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Threshold - Critical Mass CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.07 | 273 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Critical Mass is the bands follow up to the highly impressive Hypothetical, and would prove to be the final album with bassist Jon Jeary, a founding member, to perform on.

I was really impressed by the bands previous release, Hypothetical, and was hoping for something to really raise the bar here. Unfortunately I find that this album is lacking in some areas. The most obvious of this is the production. To put it simply, I find this album to be overproduced with the result being that the life is sucked out of the songs on here. The guitars, keyboards, bass and drums all sound too clinical with any emotion being drained not from the way it was performed but from the way it sounds. Macs voice is the only part of the album that doesn't seem to have suffered from this and he is on fine form here. This is the albums biggest problem and makes it hard to derive much enjoyment from it.

Its not all bad, however. Lyrically this is a very strong album, using very catchy wording and strong melody with themes mostly based on the depredations of man. Though the content doesn't seem to change much, I find that it doesn't bother me as the way its worded here is brilliant, a feature that seems to have been a common strength to Threshold for some time.

Musically it follows a similar pattern to previous Threshold albums. Strong melodies to back up the lyrics interspersed with some really nice instrumental sections and powerful solos, mainly from guitarist Karl Groom. If your looking for the more complex form of Prog-metal your not likely to find it here, most of the work is of a more simple nature based around a solid riff but there are most certainly a few sections that really do stand out, things like interesting bass runs and chord changes.

However, because of the poor production on this album, much of the feeling that they tried to create in parts has been lost, which is a huge shame. Of the songs themselves, Echoes of Life is the best song on the album in my opinion. It builds up nicely and has the albums most interesting instrumental section in the middle of it. The title track, Critical Mass, is a big disappointment here. The music just seems like a clichéd way of building up an epic and I don't think that the acoustic outro really works here, though its not too bad. It just leaves you with the feeling that it was an ad-hoc attempt at creating something special that they didn't achieve.

Overall this is a nice album that should have been very strong. Many of the songs are rather good with Echoes of Life being a clear stand out and Critical Mass a clear disappointment (there's always one, isn't there). The biggest problem here is the production that has really sucked any soul from this album, with the exception of Macs voice. If your new to Threshold I would highly recommend that you start with the much better Hypothetical before trying Critical Mass, which is an album with the question of what could have been left hanging over it. An album with good material that wasn't made the most of, so 3 stars.

sleeper | 3/5 |


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