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Threshold - Subsurface CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.93 | 246 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Prog Team
5 stars Given that the band had only recently released their wonderful live CD and DVD 'Critical Energy', I hadn't realised that a new studio album was going to follow so quickly in 2004. Again, this has now been reissued as a 'Definitive Edition' by Nuclear Blast and contains one new song plus two live versions. By this time one of the original quartet had departed, with bassist Jon Jeary being replaced by Steve Anderson who is still there in the current line-up in 2013, still linking in with powerful drummer Johanne James. Nick Midson and Karl Groom provide the metal riffs, while Richard West again either supports or rides melodic roughshod over the top of the maelstrom with some great keyboard lines. Add to that the great vocals of Mac and you have one of the finest metal bands from the UK scene. At the time you wouldn't have read as much about them in the 'normal' press as others because they pursue a lone furrow in prog metal: music that can be brutally heavy, yet maintain strange time signatures and melodic twists.

"Mission Profile" opens proceedings ? one of the more up tempo numbers on the album, and one thing that really kicks home from the opening note is the quality of the production: this is an album that can be played extremely loudly, that sounds polished but not sanitised. For me the second song, "Ground Control", has to be one of the best for defining Threshold. It is riff-laden, yet also contains some strong keyboards, loads of harmony vocals, gentle and quiet sections that are then offset with passion and Mac shouting, "How can you face the future?" At times there is almost a syncopated rhythm and always there is a definite feel that this is like nothing else around yet is also wonderfully powerful and melodic.

This is music that may not be fashionable but sure as hell is strong stuff. Yes they can bring in acoustic guitars when they want to, yes they can bring in loads of influences but these guys really don't sound like anyone else. Simple ideas are used as well as the complex. At the end of "Stop Dead" Mac again sings the line "Well if you stop, dead" and the song does, totally. The first time it happened I actually stared at the player because it was so dramatic, not a good idea when you are bombing around the M25?.I ought to also mention the cover. The word on the TV says 'REFLECT', but look at the reflection and that states 'CONCEAL'. Again, this is a simple idea, but is extremely effective. This is an indispensable album.

kev rowland | 5/5 |


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