Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Threshold - For The Journey CD (album) cover

FOR THE JOURNEY

Threshold

Progressive Metal


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
3 stars Threshold's second album with Damian Wilson back at the mike is somewhat slower and simpler affair (songs average 5 minutes with repetitive structure) than its bombastic predecessor. But pretty much sticks to the familiar formula of catchy heavy rock with adult-oriented rock and atmospheric Pink Floyd bits. It's designed for fist pumping and singing along alright, but I kinda feel a lack of inspiration. It's not that it's not very proggy, but too much here is repetitive and reminds of what we've heard on their records before - always a problem with such bands, but even more so. They could write such songs in their sleep. It looks more and more like the bands that started the new wave of heavy prog in the 90s, such as Dream Theater and Threshold, are running out of steam.
Report this review (#1286279)
Posted Tuesday, September 30, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Life in Transition

To appreciate this album, I had to set aside my expectations of this being March Of Progress 2. March Of Progress was my introduction to Threshold, and, after perusing their catalog from Extinct Instinct to the present, I came to the impression that it was their masterpiece. Conceived after the death of their lead singer Mac, the return of Damian Wilson as vocalist, and a successful tour, March Of Progress proved that Threshold could not only survive but thrive, and the excitement of that rebirth, I think, infused the album with passion and excitement, regardless of how dark the songs were lyrically or musically. Despite the change in direction lyrically, I expected For The Journey to be imbued with the same joie de vivre. I was wrong, but that's a good thing.

For The Journey examines character traits required for life's journey by viewing life if those traits are lacking. It's an unexpectedly dark approach that works. As always, the musicianship is high, the vocals are great - perhaps Damian Wilson's most nuanced effort with Threshold - and the lyrics are smart, though not as sophisticated as on March Of Progress. If you can accept that the album will be at turns cold, morose, and even creepy before there's hope on the horizon, then you might find yourself enjoying this album quite a bit.

"Watchtower on the Moon" opens the album with the thesis that flawed character hurts everyone. Lyrically, it's a solid introduction to the album's concept. Although the song feels like "Ashes" from March Of Progress at first, it quickly becomes clear that For The Journey is a different album altogether. The use of 2nd person and the processed voices of the chorus lend it a clinical air that's a bit cold, but the instrumentals are fiery and well-done.

"Unforgiven" explores forgiveness and repentence in their absence. It's also dark. Wilson displays a fine dynamic range, and the background vocals from other band members are welcome. My major complaint is the fade out ending with some guitar noodling; it doesn't really seem to fit the song, but hints of this return later.

"The Box" is the epic progressive number. An actual story song, almost like some Greek tragedy, about the cost of embracing convenience and instant gratification (I think), the music shifts through many different moods and instrumentations, while the story unfolds from both personal and societal perspectives. Wilson's final confession is heartbreaking.

"Turned to Dust" puts Wilson through some interesting choppy vocal stylings. The chorus is very catchy. A strumming/shuddering motif appears in this song to be echoed in later songs - perhaps suggesting the glimpses of rousing from slumber.

"Lost in Your Memory" is a power ballad. It suits Wilson quite well.

"Autumn Red" continues, apparently, a series of songs about autumn. It's a great song but rather mysterious lyrically. Along with "Lost in Your Memory," it heralds a change in direction from darkness to glimpses of light and hope. Johanne James demonstrates some very good drumming here; I hope he's permitted to cut loose more in the future.

"The Mystery Show" is one of my favorite songs. By turns creepy and instructive, it explores the nature of knowledge, both temporal and spiritual.

Written by Pete Morten, who penned "Coda" and "Divinity" from March Of Progress, "Siren Sky" is the mountaintop experience of the album. The lyrics are smart, the music grand in the best sense, and the vocals pull out all the stops. The subtle shuddering motifs heard earlier take over, and the song becomes an awakening to the possibility of a new life. Rather than ending happily, For The Journey ends with an impassioned prayer.

"I Wish I Could" was penned by drummer Johanne James. (Why haven't they included this guy's songs on previous albums? It's good!) Alas, because it is a cover of an old song, it was saved as a bonus track and doesn't fit the album's concept by being placed at the end. It brings the mood of the album down, so keep in mind that it's not the true ending of the album's concept when listening to it.

Overall, the album effectively explores the cost of flawed character, the need for repentence, and the desire for change through a careful gradation of mood and color by means familiar and novel. Although much of the old Threshold is apparent in these songs, the new shines through: Wilson's more varied delivery stylistically and dynamically, the addition of new colors to the guitar and keyboard palettes, and a sense of experimentation born of confidence in the solidified lineup. It makes for an interesting journey.

It's hard for me to assign a rating to this album, because my appreciation for the album keeps increasing. Initially, I was disappointed in the predominating gray color of the album. "Siren Sky" won me over, and I've slowly grasped how the dark moods do give way to something more hopeful. I would have liked a final song that was truly uplifting - life after redemption - but that's not what Threshold wanted to deliver. For what it is, it's very good. I'm not quite convinced it's a masterpiece yet, but I have come to believe it is far better than just "good". Strongly recommended - just be prepared to take the time to properly digest it.

Report this review (#1290286)
Posted Saturday, October 11, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Snickers of Progressive Metal.

Damian Wilson could sing about pomeranian puppies playing pattycake in the poppy fields and sell it in a way that would make the most ferocious, die hard metal fan ferris wheel their brain pan with school girl delight. For The Journey is Threshold 's sophomore follow up to March Of Progress, which found the band reuniting with Wilson after a long hiatus. March of Progress was a great title for an album that essentially got listeners fired up for revolution, ready to take the mutinous stance of opposition against big government, politics, and the economical greed of "the man." With pitchfork and torch in hands we were expecting the next vigilante theme song, the soundtrack for headhunting the 1%-ers throughout the world. For The Journey, however, leaves us standing confused amongst the ranks, without sonic leadership. The themes for this album were a little darker, more obscured and less abrasive. "Soft" you ask? Nah, there's a new facet, a dark creepy factor is ominously present, especially with songs like "The Box" or "Autumn Red." The lyrics are still somewhat fueled by malcontent and angst, like the previous release, but also foresee the barren, post-apocalyptic landscape -- the fallout, the aftermath. Perhaps Frank Herbert got it right with Children Of Dune: the blossoming of every revolution already contains within it the seeds for it's own destruction, even if victorious. [note: don't read that statement while stoned or you'll ponder the complexity and forget to breathe for a duration which may cause you to black out.]

Threshold is a band that understands their "sound" and there's a specific direction and philosophy that has remained strongly consistent throughout much of their discography. They have solidified their position as one of the best prog metal bands out there, having catchier lyrics, hooks, and melodies than the countless Dream Theater clones (and perhaps even DT themselves!). Threshold remains the most accessible of the prog metal acts. They stay laser-focused on proven song structures and formulas, but it's done so well you find yourself not asking for something experimental. It works. It satisfies. It's the Snickers of progressive metal.

For the Journey is another solid release. The musicianship is superb. There's a quiet reserve about the musicians that hint at a skill set that can easily keep up with the most young, tech/extreme bands out there. But Threshold is mature enough to ask: why would they want to? What's the point? Do they spotlight themselves or the song? The songs take priority. Period. Not to say there's not some dynamic playing, though, just check out the drum break at 3:35 of "Autumn Red" if you're questioning the chops. A few extra spins concludes this release fares up there with March Of Progress. Now if the guys can only make their way to the US for some touring! That would make this reviewer happier than pomeranian puppies playing... well, you get the point.

Wishful concert band pairing: Pagan's Mind.

Report this review (#1292401)
Posted Thursday, October 16, 2014 | Review Permalink
Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Perhaps because March Of Progress was such a strong album and a great return to form for a band that while never less than good, had been treading water for the few previous releases, I was initially a little disappointed with For The Journey. A few plays failed to ignite any great enthusiasm and it sat on my shelf unplayed again for a few months until now. Revisiting it has left me pleasantly surprised; perhaps as I'm returning to it with no expectations it's actually much better than I originally thought.

For The Journey is the second album since vocalist Damian Wilson's return and once again he turns in a fine performance with a strong ear for a good vocal melody. Musically it's their typically melodic prog metal with a number of up-tempo songs, an unexceptional ballad and The Box is the obligatory epic. Whilst there's nothing wrong with The Box, there are no great surprises and there are many better ones, Critical Mass for example, scattered throughout their previous nine studio albums. Much better are the opening two tracks - Watchtower On The Moon with a great driving riff and a strong melodic half tempo chorus. Unforgiven is darker and more dynamic with a strong hook - classic Threshold at their best. The other killer is Siren Sky for its slow brooding riff.

Anyone who's familiar with Threshold will know what to expect. The musicianship is as always spot on and the production typical Karl Groom and Richard West, powerful, clear if a little clinical. Overall a very good album with a few unexceptional tracks robbing it of great status. For The Journey sits in the middle of the league table of Threshold albums. 3 stars.

Report this review (#1346396)
Posted Friday, January 16, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars I was blown away when I first heard March of Progress, and most people should also have the same response. For The Journey did not hit me the same way, but after a few listens, I can tell you this album is equally excellent in it's own way. This band is definitely a stellar Progressive Metal band that everyone should be excited about. They are doing everything right, and this lineup will hopefully stay in tact for years to come. Damian Wilson's vocals on March of Progress and For The Journey are superb, and I could not see this band with anyone else at the mic. If you love progressive metal or enjoy previous Threshold albums, this is a must buy. Make sure you buy the version with the bonus tracks, because I Wish I Could is one of the best songs on the album.
Report this review (#1397685)
Posted Sunday, April 12, 2015 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
4 stars

2014 saw Threshold return with their tenth studio album, their second since Damian Wilson had returned on vocals for the third time. The previous album, 2012's 'March of Progress' had been one of the finest in their canon, so perhaps it isn't surprising that this one isn't quite in the same league. The songs are powerful, the vocals spot on, but there isn't quite the same spark and vitality as there had been previously. It is still a great album, and one that is head and shoulders above most of those dwelling the progressive metal arena, but I did find myself wondering if all was well within the camp.

I don't believe that Threshold could ever release a bad album, or even an average one, as they are just too good for that both collectively and individually, but I realised that although I was enjoying it immensely while it was playing, I wasn't overly keen about pressing repeat when it finished, which says a great deal for me. Were the band just marking time waiting for the next stage? Only time would tell.

Report this review (#1786184)
Posted Saturday, September 23, 2017 | Review Permalink

THRESHOLD For The Journey ratings only


chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of THRESHOLD For The Journey


You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives