Andrew McDermott. Excellent heavy metal vibe here with interesting syncopated rhythm patterns in the mid section and awesome lead guitar work. Sample lyrics:

"they'll print it on the front page to synthesise an outrage but all we find is a decoy once again duplicity and trickery surround us till all believe there is no other way"

In fact, the album is full of thought provoking lyrics and interesting musical moments with piano and other keyboards included to very good atmospheric effect and some great guitar work throughout.

On another note, not many progressive bands venture into power ballad territory but that is exactly what we get with "Flags and Footprints" and "Destruction of Words." With the softer moments on the album, I'm also reminded of Evergrey, another band that effectively combines progressive elements with heavy metal influences and the occasional power ballad in their music.

"Static" is my FAV track on the album. It has an excellent heavy metal vibe! This song reveals much about who "we" are, sample lyrics:

"I meditated I medicated I made a promise but I broke it every day annihilated I violated all that was given me I choked it all away"

I've had a little more time to review this album and although I would have initially given this album a 5 star rating, my final recommendation and rating must in all fairness reflect the ratings I've given each song. Perhaps 4 and one half stars would be most accurate, but Prog Archives doesn't allow half star ratings. So, it was a tough decision but I rounded the score down to 4 stars.

Vanwarp | 4/5 |

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