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HYPOTHETICAL

Threshold

Progressive Metal


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Greger
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Having followed THRESHOLD's career for quite a time now, it's always with some curiosity I start listening whenever they have a new album in the stores. "Light And Space" is a very good opener: heavy and complex with some rhythm changes. The rest of the album has a lot of variation with good musicianship and strong compositions. Andrew "Mac" McDermott has a very good voice (although I did prefer Damian Wilson who has more originality) and he weaves a lot of melody into THRESHOLD's wall of tight guitar riffs. THRESHOLD differs from many other Prog Metal bands, because they have never sounded like DREAM THEATER, which is quite unusual in this genre. The epic closer "Narcissus" is my favourite song on this album together with "Light And Space" and "Sheltering Sky". THRESHOLD is one of the leading bands in the Prog Metal genre today. Although everything is quite the same and it takes some listening before you get into this album, I have to say that this is one of their best ever, together with their debut "Wounded Land" (1993) and "Clone" (1998). A true masterpiece!

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Send comments to Greger (BETA) | Report this review (#7269)
Posted Thursday, March 04, 2004 | Review Permalink
rob@impossiba
5 stars After a lot of troubles, finally Threshold made it to release an album which was acclaimed by critics and fans, and gave the band the right exposure. Hypothetical sets new boundaries to the demanding-yet-accessible Threshold trademark, featuring some future classics such as the brilliant opener Light & Space, Long Way Home, and the epics The Ravages of Time and Narcissus. A wonderful production, a great package and a perfectly balance set of songs make this album a prog metal classic and an essential buy to everybody!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#7274)
Posted Tuesday, November 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
jelmar2004@ve
4 stars Altough Threshold became much more than just an interesting prog metal/rock band, I must say that their time is yet to come.Hypothetical is a great album, but I have that feeling like something is missing. Having great potentional, interesting ideas, just as much electronics as it's requiered, heavy guitar walls, very good keyboard solos, along with a great singer, they will certanly become no.1 in prog if they make some changes. And by that I refer to more complex song structure, maybe adding more instruments, or some other musical influences like jazz, ethno, etc., but, of course, in a gentle, non-disturbing way. I'm not sayin' that they have little of all of that, but some progress can be achieved. I wish them luck, and I will remain their respectfull fan. Let the metal flow!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#7276)
Posted Thursday, February 03, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I must say that even though I'm not a very big fan of progmetal music, this album is a true gem! One my friend gave me this album to listen and give it a chance and now I must thank him that he didn't allow me to miss this great band! I love every song on this album, there is no weak point. If you are a fan of classic progrock like Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd etc. then there is no need to be afraid of this album and band. Just get it and surely you won't be disappointed!

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Send comments to KeyserSoze (BETA) | Report this review (#7277)
Posted Tuesday, February 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
dezio1972@bol
5 stars Maybe I was a little bit unfair on my previous review about this album, with a four star rate. It is not only a "excellent addition to any prog music collection", but a excellent addition to any ROCK collection, or to any EXCELLENT MUSIC LOVER collection. Maybe it isn't "a masterpiece of progressive music" - talking about progressive standards here - but certainly is a Threshold masterpiece and truly deserves the five stars rate. Give a carefully listen to Sheltering Sky, Oceanbound, Long Way Home and Narcissus and you'll certainly agree with me.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#7278)
Posted Monday, April 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Not the best, but the Threshold's way is interesting.

Some metal bands are molding themselves in a pattern that will lead eventually to a form of public success. Example? Well, Dream Theater seems to get a larger and larger crowd every album eand even getting some good radio time in some parts of America. Pretty rare for a prog metal band. They also managed to keep a soft side that some people call romance. And a serious band who would like to be competitive should think of the format Dream Theater created.

And there's other bands that stick to the old clichés of metal and, eventually leads to commercial suicide. Example? Man, there's so many. Start with Magna Carta label, it should convice you. Shadow Gallery, Cairo, Magellan...Oh and what about the whole X thing? The cheese factor with Eternity X, King's X or Symphony X is so high, Yngwie Malmsteen must be happy not being the only has-been around.

And there's bands that tries harder to run from the herd...like Threshold. But at first listen, we could find Threshold cold and minimalistic. And they are. The emphasis is on the strong side of the band: the guitars and the drums. The interplay of both guitar players between themselves but also with the drums is really their trademark. Threshold sounds like a very high-tech factory, entirely robotized and based on production-line work. Guitars feels like huge turbines rolling at tremendous speed, providing electricity to charge up the heavy machines that are drums.

I snatched 2 stars from the chart because the really good material is too few. It's once again the same pattern (like a pancake recipe) with few variations. Lots of songs feels boring, and I suggest to start with Critical Mass or Subsurface.

Not the best from Threshold, understood.

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#7279)
Posted Sunday, April 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Best current progressive metal band around if you'd ask me, centered around the duo- metal guitar play of Karl Groom and Nick Midson, with the fabulous strong vocals of Andrew 'Mac' Dermott, and great Keyboard play from Richard west, that gives an extra dimension to the heavy rock sound of Threshold. Did I forget to mention the bass player and the drummer, notably John Jeary, and Johanne James, they rock real hard and keep the music flowing in a natural manner. So now we know who the players are, lets proceed.

Hypothetical rocks from the first struck of a chord till the last moment after some 55 minutes. Taking influences from such metal acts as Dream theater, Metallice, and more of those Metal bands, Threshold also has some melodic space symphonic influences, most notably in the keyboard section, but the duo-guitar style from Karl and Nick lends itself beatifull for mixing heavy metal chords with melodic guitar solo's, which is a reoccuring feature in Thresholds music, alternating lead amongst each other.

Light And Space Heavy metal, with some spacy influences, alternating softer sections with strong heavy metal guitars, and strong vocals from MAC, a live favourite. Fabulous, Fabulous, Fabulous, did I mentioned this song is fabulous, just to make sure. FABULOUSLY THRILLING EXCITINGLY FABULOUS.

Turn On Tune In, same remark as for the previous song. LOL. where on Light And Space the accoustics made the difference, on Turn On it's the keyboards that provide some breathing space. a great song, with some spacy keyboards, and great guitarplay, just turn it on and tune in.

The Ravages Of Time, Does the thrill ever stop, don't think so, rock on. Listening to it, and I just get more and more excited about this album, again some spacy influences, and firm heavy metal, simple yet effective drum and bass play, good singing from Mac. An exciting heavy spaced out song. Swift changes of tone and atmosphere.

Sheltering Sky, Ahhhh breathing time on the delicate sounds of a slow starting song, a bit Metallica ballad build up, with some piano and the bass taking the lead. I needed this rest, and it came right when I needed it, so another bonus point for Threshold. Outside the confines of the album I don't think it's a really brilliant song, but within it, it gives us a point to relax a bit. Mind you, it still is a metal type ballad, so expect some fireworks near the end.

Oceanbound, Did I describe this album as having space progressive metal tendencies yet? I did now. But this is a metal song, a great bass line, augmented with heavy guitars, firm drumming, and Mac on vocals, i'm singing my heart out (my neighboors aren't happy with me today), I'm not afraid, let the sky become an ocean, loose or win cause I'm not scared. A great song.

Long Way Home, another live favourite (aren't they all?) Piano, I like piano's. Metallica riffs, I like Metallica riffs, energetic song, very intense, keeping the middle of rock ballad versus heavy metal ballad, it works perfectly for me.

Keep My Head, building up to the insanely brilliant centre-piece of the album, we get some time to prepare with this soft ballad, mostly piano and accoustics accompagnying it, with only Mac's voice a bit to load for the music. But hell, we are waiting for the grand final of the album, so we are happy to go through this pleasant, but not brilliant intermezzo.

Narcissus, The best Threshold song IMO, and a constant request on live shows. I used three repeates and one extra Fabulous to describe the opening track, I'm going to need an infinite number of Fabulouses for this song. Going through different stages, slower parts, and fast furious renditions of the theme. This song has all any metalic progger can want, fast swirling keyboards, heavy guitars and a voice to love. Available for download on this site, so go ahead if you dare.

I can only use superlatives for this album, but a little warning is in place, this review is written from the perspective of a fan of the band, who also likes metal in general, so some (not all I think) non-metal lovers might feel cheated when they buy this, so if you're not familiar with metal, listen to the available download first.

For all Metal lovers in here I strongly recommend this album to you, I really love it.

PEACE OUT

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Send comments to DeathRow (BETA) | Report this review (#39883)
Posted Thursday, July 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ok I have just finished playing this CD(which I have owned for over a year now)and I felt moved to write a short review about what I can only describe as a blown away reaction to it. After one year the flavour of a CD usualy loses its punch a bit but not in this case, its actualy got even stronger and more moving , listen to this CD a few times and you will discover what I can only describe as perfection ,come back to it later and the melodic core just bleeds its love and beauty. Its progressive very progressive yet I feel even Pink Floyd fans my enjoy this as it has a kind of melow flavour. To sum it up its one of the best CD`s Ive ever heard ! and thats not said lightly. I think this band are very underated but then again so are Porcupine Tree (who are about the closet sounding band to threshold I can think of at this given moment) Threshold deserve these five lousy stars I`m giving them, infact they deserve alot more. Good job guys and thanks for the experiance

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Send comments to Trouble X (BETA) | Report this review (#47984)
Posted Friday, September 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This band is one of the most elegant prog-metal performers i've ever heard, with a very nice and trademark sound, from vocals to guitars through keys, bass and finishing with drums, why i bother to fill the whole spectrum? beacuse i need to say it: they sound like them, period, i don't try to say that there's a characteristic sound like the one DEREK SHERINIAN has abused, or sounds like are timeless like the one BILL FRISELL has achieved, no, is the whole interplay of the band, their unity, modesty and simplicity. They rely on the music and the composition by itself, leaving the show-off and personal exposure, even the vocals has this perfect balance in the mix, awesome.

So, they try to reach a sort of epic journey throughout the album, nice move actually, but leaving the tematic stuff aside that let the songs act as a whole and as a single outfit. Personally, NARCISSUS is a great closer, but the record is quite an adventure, giving a lot of textures, with slow tempos, trapping your mind onto the full mix.

Another great band that is trying to escape from the "prog-metal" fold as an overrated genre, avoiding the bandwagon easy-out exposure, creating their own niche, dealing with very bad distribution (at least in Mexico).

My statement follows this way: Expect the unexpected, is not DREAM THEATER, is not FATES WARNING neither MARILLION, PENDRAGON or ARENA, is a very nice band of professionals that must be heard as is: no preconceptions at all.

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Send comments to arqwave (BETA) | Report this review (#56740)
Posted Thursday, November 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
Chit@AOL.com
4 stars This is a great album by those Threshold boys. The whole thing kicks off with "Light and Space" which is about some light in space. Very heavy and very melodic at the same time. "Turn On Tune In" is about watching the telly too much. "The Ravages Of Time" is a 10 minute epic that starts off heavy and then stays there- Brilliant stuff. "Sheltering Sky" is a little bit more laid back in its musical approach and is about a sky that you can shelter under. "Oceanbound" is one of my favourites on the album, although at times it makes me think of Kat and Alfie Moon for some reason. "Long Way Home" is about being a long way from home. Musically it rocks like a beast on heath and sounds a little like "The Wombles" in some of the vocalising - Hard but fair. "Keep My Head" is a Richard West ballad and is absolutely beautiful, bringing to mind Little Richard and i think i have spotted some Trevor Brooking influences as well. The last and best track is the awesome "Narcissus" which tells the tale of a young canadian man called Robin Hodgson who kinda like loves himself a bit........Quite a lot actually The track starts off magnificently with Mac spouting off about the fat ego of Phil Mitchell, a grat instrumental part follows and then goes into a quiet bit, which sounds very Yes - like in the harmony vocals. This part appears to be about dogs. We then go back into the heavy section which is brilliantly played and i must say is better in this part than anything Cream Theatre have ever done. If you like your prog with a bit of balls, you will love this band. Don't take my word for it, nip over in your dainty shoes to the official Threshold website and buy buy buy

Cheers Chit

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#57050)
Posted Saturday, November 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I don't know if there is anything I can add to all that has been written however, on a personal opinion, this is an excellent cd that will not get what accolades it deserves. The guitars are crunchy, maybe a little heavy on chording but such catchy tunes that live in your head for long spells after the stereo has been shut off. The lyrics are very well thought out with a message in them that delivers. I could not take this disc out of my player for quite awhile without the strong urge to put it right back in. If only all bands where this upstanding...... No question, five out of five. A home run........

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Send comments to Louder (BETA) | Report this review (#62400)
Posted Friday, December 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is the best from them. In my opinion this is the album that made them get in the top. My favorite from Threshold, and one of the most interesting in prog music in the last 10 years. If you are a fan of prog music like Royal Hunt, Symphony X, Angra, Shadow Gallery etc. then there is no need to be afraid of this album and band. Just get it and surely you won't be disappointed! I must add the track called The Ravages Of Time, is absolutly a killer. In the end, this is excellent addition to any prog music collection and truly deserves the 4 stars rate.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#70831)
Posted Wednesday, March 01, 2006 | Review Permalink
sleeper
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It goes without saying that Threshold are England's premier Prog-Metal band. Hypothetical is the bands 5th studio release and it sees them in impressive form. This is a band that create their own distinctive sound by not shredding and instead using very hard edged riffs with spacey keyboards to make what is very powerful music. There also notable for not using particularly complex song structures like other Prog-Metal bands do, but instead concentrate on creating very melodic tunes.

Though I have said the arrangements aren't exactly complex, that's not to say that they are devoid of talent. Karl Groom and Nick Midson share guitar duties and both offer up excellent solos' strong melodies and some heavy riffing as well, most notably on the song Narcissus, and Johanne James is very impressive in making a small drum kit sound like a large one. Richard Wests keyboards add some nice spacey feeling to some tracks and a few very nice solos and keyboard only passages do pop up, however he does get a bit lost in the mix sometimes. Jon Jeary isn't the best bassist I've ever heard but he does hold a very nice groove throughout the album, so though he's nothing special he does a job well done here.

For those who have heard Threshold will know that they are extremely strong lyrically and this holds up on Hypothetical. Threshold has successfully bypasst the cheesy lyrics that bands like Rhapsody dwell on and went straight for the thoughtful, emotional style of writing. The only song I can say that the lyrics are sub-par on is Ravages Of Time. This 10 minute semi-epic has fantastic music but the lyrics are cumbersome, though it doesn't take much imagination to understand what it is that there trying to say here. The strong lyrics are delivered expertly by singer Andrew McDermott (better known as Mac) who has a very powerful voice that can move and shift from powering out the chorus to becoming more heartfelt and sincere.

In short this is a very good album that showcases Thresholds own brand of Neo-ish Prog-Metal very well. Of the songs themselves, particular mention must be made of the album closer, Narcissus. This track has struck a chord with me as I find the lyrics sum up the modern world very well and they are delivered with some of the most powerful, even angry, music the genre has to offer. I give Hypothetical 4 stars instead of 5 as Ravages Of Time is a slightly inarticulate track and Sheltering Sky just seems to get lost amongst the great tracks that are on this album.

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Send comments to sleeper (BETA) | Report this review (#78507)
Posted Wednesday, May 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Having bought "Critical Mass" prior to this CD, I was disappointed in that "Hypothetical" was full of cliched plodding metal riffs, and almost totally lacked any variation in tempo or volume for that matter. Every song sounded the same. The one saving grace were the vocals, In his quieter moments Mac has a style and sound which is not unlike Geddy Lee of Rush. I think Mac is a good singer for this type of music.

This CD is not to my personal taste, and in my opinion anyone who wants to sample Threshold should listen to "Critical Mass" instead.

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Send comments to jheels (BETA) | Report this review (#93395)
Posted Wednesday, October 04, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Hypothetical is my first encounter with Threshold so I don't know if it is really representative of their music but every proghead has to be warned : all you will find here is extremely mainstream commercial hard rock. It is not a derogatory comment but it is a fact that had to be told. If you don't mind -or, even more shameful, if, as I do, you enjoy- listening to that type of music, you should have some fun with this album . well, at least with part of it.

"Light and Space" is a great opener. This one has it all : you get nailed right away by a wall of thundering guitars and the powerful voice of Mac combined with a catchy melody finishes the work. At this point, you ardently beg for more. Unfortunately, the best is already behind you. "Turn on Tune in" keeps the same pattern (as all the following songs more or less do) but it lacks the brilliant melody of its predecessor. Things get even worse with "The Ravages of Time" that clocks to an unnecessary never-ending 10'17". "Sheltering Sly" substantially lifts up the level in an highly commercial way that makes me furiously think of . Y&T ! Back to disappointment with "Oceanbound", a very average heavy metal song that happily leaves the place to the other great song of the album : "Long Way Home", a very catchy mid-tempo rocker with a -once again- very commercial keyboards intro, followed by some heavy riffs, an effective chorus and a short but cute solo. Then comes "Keep my Head", maybe the most disturbing song here because it is a ballad that is not bad per se but could appear on any boys' band catalogue, a feeling emphasized by the very poor lyrics. Last song is the epic -at least in the sense that it is the longest track of the album- "Narcissus", that can be divided in two parts : an heavy and rather uninteresting first half followed by a mellower and more ambitious second one where you will maybe detect the only progressive moments of the whole CD, in the vein of IQ.

Finally, I have very mixed feelings about Hypothetical. I don't really dislike any song but I find half of them to be highly dispensable. Globally, the music lacks some variety and the lyrics seem too simplistic and uninspired, not honoring Mac's impressive voice. It could have been a great EP with "Light and Space", "Sheltering Sky", "Long way Home" and "Narcissus" but as an album it falls short. Same players try again .

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Send comments to Bupie (BETA) | Report this review (#93505)
Posted Thursday, October 05, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Threshold is my favourite progressive metal band and Hypothetical is one of my favourite prog-metal albums. Discovering this band was one of the greatest musical surprises ever and Hypothetical was my introduction to Threshold. I had listened some of their songs before that but not an entire album, so purchasing a Threshold album seemed a very good idea and listening to Hypothetical for the first time I really remained speechless! I can stop with my review right now, i've said plenty already; but still the reasons why I appreciate this album is the amazing musicianship of this band, the great vocals of Andrew McDermott, the inspired lyrics. The consequence of listening to Hypothetical was the attempt to find all Threshold albums which i finally managed to have.

In my humble opinion, Hypothetical is a masterpiece of progressive metal; there are no filler songs here as far as I'm concerned. An essential addition to any prog-metal collection.

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Send comments to Cristi (BETA) | Report this review (#95173)
Posted Thursday, October 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
lightofepsilo
5 stars Songs of the highest level we find here without doubt. Because "hypothetical" is perhaps the most interesting album of this British prog-metal band, this work has all the elements that must have a great prog-metal work; force, category, inspiration, technique (without excesses) and excellent musicians. Personally I like songs like: "light and space" and "narcissus" absolutely powerful hymns inside the album. In my personal opinion Andrew McDermott has a great performance during this record (inspired) and finally i can say that Threshold found in this album their characteristic sound and made their proposal more attractive to all followers of the progressive metal in general.

I don't know for you, but for me this is a future classic prog-metal album.

Threshold rulezzz...

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#95182)
Posted Thursday, October 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This record is definitely my favorite by threshold and one of prog-metal's all time best.

After a poor start (Wounded land, Psychedelicatessen), a decent album (Extinc Instinct) and a good one (Clone), UK's greatest (only?) prog-metal hope finally lived up to the expectations created by their musical abilities and released a consistent collection of outstanding songs....This album has not ONE poor track, NOT ONE.

In this album, Threshold manage at last to achieve a sound completely their own; they no longer sound like VandenPlas-meets-Dream Theater as in Clone: what we got here is purely Threshold, off course showing their influences (EVERY BAND that has walked this earth showed at least some of its influences in their music) but only as details that enhance their unique, thrilling musical universe. That sound is made off heavy, hard- rocking riffs, imposing, ear-filling keyboards, powerful, not too complicated (nor original) but effective drums, and a tendency to write some of the best chorus in all of progressive-metal this side of Shadow Gallery. About this, I tell you right now as a warning: if you don't like anthemic, catchy, hugely sounding choruses (with actual CHORUSES, or multiple voices singing -the singer doubled a lot of times, better said), get away from this record as fast as you can!! , for what you'll get here are just that: memorable choruses meant to sing along and aloud.

The technical level in Threshold is pretty good, not up to par with prog-metal monsters like Dream Theater or Pain of Salvation but very compelling nevertheless... let's remember: technical proficciency is not everything, for there are Zeroes Hours and Spirals Architects that think they can get away just with mere virtuosity...Here we won't get 10000 notes a second, but we'll get EXACTLY AS MANY NOTES AS WE NEED. But that doesn't mean these british are not great with their instruments! Groom and West (lead guitar and keyboard player, both the main composers0 are the best of the five, Jeary in bass and James in drums are not outstanding but they do their job, and McDermott... even though he's not Damian Wilson (now that's an outstanding singer!), he's every bit as powerful and maybe BETTER FOR THRESHOLD's sake, for his voice fits the music perfectly...would these marvelous choruses sound the same without MAc's mighty vocals? Don't think so....

Light And Space (10/10) an amazing prog-metal opener, brief, to the point... a great riff and an even better acoustic-guitar chorus... a short song, a powerful song, a melodic, fantasy chorus...a prog-anthem as the best of them.... Turn On Tune In (8/10) , a good song about tv-zombies (not walking-dead people but living people that are bewitched by the machine), a good chorus...it's a little bit too repetitive.

The Ravages Of Time (10/10), another anthem, a prog-metal near-epic, with an interesting structure (it has a whole introduction that repeats at the end, encapsulating the main verses and chorus)....I just can't get enough of the transition between the prechorus and the anthemic, superb chorus...(I'm a sucker for pre-chorus - chorus structures)... essential.

Sheltering Sky (9/10), an entertaining short number, acoustic in its verse, with a good chorus that sounds like something out of AOR US- rock..yes, don't let that discourage you, it's actually very good but at times poppy as hell.

Oceanbound (10/10) again, the masters of singing-along choruses strike back! After an ambiguous start only in bass, and atmospheric keyboards, the main riff gets going, a pure heavy-metal-prog riff. The prechorus follows with an echoing remark (this is the - 0.5 for me) and a great, great chorus that makes you want to try it again, to overcome difficulties..."let the sky become an ocean...'cause I'm not scared" That's the lyrics, and the music conveys that....

Long Way Home (8/10) the lesser track in the album, but not bad at all(it gets an 8 after all)! It's just that the main riff is a little bit too common ground, too vulgar, too heavy-metal...the chorus is a different story... after the violence, some relief...piano- keys adornate this great chorus.

Keep My Head (8/10)... well, this is even more AOR than Sheltering sky... this is the ballad of the album...it sounds at times like US-pop-rock band Reo Speedwagon...only with some steroids...

Narcissus (11/10), as good as prog-metal near-epics can get (I call epics songs past the 15 minute mark)...it starts with a Shadow Gallery-like statement, direct start, the haunting verse leaves no place for confidence, it makes you feel unease, nervous...then the screaming pre-chorus, an attempt to discover the truth behind that fear... but we get no answer, for the verse comes again to leave you restless...the prechorus appears once again, and this time the answer appears in the form of Threshold's greatest chorus, everything was ego, you are nothing but a narcissus looking yourself in the curbs of somebody else's eyes...but being none....what an exclamation of despair this chorus makes! You're wrong narcissus, you are wrong. Petulant....The bridge halfway down the track in robotic, android-like doubled voices is breathtaking....Amazing, just....superb.

Nothing more for me to say, not "recommender for" or "not recommended for", just,

SIT IN FRONT OF YOUR PC. GO ONLINE. ORDER IT. LISTEN TO IT.

Enjoy.

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Send comments to The T (BETA) | Report this review (#96915)
Posted Thursday, November 02, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Threshold is a really important name in the english progressive metal scene, and after listening to this beautiful record I can clearly understand why. The song are wonderfully balanced between the heavy riffs, the tight time singatures changes and the catchy and marvellous melodies displayed by the singer Andrew McDermott. Altough the opener Light And Space has a quite banal beginning, with a classic heavy metal "in your face" rhythm that lacks originality, it becomes more interesting in the dreamier and softer chorus. But then the album just grows up with each song. Turn On Tune In is one of my favourite, with two marvellous chord progressions and unforgettable melodies in the verse and in the chorus (I remember singing "Turn on tune in drop out" for a week after listening to it!), and so are Sheltering Sky, Oceanbound and Long Way Home (the best chorus in the whole record, with a wonderful usage of the 7/4 time signature). The epics The Ravages Of Times and Narcissus are really good as well, and I find especially breathtaking the doubled robot-like voices based bridge in the second one. Pure genius. With the exception of Keep My Head, an horrible pop/AOR ballad, all the songs in this record are well worth the listening.

They sound a little bit cold at times (the production reminds me a lot of Images And Words '80-like sounds drums and arrangements), but the songs, that we all know are at the end of the day the more important thing, are very very strong and powerful. Really good one!

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Send comments to Rosenfield (BETA) | Report this review (#99564)
Posted Sunday, November 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I've heard of Threshold back in the '95 when Psychedelicetessen was released. The progressive metal world was full of mouth of them. Well, i didn't believe them, so i skipped them in my progressive collection. But i was wrong. I see it now because after 5 or 6 years later they are hot gossip again. The proof is the album Hypothetical which is the best blend between heavy/power and progressive metal. Karl Groom's guitar is at the moment heavy, almost thrashy and on the other hand it's gentle and melodic. The same with McDermott's vocal. Lyrics are intelligent. The songs on the album are very tight and if as there are 2,3 or even 4 themes in them, but Threshold does this complexity very listenable and linear so it's not to tough to listen to it! That's why i like it so much. I won't go in too deep in explaining the songs, my fav. are Light & Space and The Ravages of Time. The only critic i have for this album is maybe it should have a few more recognizable refrains. 9/10

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Send comments to AOR_Crazy (BETA) | Report this review (#117816)
Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Some of the people and bands that they thank in the liner notes are Martin Orford, Clive Nolan, Fudge Smith, DREAM THEATER, PAIN OF SALVATION, ENCHANT, CONCEPTION, LANDMARQ, EGDON HEATH, FLAMBOROUGH HEAD and PSYCHOTIC WALTZ. Just an amazing album cover on this one. These guys truly are the kings of crunch. Another great record that is not without it's faults, but I can't resist the terrific vocals and the riff laden melodies.

"Light And Space" has a spacey intro before the riffs, synths and vocals arrive. I really like the calm section before 2 minutes that is quite beautiful. We then get a guitar solo followed by a synth solo. Soaring guitar to end it. Nice. "Turn On Tune In" has lots of crunch with background synths.The chorus is fantastic and 3 minutes in they're really cooking ! "The Ravages Of Time" features more crunch ! I love the drumming as well. Spacey synths come in as it settles down before 3 minutes. The heavy riffs are great.

"Sheltering Sky" is much like a power ballad. It opens with guitar, piano and reserved vocals as the wind blows. There is some guitar and riffs too. "Oceanbound" sounds like an earlier song, more of the same really. "Long Way Home" has a piano intro until riffs take over as synths come and go. There is an amazing sound 5 minutes in as riffs arrive with the guitar soloing over top. "Keep My Head" is a song I skip every time. I hate it. It's a ballad that sounds awful in my opinion. And it is very unusual for me to skip a song. "Narcissus" is where the band comes back to sanity again. Riffs throb as the guitar cries out. There is some good atmosphere to this one. The song changes 5 1/2 minutes in for a couple of minutes and then we're back to the crunch and some inventive guitar melodies. Some blistering guitar to end it.

Another winner from the riff masters, hypothetically speaking. 3.5 stars.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#135567)
Posted Friday, August 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Although Threshold released their first album in 1993 and are still going in 2007 any significant success has so far eluded them. That's a shame as they are one of the better Progressive Metal bands around. Hypothetical is their fifth studio release and really captures them at their very best. Although they have released some very good albums before and since, none of them quite match up to the quality on display here. On Hypothetical they seem to get the balance just right. Heavy Metal guitar riffs are all over the place, yet the songs still retain strong melodies helped by the strong vocals of Andrew "Mac" Mcdermott.

Light and Space opens the album in fine style with a great riff and shows that Threshold know how to play in different time signatures other than 4/4. The power doesn't let up on Turn on Tune in and has a particularly strong vocal melody.

Best track on the album goes to following song, the 10 minute long; The Ravages of Time. Many twists and turns are evident here and all the band excel with some great playing, Richard West's Keyboards sounding particularly good and it's a credit to a well balanced production that they can be heard amongst such heavy guitar riffs. In fact it's worth pointing out that he's never sounded quite so upfront since due to the heavier riffing, particularly on their latest album Dead Reckoning.

Although not quite in the same league as the first 3 songs, the more laid back Sheltering Sky, the heavier Oceanbound and Long Way Home keep the flow of quality Progressive Metal going nicely. Ballad, Keep my Head offers a respite from the overall heaviness before final track Narcissus kicks in with another great riff and is the second epic at over 11 minutes long and again many changes are present.

My only criticism of a fantastic album would be Johanne James' Drum sound which is a little synthetic, although it has to be said that's he's an excellent player.

Anyone wanting to check out Threshold would be recommended to start here.

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Send comments to Nightfly (BETA) | Report this review (#142381)
Posted Saturday, October 06, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Hypothetical was the first Threshold CD I got and it is still one of my favorites among their discography. Looking back I see this album as an important step since it stabilished their own sound once and for all. Their music is quite sophisticated and elegant, with a wall of heavy guitar riffs, dreamy keyboards and powerful rhythm section. Above all I enjoy a lot Andrew McDermott´s voice. Unlike so many prog metal bands like Dream Theatre and Symphony X, he is not a HM singer. His style is much more fitting to prog than anything else, which gives this band a very unique trademark.

One of the few CDs you can hear from beginning to end with pleasure, there are, however, some highlits like The Ravages Of Time, Sheltering Sky and the fantastic 11+ minute epic closer Narcissus (one of their best songs ever!). The producton is again done by guitarrist Karl Groom and keyboardsman Richard West and it is simply perfect for their sound. The songs are inspired and energetic.

My copy has a hidden acoustic track that shows they can handle this style of music pretty well too.

Conclusion: one of the best progmetal bands ever (more prog than metal, really). And Hypothetical is a good proof of it.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#142785)
Posted Monday, October 08, 2007 | Review Permalink
progrules
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I just reviewed Critical Mass and I have to say even though there is just one year in between these two albums there is quite a big gap in specific style. True, they are both progressive metal in the same line up but this album is a bit heavier, darker and less accessible than it´s successor. But it´s very hard to say which is better. I think this album Hypothetical is more equable in quality. All songs are great but there are less special highlights than on Critical Mass.

It´s more like: if you want to hear an hour of a very reliable Threshold at more or less its best you´d better take Hypothetical and you will not be bored one second. This is enough reason for me to give the 4 stars. Highlights (if there are any) are the two longer tracks.

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Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#158863)
Posted Friday, January 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Threshold have struggled for some time with the reputation of being 'The British Dream Theater' (if this was their intention, the should really have just called themselves Dream Theatre). Clearly both bands play metal with progressive tendencies, but that is hardy sufficient reason for direct comparison. Otherwise we'd have to start calling Barack Obama 'The American Margaret Thatcher', which hardly seems appropriate.

The differences are clear on Hypothetical. Threshold's sound is slick and neatly produced, the riffs unfussy and almost simple sounding, and the instrumental breaks are relatively short. In fact, it would be fair to say that it is not a challenging album, you wont find yourself scratching your head in the wee hours of morning asking: what does this wall of noise mean?! The melodies are easy to listen to, the vocals are not overwrought, and the guitars chug out satisfyingly leg tapping riffery. This is not necessarily a bad thing. On 'Light and Space' (and to a lesser extend 'Oceanbound' and 'Long Way Home') these elements come together to form a very satisfying whole. The two longer tracks, 'The Ravages of Time' and 'Narcissus', work for the same reasons, but... in a longer sort of way.

Yet this is the problem, even when they give themselves the space to do something more interesting, Threshold stick to the safe ground. There is nothing wrong with the poppy sheen that glazes the album, but there is a lack of a real adventurous spirit to keep the listener coming back. It doesn't matter whether music is labelled progressive, pop, polka-folk or whatever else; ideas are always golden. Hypothetical, whilst featuring competent and assured songwriting, lacks that spark that would make it truly memorable. It doesn't help that there are a couple of really stinking power ballads at the tail of the album either. Good, certainly, but nothing special.

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Send comments to Witch (BETA) | Report this review (#226491)
Posted Monday, July 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
2 stars The decline of Threshold continues. Apart from the Ravages of Time and Light and Space this album is tough for me to get through: often blatantly commercial, too bombastic and overall predictable.

The Ravages of Time is classic Threshold though. An epic and melodic piece with those firm and crunchy metal riffs (nothing demanding but effective) and a chorus that can stand as an example of how to make a pompous refrain (that will set off your cheese indicators in all extreme directions) into something dramatic and impressive. We used to call this FM-rock, but it's probably the best you might encounter.

Also Light and Space is ok. Other songs contain listenable parts, usually the verses, but if you're not into sing-along anthem metal, I'd advise you to stay away from this.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#248355)
Posted Friday, November 06, 2009 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars Turn on, tune in

The fans of Threshold are divided when it comes to the respective merits of the various eras of the band. A common view seems to be that the band's best period started when Andrew McDermott (or Mac as he is often called) joined the band for the recording of the previous Clone and that they then peaked with the present album and its follow-up Critical Mass. While it is hard to deny that this was the start of Threshold's most stable period (continuing until Mac's recent and very tragic death), it is not at all in my opinion their best. My personal favourite Threshold albums are the two ones with Damian Wilson on lead vocals, Wounded Land and Extinct Instinct. The reason is not that I dislike Mac, not at all. The reason is rather that I find the band's first four albums inventive, original, fresh, and exciting, while Hypothetical and Critical Mass come across as formulaic and predictable in comparison. Hypothetical is filled with polished, melodic Prog Metal by the numbers. Good music, but no surprises.

I am particularly disturbed by the sometimes overly catchy choruses that are in abundance on the present album. This emphasis on choruses makes the music a bit too catchy and melodic for my taste. This also makes the music less adventurous and more conventional (and, dare I say, commercial).

Good, but for me this is far behind the brilliance of the earlier albums

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#294637)
Posted Sunday, August 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Heavy on the hairspray

Three years after releasing their acclaimed "Clone" album, Threshold returned to the studio in 2001 with the same line up apart from Johanne James taking over on drums. In the interim period, they had released a fan club only collection ("Decadent") and signed up with Inside Out Records. Opinions may be divided about whether the change of label was a step forward in prog terms, but there is no doubt it was significant, as it introduced the band to a wider audience, which in turn led to greater commercial success.

The opening "Light and space" certainly has a hairspray rock feel to it, the driving guitars and melodic harmonies being reminiscent of bands such as Journey and Boston. On the plus side, Karl Groom and Nick Midson's lead guitar contributions remain dynamic and captivating. "Turn On Tune In" takes its repetitive one line chorus to a rather irritating level, but as a whole the song is well constructed and executed.

"The ravages of time" is the first of two long (10+ minutes) tracks on the album. While it sets out as another orthodox rock/metal number, the song soon reveals more progressive leanings through a more complex arrangement and dramatic keyboards. The melodic rock nuances remain, with the band Magnum coming to mind, but the track does require several listens to discover its true appeal. "Sheltering Sky" takes us into full AOR ballad territory, moving from an acoustic opening to the big sound chorus. The song's placing back to back with the following "Oceanbound" creates a building 12 minute mini-suite although things are kept straightforward throughout.

"Long way home" completes the journey back to solid metal riffs and anthemic choruses. "Keep my head" is a sort of ""Sheltering sky" part 2, but even lighter and softer. We close with the album's longest track, "Narcissus". While hardly venturing towards unexplored territories, the song does bring together many of the tenets of melodic hard rock. It makes for a fine closer to a decent if generally unremarkable album.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#869070)
Posted Friday, November 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
4 stars In 2001 Threshold released this their fifth full studio album, which has now been reissued by Nuclear Blast as a 'Definitive Edition' with three additional live songs (previously on the 'Concert In Paris' release). Yet again the band suffered with the revolving line-up issue with a seeming inability to record more than one album with the same guys, although this was the first time that they had recorded consecutive albums with the same singer. Drummer Mark Heaney was the casualty this time; he had been there for the previous two albums but was replaced by Johanne James who is still there some 12 years after this was released.

It had been three years since the 1998 release of their previous album, 'Clone', and that had gained a great deal of attention and had led to the band touring in Europe with the likes of Dream Theater so after such a gap they were going to be under a lot of scrutiny, but there was no need for anyone to worry. Songs such as "Turn On Tune In" show just why they are held in such high regard, with riffs, hooks and great vocals, while in "The Ravages Of Time" Johanne showed why he was the new incumbent driving the band along from the back. While they may have suffered with drummers and singers over the years, the other four guys (guitarists Karl Groom and Nick Midson, bassist Jon Jeary and keyboard player Richard West) had been playing together since in 1989 and the way that they lock in shows the experience of playing so much together.

In my original review (#62 of Feedback) I said "The last time I saw these guys I got serious neck ache ? if ever you thought that melodic rock couldn't stand up against 'normal' hard rock for power and passion then think again. Threshold are back in town." Playing this again is like revisiting an old friend, and with a couple of songs longer than ten minutes there is plenty of room for the band to spread their melodic rock. Yet again a masterpiece of the genre. www.thresh.net

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Send comments to kev rowland (BETA) | Report this review (#890563)
Posted Thursday, January 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is my third Threshold album and the first that I will review. I started out with 'Dead Reckoning' and later bought 2012's 'March of Progress'. Interested in hearing their older material and reading that 'Hypothetical' came highly recommended, I ordered this album next.

First, allow me to comment briefly on the two latest releases. I first listened to samples of 'March of Progress' and was blown away by the guitar sound. If a progressive metal band sounded this awesome in the guitar department, they were good enough for me. Furthermore, I was not yet ready for the death growl vocals of many metal bands, so the clean vocals of Threshold appealed to me. But 'Dead Reckoning' was cheaper and after a quick listen I found the guitar sound was the same and bought that album instead. Now, 'MoP' ranks as the number 11 album of 2012 on the Prog Archives and other reviewers said 'DR' was not as good. So after a few listens to 'DR' and being only mildly impressed, I decided to go for 'MoP' which I personally found was quite similar.

So, how about this older album from 2001? The first thing I noticed was that there was a little more keyboard work featured here. The later albums seem to use keyboards mostly as a rhythm instrument and for some effects, and piano (or synth piano) for the mellower moments. 'Hypothetical' includes some synthesizer solos which, for me, makes them sound a little more progressive oriented than the later albums which sound more commercial. In the 80's, any metal band that added synthesizer was most likely trying to appeal to the mainstream market, and among my friends and I, the synthesizer was almost a dirty word. So if a band is going to have a keyboard player on board, he'd better have more to do that just play rhythm chords that soften the heavy impact of the guitars.

Second, I noticed that the guitar sound was a bit grittier with more crunch to it. As Threshold already had impressed me with their guitar sound, I welcomed this to my ears openly.

Still, though, when all was consumed and digested, I couldn't help but think that this older album was still very similar to the later albums, notwithstanding the change in vocals from 'DR' to 'MoP'. Threshold are similar to Fates Warning in that they are not as technically complex as Dream Theater and instead go progressive by creating longer compositions with tempo and mood changes and add in some odd drum beats (though I'd say Fates Warning do more with the odd drum beats from what I've heard). Also like Fates Warning, Threshold often stick to the soft verse/quiet chorus routine except they mix it up by doing a hard verse/melodic chorus pattern sometimes. Threshold adds a lot of melodic parts to their songs to contrast with the grittier heavy parts, but in the end the clean vocals and synthesizer prevent them from ever becoming really really heavy. I am sure most metal heads in the 80's would have peed themselves over that monster guitar sound, but by today's standards being that raunchy and heavy is pretty well, well standard. Generally speaking, while there are progressive moments, much of the music is still fairly ordinary heavy metal with clean vocals and melodic parts.

The three songs that stand out for me are 'Ravages of Time', 'Long Way Home', and 'Keep My Head', with nods to 'Turn On, Tune In' and 'Narcissus'. 'Ravages' has some of that gritty crunchy power chord guitar and sounds rather aggressive at first. The lyrics start of dealing with a theme that is of interest to me: how a single location changes over time as in a sea bed becomes a mountain range, a mountain range a plain, a plain a desert, and so on. The first half of the song keeps me listening but I find my attention wanders through the second half. 'Long Way Home' has some great heavy guitar and elements of progressive metal as I identify it. 'Keep My Head' is a metal band's take on what could be a late 70's or early 80's adult contemporary pop song. Maybe Glenn Hughes has something like this on one of his 90's albums. A nice change of pace though possibly out of place in the opinions of some. 'Narcissus' has a powerful anthemic riff at the beginning in later in the song. The middle section where the band does a bit of musical mood exploration adds interest to a long song.

It's a good enough album and perhaps just a bit more interesting than the two most recent efforts, for me anyway. But honestly there's not much to my ears that separates 'Hypothetical' from 2001 from 'Dead Reckoning' from 2007 or 'March of Progress' from 2012. Actually, I don't see any real progress. One Threshold album is as good as another would be my conclusion. But I am sure that more devoted listeners can separate the wheat from the chaff, as reading the reviews suggests. At least I can say I won't have to think about writing reviews for the other two as my thoughts will be similar to what I have written here. Good music and good band. Nice to add songs to a playlist and maybe on a mixed CD. But nothing I feel compelled to tell my friends about.

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Send comments to FragileKings (BETA) | Report this review (#901731)
Posted Tuesday, January 29, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars 8/10

Taking a look at the classification of this and subsequent albums Threshold, the idea I have is that I'm entering the "golden era" of the band. But after a lot of bugging I could say that this "era" began in Clone, because although Hypothetical is a great album, it makes me want to give it 5 stars.

Not because it is deceptive, however, is very good, but most of the songs is just "more of the same", lying on the same level. Well, I have to point out that the opening Light and Space, the ballad Keep my Head and epic Narcissus stand out as absolute highlights, and certainly deserve to be among the pantheon of the best songs of the band, but the other songs, for better choruses have, however mingled and virtuous who are members of the band, do not surprise me as much as these three.

4 stars.

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Send comments to voliveira (BETA) | Report this review (#967667)
Posted Friday, May 31, 2013 | Review Permalink

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