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5 stars For me this is their masterpiece that hardly can be compared with anything else. It is abundant in progressive melodies to such extent, that it takes much time to conceive its essence with infinite layers of thoughts, feelings and messages. The deepest and profoundest lyrics, cosmic harmonies in combination with the most beautiful and melodious voice of Damian Wilson, transcend all the others known musical forms. This album brings plenty of unique composing ideas, intellectual base for spiritually oriented as well as strong emotional solos that can reach the most vacant souls. Threshold's music is the highest point of artistic creation, it is perfection that can not be overtaken, and we have the privilege to be witnesses of its affirmation.
Report this review (#7256)
Posted Thursday, November 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars I was very happy to finally get to know better the so-called high hopes of UK metal: Threshold. Their latest albums made a lot of ruckuss and some songs I heard made me hungry and excited...


Threshold's roots are more similar to what they're doing now than I thought. Oh there's PLENTY of heavy riffs a la Mirrors (Dream Theater) know, da-da-dum da-da-dum.

But da-da-dum da-da-dum for 67 minutes makes you realized that's the same is ahead of this album. Threshold needed much more maturity, especially in the melody and keyboard departement. If they wanted to compete with Dream Theater that year they blew it. Even Images and Words eats this one up in a blink in terms of diversity. This is a very monochromic album....but!

Many songs are working for me. They are dynamic but lacks colors. This sounds like a butchered and rushed product. But the more you listen to it, the more that idea tends to disappear. I think being cold and squarish is definitely Threshold's calling card. Remains a high degree of originality in their minimizing approach. Threshold is a well oiled machine, the guitarists are provinding a 'motor feeling' way of playing. The sound is so tight and cold, it really feels like listening to a machine, in the same vein of Rammstein. I heard this is what they did best with Damian Wilson. Okay, nothing to be really excited about for me, but a real metal masher will enjoy the non-theatrical approach. No make-up, no explosions, no lonely barbarian warrior plot, no vocal pyrotecnics, no lush synthetisers, no mystical lyrics. Just a very sturdy black and white sound.

Still a very acceptable record though, far away from every clichés of metal progressive rock.

Report this review (#7257)
Posted Tuesday, January 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my personal favorite from the British prog legends! Everything on this album is close to perfection: great vocals from Damian Wilson, original and melodic musical arrangements and really original sound that stands for unique even nowadays (almost ten years later!). Album is one well-done entirety, but even so it offers couple of hit-songs like: Eat the Unicorn, Virtual Illusion and The Whispering. You cannot go wrong if you decide to buy this album!

If you buy special edition of the album, you will get some bonus material: great ballad "Mansion" and radio edits of "Exposed" and "Virtual Isolation".

Report this review (#7258)
Posted Tuesday, January 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the one for me. Definitely the bands pre-Mac masterpiece. Damian Wilsons vocals are untouchable, the musicianship and songwriting are top quality. Five star ratings should be, and indeed with me are, very seldom given, but this does it for me every time. I cannot think of one moment on the album that I dislike. Favourite tracks....well if i had to chose it would be between Life Flow, Virtual Isolation, Somatography & Eat The Unicorn (download now!).
Report this review (#7259)
Posted Tuesday, January 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This record is a progressive metal album, where the main attraction is the razor rhythmic guitar, which has a very good metal sound! The 2 guitarists here definitely know how to sound like real metal, never being alternative! The guitars are very varied: they also consist in catchy & clean distortion-free notes, a bit like the Queensryche of the 80's. Even the solos are elaborated enough to sound like the ones in the 80's: it is good to learn that there are still guitarists who are able to fine-tune their sound; it is not surprising since one of the guitarists, Karl Groom, played for Shadowland. The highly pitched lead & backing vocals are like the good ones in the 80's, clearly reminding me Tony Martin (Black Sabbath). The modern keyboards have more an accompanying role, often being in the background. This album must be played loud, because it is more metal than progressive, and because the guitar riffs have a nice sound, never irritating! All the tracks are very good, and "Eat the unicorn" is particularly progressive, catchy and addictive. There are more mellow moments like "Forever", "Whispering", "Clear" and "Part of the chaos", which have a cute sentimental FM sound!
Report this review (#7260)
Posted Sunday, February 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Maybe Extinct Instinct was the wrong Threshold album for me to start with, but I really thought this was a stinker. This band reminds me curiously of John Lawton-era Uriah Heep, certainly both in the lead and harmony vocal department ... also in the lack of much quality progressive material.

Songs like Exposed and Virtual Isolation are just basically one dimensional metal, with the usual multi-note a second riffing while others like Somatography and Part Of The Chaosis (probably the best song here) are quality metal tunes, but with precious little "prog" to speak of. Forever is a tedious piano ballad that suddenly becomes heavy. Clear is a passable guitar ballad, but I've heard hundreds of better ones. Eat The Unicorn has a few changes of tempo and riffage and the middle of Life Flow is relatively creative, but that's really too little too late.

Frankly this stuff is less progressive than most of the other metal bands in my collection (Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Metallica, Megadeth, Pantera, Sepultura, Soulfly etc.) and I can only hope that Threshold have been more creative elsewhere. ... 13% on the MPV scale

Report this review (#7261)
Posted Wednesday, May 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars Sorry guys but having heard Critical Mass I eagerly bought this and found tht it is absolutely horrible and everything that reminded me of all those late 80s and early 90s heavy metal groups but only with a worse singer. This album is not prog but simply awful rehashed metal/heavy rock with the same guitar riff across most of the album. Now and again (fleetingly) it breaks into some nice guitar work but I think that simply highlights how poor the songs are on this album. Now I can handle most of that to some degree if the vocals were decent but that is what made me hurl the CD into the trash - the vocals. I bought a Landmarq album a few years back and Damien Wilson ruined it and therefore I bought no more of their records (although I do know that Tracey Hitchings took over vocals - thank God). How this guy got awarded Classic Rock status as best vocalist is beyond me. He simply lacks dynamics in his voice to the point where he whines horribly when he has to go up a notch. Allied to the songs that are frankly not a patch on the later albums lead me to conclude that this is simply a bad experience and no amount of playing will make it sound any better - certainly not with Mr Wilson's shrieking voice.
Report this review (#63167)
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The second album with Damian, so I love it almost instantly solely because of that. It feels different from "Wounded Land", though. They were going in a different direction with this one, I think.

"Exposed" is not the most exciting opener, but it has a certain something. Damian sings with a not-so-high voice in this song, almost sounding mean and slightly evil at times. "Somatography" starts off softly with Damian singing softly too, but then breaks into a metally riff-fest with high-pitched vocals. One of my favorite songs on the album.

"Eat The Unicorn" is also one of my album favorites, starting off with vocals, well, I've never heard Damian sing like that before, but melikes. The instrumental bits, both guitar and keys sound solid and are a delight for the ears. The chorus is quite repetetive, sadly, but I'm enjoying it nonetheless. "Forever" is a song I hardly ever listen to, so I'm not fully up to date about that one.

"Virtual Isolation", again, is one of my favorites. This song rocks a lot more than the first too, sounding a tad more metally with them riffs. "The Whispering" has multiple vocals, and an odd drum rhythm. It took me a while to get accustomed to this one. "Lake of Despond" is perhaps the simplest track on the album, except for the complex lyrics (at least from a non-native English speaker's p.o.v.). It's a nice song, reminding me somewhat of "Days of Dearth" from the "Wounded Land" album.

"Clear" is a guitar/piano/vocal ballad. 'nuff said. It goes over in "Life Flow", another riff- based metal song, a lot less complex than the rest, except for the middle part. "Part of the Chaos" is an enjoyable song, reminding me of how the album started off. With its 10 minutes, along with "Eat The Unicorn", it's the longest song on the album. The song ends at 8 mins, though. The rest is silence, and then you hear an acoustic guitar and bar sounds, followed by an applause, which is odd since this isn't a live album. I'm not sure why they did this.

Conclusion? I really enjoyed this album. Even now I frequently listen to it, even more than "Clone" and "Critical Mass". Even though the songs don't blow me away as much as they did on "Wounded Land", it remains one of my top albums to date. I'll give it 4 stars. :)

Yours, Tailscent

Report this review (#93047)
Posted Monday, October 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is THRESHOLD's third studio album and in my opinion the best out of the three. Damian Wilson is back and sounding better than i've ever heard him before.

"Exposed" opens with riffs, blistering guitar and synths galore before we even get to the vocals 2 minutes in. Actually there are also loops used by the band for the first time at the start of this tune. This is a great intro track. "Somatography" features samples in this slower paced intro as vocals then come in. There are outbursts of machine gun-like drumming and after 2 minutes we're really cooking with a great crunchy sound. They go back to the slow paced melody of the intro 4 minutes in as the guitar cries out in pain. They are kicking it again 5 minutes in. The band notes that Damian hit his highest ever note (a top F sharp) on the chorus of this song. "Eat The Unicorn" is my favourite song. A 10 minute masterpiece. I love the way the tempo increases and decreases.The guitar solos are mind bending and the vocals are amazing. There is a nice mellow passage 7 minutes in. "Forever" features piano and reserved vocals which spells ballad. There is some crunch 2 minutes in as well as some soaring guitar a minute later.

"Vital Isolation" has these heavy riffs that come and go but they're mostly coming. I like the way the keys and guitars trade solos. The choir that sings the word "virtuality" is made up of 80 voices tracked up together, including 64 Damians ! "The Whispering" has an even heavier soundscape as keys come in. The song lightens and this contrast continues. "Lake Of Despond" is my second favourite song on the album. It's essentually part two of the song "Days Of Dearth" from "Wounded Land". It opens with the wind blowing. This song is like riding a slow, heavy, thunderous wave of sound. They tuned down their guitars for a darker sound on this one. This is also one of the few THRESHOLD songs that fades out to end it. "Clear" is piano, acoustic guitar and vocals. "Life Flow" is as catchy and as heavy as hell ! Crunchy guitars and again a darker sound with some great keyboard work. "Part Of The Chaos" is my number three favourite tune. It starts quietly but that doesn't last long. There is some amazing guitar from Karl Groom on this the longest track on the album.

This is a solid 4 star album where the previous album "Psychedelicatessin" was just barely a 4 star album.

Report this review (#130752)
Posted Sunday, July 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Extinct Instinct, Threshold's third album saw the return of Vocalist Damian Wilson who had previously sang on their debut album, Wounded Land. It also has a change of Drummer, Mark Heaney who was later to join Stone Roses offshoot band The Seahorses.

Threshold are a Progressive Metal band for sure but their previous effort, Psychedelicatessen was more of a straight Metal album than Wounded Land. Extinct Instinct sees a return to a more Progressive style. Having said that the Guitar riffs are often more metallic than ever, unfortunately sometimes at the expense of melody. It's a good solid album though if not up there with the bands best efforts. Wilson sings well, indeed the whole band are extremely competent players as any fan of Threshold will know and play well throughout. The Dual Guitars of Karl Groom and Nick Midson are well to the fore as is to be expected with Prog Metal but Keyboard player Richard West is further back in the mix than on many other Threshold albums which is a shame as he adds a lot of colour to the bands sound.

Most of the tracks are around the six minute mark giving the band plenty of opportunity to stretch out a bit, highlights being Exposed, Somatography and Life Flow; Somatography perhaps being my favourite of the three in part down to the haunting Guitar arpeggios used. There are two short tracks, Forever and Clear which are best described as ballads, the later having a particularly strong melody. Of greatest interest though are the two epic tracks, Eat the Unicorn and Part of the Chaos, both clocking in at over ten minutes featuring all the Threshold trademarks of time/tempo changes, Metallic riffs colliding with melodic Guitar arpeggios and sweeping Keyboards.

To conclude, Extinct Instinct has never been one of my favourite Threshold album but for whatever reason I find it a more enjoyable listening experience now than when I first bought it around ten years ago. Perhaps it will now come off the shelf for a play a bit more often than in the past. 3 ½ stars.

Report this review (#162876)
Posted Thursday, February 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars The return of the Unicorn (Damian Wilson)

Third studio album of this famous british progressive metal band named Extinct instinct from 1997. First: I'm very glad that Damian Wilson was back , returning from band Landmarq where he sung on three very well recived albums, and second this is their best album from first period, before Mac Dermott joyning Threhold. Much better then predecesor, very much a progressive metal this time, not only metal riffs are here, but the melody is very well melted with rougher moments, is was not the case on Psychedelicatessen. Wilson voice is perfect for this kind of music, his high range gives plenty of memorable moments on this labum, not to forget that the sound of guitar of Karl Groom is again stunning. Another change in Threshold line up , behind Wilson was the drumer stool ocupied now by Mark Heaney. So, the music is way better then on first albums and very easy can go shoulder to shoulder with thier best Hypothetical or Critical mass for ex. Every musician shines here, a lot of instrumental passages that gives a proper view over their progressive metal abilities, very skilled musicians who know how to grab the listner. All the pieces are super, Wilson voice realy is stunning from the first track Exposed to the last one Part Of The Chaos, great voice. The album has a little more then an hour, enough to become with something solid and very catchy. Groom's guitar is again top notch , on some pieces is realy awesome like on Somatography or Eat the unicor, one of their best pieces from entire career. Not to forget the second guitar, of Nick Midson, who contributed mainly as background, to keep the rythm, but very strong and tight communications with the rest of the musicians. Well in the end a great album for pregressive metal, one of the better ones from late'90' s for sure, and equal in greatness with their best two albums from early this decade Hyphotetical and Critical mass. Recommended, some pieces are truly amazing, even for Threshold repertoir. 4 stars easy, an album who stood the test of time very well after 12 years of the first issue.

Report this review (#245108)
Posted Sunday, October 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars After my initial disappointment with Psychedelicatessen I stopped following Threshold and completely overlooked this fine album. I didn't even know they had the Damien Wilson featuring on any album other then the debut. Here he shines again, full of melody, surprises and emotion.

This is a beautiful melodic rock album with some soft metal and slight neo-progressive influences. When I first heard them they reminded me a bit of Fugazi-era Marillion: similarly constructed epic songs, fluid guitar solos and layers of keyboards. The main elements that they add are the crunchy rhythm guitars and a singer that could stand in for Robert Plant if Jimmy Page would want to go ahead with that Zep-reunion tour after all.

Almost every track is entirely convincing here: Exposed, Somatography and Eat The Unicorn are an excellent trio of songs to kick things off. Forever and Virtual Isolation are less though and hint at things to come. But The Whispering and especially Lake of Despond are poignant compositions, also Life Flow and Part of the Chaos are ok but stand in the shadows of the preceding highlights.

In my perception, Damien Wilson is the main factor that was responsible for lifting Threshold above the many similar bands that populate this melodic-metal-with-long-songs style. He managed to put some real emotion in this often too sterile and too smooth type of metal.

Report this review (#248364)
Posted Friday, November 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Heavy, but well Groomed

There are in prog a number of prolific musicians who seem to pop up in various bands and projects yet manage to keep a firm handle on the quality control. Steve Wilson and Clive Nolan are a couple of names which spring to mind, but the name of Karl Groom may not be quite so obvious. Groom is though one of that small select breed who can turn his hand to various types of prog, making a positive contribution to any project he becomes involved with.

In 1988, Groom was a founding member of Threshold, and has gone on to become the fulcrum of its existence. The band's début album appeared in 1993, with this their third being released some four years later. The line up remained relatively stable over that time, although Damian Wilson, who sang on the first album, subsequently left the band and did not sing on their second. In an unusual move, he returned to the band for the recording of "Extinct instinct", leaving again before work on the following "Clone" started.

The themes of the songs on this album might readily be described as serious but as with many albums from the prog metal sub-genre, the lyrics are of marginal utility. Damian Wilson's vocals are however present a lot throughout the album. He has one of those voices you'll either love or loathe, thus the impression the album makes may well depend which side of that fence you fall on. For me Wilson has a fine voice, although here I would have liked to hear him a little less with the instrumental passages being developed a bit more.

The sound is heavy, with constant strong guitar riffs supported by massed banks of keyboards. Karl Groom's lead guitar work is, as would be expected, exemplary if a little thin on the ground in terms of soloing. The inevitable clichés of prog metal (as exploited by Dream Theater etc.) are liberally spread throughout, the songs often being little more than extended straight metal in structure. Ironically though, what tends to be lacking is strong hooks for the listener to latch on to, something which it seems to me is a pre-requisite of truly satisfactory prog metal. Hints of such hooks can be found on "Eat the unicorn" for example, but they are not always exploited.

Overall though, this is an enjoyable hour and a bit, which should appeal to those who prefer the heavier end of our genre.

Report this review (#269358)
Posted Wednesday, March 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars "Extinct Instinct" is Threshold's 3rd studio release and came out on 1997, not a good year for prog. Thankfully this album is a shining light and features some astonishing musicianship from Karl Groom on guitars, Richard West on keyboards, Jon Jeary on bass, acoustic guitar, Nick Midson on guitars and Mark Heaney on drums. On this album taking the helm on vocals is the incomparable Damian Wilson. He returns on the masterpiece 2012 album "March of Progress" as the replacement vocalist, and it is nice to hear him hear powering out each song in this earlier incarnation of the band.

It begins with heavy riffing on 'Exposed', and after some ripping vocals and melodies, it breaks into a new time sig and some glorious spacey keyboard flourishes. I love the traditional metal chugs that are broken by innovative keys. The soloing of Midson and Groom is incredible, and this is certainly the way to open an album.

'Somatography' follows with intriguing dialogue samples, and the melody is broken suddenly with power riffing. The band are passionate in the way they execute the intricate riffs and the structures are inspirational. Wilson's voice is astonishing, his vocal range is utilised to its fullest on this song. There is a great deal of creativity flowing on this track, with twin lead guitars answering, spacey keys and very heavy rhythms. This is one of the Threshold treasures; simply stunning musicianship and vocals.

'Eat The Unicorn' is a 10 minute mini epic, with some unbelievable lightspeed keyboard runs. The main melody is akin to a chant "give me a place to stand". The way it breaks though into lengthy solos is wonderful. The wah-wah solo is fabulous, and then it sweeps into a cinematic ambient soundscape. A soaring lead break is followed by a switch in the time sig. Wilson is in fine form here powering out high register vox, "I am falling down, closer to the ground, tell me where you're found, I will follow now." The riff gets faster and a frenetic rhythmic drum pounds out. Eventually we get to the lead solo I adore at about 6 minutes in and then a crunchy little riff leads to a keyboard showpiece. Again the riff changes, as more keyboard runs drift out of this metal machine. This is undoubtedly one of the greatest most progressive Threshold songs.

'Forever' is next, and feels like a Whitesnake power ballad, though it has an agreeable melody and an infectious hook. 'Virtual Isolation' woke me up with a really cool fractured riff, and melodic lines. The interchanging keys and guitars of Groom and West are great but don't last long enough.

'The Whispering' follows, and thankfully inject some prog metal riffs into the album, after too many mellow moments. It does slow into the verses but I love the odd percussion beats of Heaney. It builds into strong chorus anthem and some more creative textures. Wilson's vocals are fantastic, sounding like Queensryche in places. It motorvates along until we get to the 4 minute mark and a really gorgeous lead guitar howls over a soundscape of melancholia. The song really gets dreamy until finally going back to a heavier feel. I am not a fan of the "go go" chant in the song, Devo did it better, but it is unique to the sound.

'Lake Of Despond' opens with wind howls, glistening keys and a scream of guitar. The vocals follow a very strong melody. The song builds nicely with power chords into majestic cinematic keyboards. This has a more infectious hook and feels like old school Uriah Heep. 'Clear' is a very mellow song with clean guitar and wonderful soulful vocals, "nothing is clear, you promised me." It is akin to the type of ballad one might hear from a 90s metal band, reminding me of Scorpions' 'Holiday', or 'Still Loving You', so that an audience might have a chance to put their lighters in the air and sway. More metal riffs greet us on 'Life Flow', with gleaming keyboard phrases and dramatic rhythms. A fabulous lead guitar break is welcome along with West's swirling spacey keys. 'Part Of The Chaos' ends the album with a 10 and a half minute track. It plods along on a simple riff for too long, though Wilson is dynamic on vocals. At 3 and a half minutes the song finally pulls out of it standard metal sound and there is a faster rhythm to propel it into some incredible passages of metal. The chorus harmonies sound dated and too anthemic for their own good. I was waiting for some instrumental sections, and it took too long to get there. The keyboard solo are more speed runs and are answered by Midson and Groom's lead guitar attack. The Slayer riff toward the end is a solid background to more keyboards, then it moves back to the main melody, bookending a pretty good song, just not a masterpiece.

"Extinct Instinct" like all Threshold albums has some incredible musicianship and outstanding songs. This one began so brilliantly but then soon ran out of power towards the end. The tracks that must be heard are 'Exposed', 'Somatography' and 'Eat The Unicorn' that are all at the tip of the iceberg on the album. The closer has moments too but overall the album feels a bit too mellow and not as innovative as other albums such as "Clone" or "Moment of Progress". Threshold are best when they are progressive, creative and exploring more than a simple metal riff. When they move beyond the normal metal riff and present inventive structures and complex rhythms Threshold are indispensable.

Report this review (#848863)
Posted Thursday, November 1, 2012 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars When their third album was released in 1997, some three years after 'Psychedelicatessen', not only did the band have a new drummer but also a 'new' singer. Glynn Morgan had replaced Damian Wilson after the debut, only for him to in turn be replaced by Damian Wilson. Damian would only hang around long enough for this album before being replaced by Mac, before coming back yet again after the release of 'Dead Reckoning' in 2007. But, at the time of this recording the future was yet to unfold and although Glynn had done a good job, many fans (me included) were pleased to have Damian back as the frontman.

I think of all of their albums, this is the one that takes the longest to make an impact and I have never been able to work out why, possibly most of the stronger songs are to the end? No idea. All I know is that each time I play it I start off by thinking that it is a 3* album but by the end I am convinced that it is a solid 4*, and that happens every time, and I hate to think how many times over the years I have played this. Maybe that's the point. I first heard and reviewed this album when it came out some 15 years ago and I still play it. True, I have just been sent this to review by Nuclear Blast which is why I am playing it so much at the present, but Threshold have never gone out of favour with me from the time I first heard 'Wounded Land'. By the time that was released I knew Karl from Shadowland and Strangers On A Train and Damian from his solo work and Landmarq, yet Threshold blew me away, and still do. The understanding between keyboard player Richard West and his guitar-toting colleagues is second to none, and bassist/backing singer Jon Jeary was an awesome presence during his tenure. Mostly more metal than prog, this is an album of different shades and colours and they all come together in 'Forever' which is a ballad, a symphonic masterpiece, and a brooding metallic monster all in under five minutes.

By the time 'Clone' came out the following year Damian was gone, and this album gets somewhat overlooked by many, but if you want metallic prog with stunning vocals, great melodies and musicianship then this is worthy of discovery.

Report this review (#904371)
Posted Friday, February 1, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars 8/10

Damian Wilson is back, and Threshold is at its best, right? No. Well, is not that the quality has dropped, but I do not see Extinct Instint as being superior to its two predecessors.

In fact, the band seems more mature and with a more refined sense of music. The quality of sound production is commendable (though I have a guilty pleasure for papoula/80-esque that sound like the Wounded Land), but it's not as if they gave a jump astronomical in terms of sound quality. Actually, I would say that I liked much of the interpretation of Damian's debut here - there are some falsetto that I sound a bit forced here, but nothing that compromises the quality of the work.

As for the other instrumentalists, there is not much to complain about. We have an evolution on keyboards, which were so far being the weakest link. And Karl Groom keeps giving sensational performances guitar. The best songs here are Somatography, Eat the epic Unicron (seems a tradition of the band that most music is always the third), the ballad Forever and Part of the Chaos.

4 stars.

Report this review (#963389)
Posted Tuesday, May 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Nightmare is coming and I hear the drumming of demons in the night."

Progressive Metal and I have a complicated relationship. I loved the classic Prog Metal groups (DT, Riverside, Symphony X), but other bands I'd only touch after years passed.

Yeah, it's that kind of relationship. So, I gave up! Stopped following the genre. Then? I saw For The Journey on New Releases, I went on a whim. Whenever I think I've discovered all the LEGENDARY bands, a few days pass and I end up finding another. This is the case with: Threshold.

Listening to Ashes from March of Progress first, I smiled maniacally. I knew This WAS something to write home about!! And so, my favorite album from Threshold Extinct Instinct rose from the grave.

After the disappointing Psychedelicatessen, they made up for their first loss. Taking a three-year hiatus, Threshold delivered this hour-long monster. Heavier than its predecessor (and much less silly?), this album devours your soul, rocks out, drinks a little too much, and pukes you back up.

"Exposed" kicks off with serious drums and an even serious-er guitar. Guitar solo, raunchy keyboards, and kicking your a**. The voice of Damian Wilson may be the BEST in Metal. Yep, a bold statement. Exposed drives 100 miles, rocks hard, only slowing down after the 6:25 time limit is up.

"Somatography" rings Wounded Land with its narrative. Till? 1 and a half minutes in, chunky guitars. High vocals of Damian coordinated with that same riff throughout. You can predict which direction the song's going, but in now way is that bad. It goes in the direction you want.

"Eat The Unicorn" is Threshold's best song. Yep, it's comparatively as epic as Relayer: A war of guitars, tough lyrics, only occasionally taking a break?an instrumental passage. These breaks, especially later (just look at the header's lyrics!! ^) are when the song shines. Then, shines brighter than originally imagined: "Unicorn so wild and free, balm my eyes, carry me home!" Followed up by wild guitars, perhaps topping the best-of Symphony X. The background vocals are reprised front-and-center in the conclusion. Subtle, brilliant.

"Forever" is the first 'ballad-y' song in Extinct? How many of you readers turned away from my review after reading that..? Guess what, it's not a bad ballad! Glistening chimes and Damian's powerful voice lead you on every word. No sign of cheese here!!

"Virtual Isolation" echoes through each ear. The bulk builds, heavy track. A 100 pounds of metal riffs dig into your brain. Then the vocals of Damian reach the clouds. You could almost see him. It continues, octane raising ever-so slightly. Begins like any other track, though it leads to something wonderful.

"The Whispering" is lyric-based. Catchy chorus, and STILL real heavy! That takes skill. Still, no smell of cheese. Oh, and that chorus: "IF THEY SAID GO, WOULD YOU GO?" A mellow guitar suite, nearly lulling you to sleep after that brutal guitar ear-rape. You hear all ranges of Damian, from sweet to ungodly dark. Hail Damian.

"Lake of Despond" is right up there with "Unicorn" for epics on this. Keyboards are prominent and power, for nearly the first time. The echoing guitars suck you in to their world, until the all-powerful voice of Damian guides you through hell. "This is not a lethal wait, but it can BE a sort of decep-tion!" Not only is the chorus catchy-as-hell, (get the pun?!?) it also leads to? Can you guess..? Another great ballad! So begins:

"Clear," another showcase for Damian's talents, brightening up the mood. This song's comfort-food. A laxative from all the s*** the previous songs hit you with.

"Life Flow" chimes with a gong. What's a better way to start..? This leads to another soaring chorus, belting keyboards (credit to you, Richard West), ending with Mark Heaney's drums.

Part of the Chaos gives me a 'desert' vibe. The tempo, chorus, and riffs all shift throughout. If you want a prog song, there you are. 'Nuff said.

Overall, a LONG, but rewarding album. I had a hard time going through the full hour the first time I listened. Then you realize: You're constantly thinking of those choruses. Damian's godly voice. Karl Groom's chunky guitars. Richard West giving the music just the right dose of melody and light-heartedness that this rough diamond needs, and Mark Heaney's constant hard-hitting drums. You've got yourself a Metal Masterpiece. Remains as my favorite Threshold album. You can already guess I can listen to the full 77 minutes now? JUST LISTEN TO IT!!!

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Posted Friday, August 15, 2014 | Review Permalink

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