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Ajalon On The Threshold Of Eternity album cover
3.05 | 47 ratings | 13 reviews | 6% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Anthem Of The Seventh Day (4:25)
2. The Promised Land (6:49)
3. Sword Of Goliath (5:52)
4. Holy Spirit Fire (6:11)
5. Psalm 61 (4:05)
6. What Kind Of Love (6:48)
7. The Highway (3:56)
8. Forever I Am (10:19)
9. On The Threshold Of Eternity (16:06)
10. You And Me (4:36)

Total time 69:07

Line-up / Musicians

- Wil Henderson / vocals, guitar (3), bass (3,7), Irish whistle (1)
- Randy George / electric & acoustic (4) guitars, keyboards, bass, bodhrán (1), sitar & mandola (4), co-producer
- Dan Lile / drums, sleigh bells (9)

- Phil Keaggy / vocals & acoustic guitar (4)
- Neal Morse / vocals (9)
- Lisa Green / backing vocals (6,7)
- W. Mark Wilson / guitar (8), mixing
- Taylor Mesplé / piano (4)
- Rick Wakeman / Moog & organ (6), keyboards (8)
- Jeremy Cays / Irish whistle (8)
- Brian Adderbury / drums (4)

Releases information

Artwork: Chris White & Randy George

CD Threshing Floor Records ‎- TFD0205 (2005, US)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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AJALON On The Threshold Of Eternity ratings distribution

(47 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(6%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(34%)
Good, but non-essential (45%)
Collectors/fans only (13%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

AJALON On The Threshold Of Eternity reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. AJALON are a three piece Christian band from the USA.

They start things off with an instrumental "Anthem Of The Seventh Day" a song that has a Celtic feel to it thanks mainly to the Irish whistle. The guitar melody is very good, as well as the keyboards. "The Promised Land" is such an uplifting song with really good keyboard passages and the highlight, the vocals of Wil Henderson, his voice is so smooth and warm. "Sword Of Goliath" opens with a cool keyboard melody. The rhythm of this song really draws me in, and there is a good guitar solo as well. "Holy Spirit Fire" features a nice keyboard melody throughout and Phil Keaggy gives us an acoustic guitar solo towards the end.

"Psalm 61" is a song from the Bible and is all about the words, God's words. "What Kind Of Love" features Rick Wakeman on keyboards and moog and he's the focus on this song. I really like "The Highway" such a great melody that is reserved including the vocals. The next two songs are the longest ones with lots of time changes ."Forever I Am" features Rick Wakeman contributing keyboard solos, while the title song has Neal Morse contributing vocals. I found both these songs difficult to listen to all the way through, they couldn't keep my attention, which is too bad because I really liked all the tunes up until the two epics.They cover a MOODY BLUES song called "You and I" on the final song on the record that I quite enjoyed.

There is a lot to like here, and I look forward to hearing from them in the future.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is a three-piece band in which one of the members, Randy George, contributed to the solo album by Neal Morse, "Testimony". I was not paying close attention until I knew Ajalon and I opened the CD sleeve of "Testimony" and found out Randy as one of session player. I was not aware about the band history when I got this album but it made me curious to enjoy the music from a band The I had never heard it yet.

I was impressed with the opening track "Anthem of the Seventh Day" which basically an instrumental piece with excellent drums solo at the opening part. It reminds me to CAST (Mexico) song called "Initiation" from "Angels and Demons" album. The unique part of this opening track is the use of "Penny Whistle" that gives traditional nuance. In fact, listening to this whistle, my mind relates this with one of the songs in Kayak's "Close To The Fire" album.

"The Promised Land" sounds like a ballads with good vocal quality accompanied with acoustic guitar as rhythm section and keyboard sounds, plus drums and bass, of course. "Sword of Goliath" kicks off beautifully with a keyboard solo that reminds me to the intro of Marillion's "Garden Party". The tempo of this third track is faster than previous two songs. The vocal quality is like a blend of Alan Parson's project vocal line and Andy Latimer of Camel. "Holy Spirit Fire" style is very Alan Parson's Project's. "Psalm 61" continues the style of previous track - it's basically a pop rock scene.

"What Kind of Love" opening acapella reminds me to the music of Yes "Talk" album. But when the music enters, there is relatively complex arrangement with keyboard as main player as well as guitar. The music then flows in pop rock style. "The Highway" brings the music back to ballad pop with acoustic guitar providing fills as well as rhythm section. The same vein is carried forward into next track "Forever I Am". The concluding track is an epic "On the Threshold of Eternity" with nice pulsating keyboard as opener.

Overall, this album has good compositions especially in combining melody line and music arrangements. With many curved lines in some of compositions, the album is not a straight forward music, it's a prog album. I think the musicianship is also good especially with great names like Neal Morse, Rick Wakeman as additional musicians. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by JLocke
3 stars Ajalon! A great symphonic prog band with alot of uplifting soundscapes that are very reminiscent of the olden days of Yes and Gensis. Much like fellow symph-proggers Echolyn, they have managed to invent a sound truly their own while maintaining a firm stand in symphonic soil. The most impressive tracks as far as I am concerned are the first and the last; the former being a wonderful instrumental featuring soaring guitar solos resembling more of a John Petrucci vibe than Steve Howe, as well as some absolutely superb flute work; the latter is a true Prog Rock epic of sorts, nearly seventeen minutes in length that changes many times along the way, just like a good old-fashioned prog song should!

Now the bad news: this band's singer has a terrible voice for this type of music. It isn't his fault, yet I do think these guys could have benefited from hiring a vocalist to join them and actually sing rather than whine in a syrupy, sickening tone that sounds like something I would hear if I turned my radio to the pop worship channel. Also, amongst the truly great progressive songs (Anthem of the Seventh Day, Sword of Goliath, What Kind of Love, Forever I Am, On the Threshold of Eternity) are several christian pop tunes that are still enjoyable, but feel VERY out of place on the record when paired up against such wonderful calliber Symphonic Prog sojourns (Though the singer's voice suits these soft rockers much better than it does the actual prog entries on the disc).

I would have given this record a four had it not been for these shortcomings. Yes folks, the music is THAT good! Truly! If you can look past some cheesy lyrics, an even cheesier singer (who I actually became used to after a few listens) and some traditional pop songs thrown in for good measure, then you will discover what is so great about this release: The musicianship is beyond outstanding, the songs on the release that truly CAN be called progressive are some of the best Symphonic Prog works done in recent memory. Undeniably so. So, why not a four, or even a five? Well, because even these strengths cannot change that fact that Ajalon is half Progressive Rock, half Christion Pop. The two genres couldn't be farther from one another, and frankly, I would have rather the Ajalon guys left the poppy elements out of it altogether. Had they done that, this album could have rivaled the likes of AS THE WORLD and HYBRIS in terms of modern Symph Prog standards. Alas, the trio thought it was a good idea to mish-mash a pointless genre with a perfect one, and while that step alone was truly progressive thinking, the result was an album that could have been the next CttE, but was instead just another 'good try' at an epic. A shame.

Bottom line: absolutely fantastic music, but too much mainstream influence causes it to fall short on the whole. Three out of Five I am afraid is how it is going to have to stand. Definately give this thign a try, however, especially if you are wanting a modern band with the old artists' touch.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars I guess that what I dislike the most with this band is their Christian orientation. And they do believe. believe me.

Their debut album (released almost nine years prior to this one) reflected this source of inspiration quite heavily in their poor lyrics. So, we have been touched by grace since the opening number Anthem Of The Seventh Day is an instrumental track; and a pretty good one I must say. It combines true folk elements with symphonic parts. A highlight (probably the one and only).

Unfortunately, the next few songs are not at all on par. The band is just repeating what was available on Light At The End Of The Tunnel. Which means pop-prog-Christian music. Not my all time fave actually.

This album is a very long continuation of faith tunes which I can barely bare: The Promised Land, Holy Spirit Free, Psalm 61. What a programme! I guess that it was of Neal Morse's taste to participate into such a project (even as a guest). Rick Wakeman was also involved in this album (he even released their debut on his own Hope Records label).

The music displayed is clichés and borrowed. Yes being the supplier of most musical ideas. There are very few songs of interest, originality is next door (or even further). Don't get me wrong: the music is not bad and the musicians are skilled. But I just can't be moved with such music and what's behind.

The epic and title track sounds a bit better, but is nothing from the other world. Two stars for this album.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Oh boy, or story about how these lyrics ruined this all.

For me, non-believer is this album a hard thing. Even I was trying to shut down my translating brain and not listen to lyrics as English is not my native language, it's not something easy. They're terrible to say it short. Now I'm quite glad for Neal Morse, he at least can do these bad things (for me) properly. When I listened first track and saw these negative reviews here, I was thinking of you that you must have been somewhat blinded. Erm, I mean deaf. But you were not. First track is great, others are not.

Well, not so important review, but this music left me confused and somehow abused.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Ajalon crafts songs that would more likely appeal to people who love contemporary Christian music (artists like FFH, 4HIM, or the late Rich Mullins). That's not to say that a progressive element is absent, but it does take a backseat to a more candid approach, often having the worshipful and biblical lyrics drive the album, even at the expense of melody sometimes. The performances contained on this album are clean and profession, even if the sound as a whole is formulaic and very unoriginal. Appearances by three guest musicians provide an occasional sense of newness. My copy has a bonus track, "You and Me," a cover of a song from The Moody Blues.

"Anthem of the Seventh Day" Beginning the album with a regal, Celtic feel, this instrumental is somewhat unlike what will occur on the rest of the record. Breathy synthesizer and penny whistle close this lovely piece.

"The Promised Land" Simple acoustic guitar and a light vocal melody are what this is all about. I find the lyrics a bit churchy, in that much of the verbiage is overwrought with vocabulary best suited for the pulpit or a Sunday school class. Others may not feel this, but as someone who has for the most part grown up in church, the lyrics just have a stale familiarity- a minor gripe, really. The terse acoustic guitar solo is a lovely interlude.

"Sword of Goliath" Overpowering synthesizer begins the third song- it's a relief when it goes away, leaving an easygoing but upbeat chord progression. The refrain is saccharinely hackneyed, but that is not to say it is not enjoyable or appreciated; musically it has something of a 1980s vibe.

"Holy Spirit Fire" Of all the songs on the album, this is the catchiest and perhaps the most rewarding lyrically (the line "Breathe in your freedom, dance away from your chains" resonates most vibrantly within my heart). It sounds quite like Bruce Hornsby for the most part, with yet another brief, excellent acoustic guitar solo- this one courtesy of the maestro Phil Keaggy.

"Psalm 61" Christian artists occasionally take a Psalm right out of the Bible and use it more or less word for word as lyrics to a song. Due to the nature and structure of Hebrew poetry, these attempts can often be strained and difficult to listen to, but Ajalon takes the first few verses of the sixty-first psalm and does a passable job placing them in the form of a straightforward contemporary Christian song (it helps that some of the words in the English translations incidentally rhyme). The music itself is again up-tempo and positive, relying heavily on acoustic guitar and vocal harmonies.

"What Kind of Love" The opening vocal harmony reminds me of Yes's work while Trevor Rabin was in the saddle. After a string of more straightforward songs, it's nice to hear something more complex and demanding. The synthesizer work is top notch here, and with good reason: The first time I heard the organ solo, I thought to myself, "That sounds quite a bit like Rick Wakeman," and as it turns out, it was indeed the caped keyboardist!

"The Highway" Picked acoustic guitar introduces a rather uncomplicated number, which has pleasant vocals (particularly the backing vocals). It is nothing spectacular, but is a nice song nonetheless.

"Forever I Am" Once again, picked acoustic guitar sets the stage for this extended song. The vocals are breathy and the lyrics uncomfortably squeezed together- the melody just seems forced. Over a simple piano and bass riff, those awkward vocals continue; fortunately the refrain is a tad stronger. Wakeman's synthesized brass may seem appropriate on paper, but in practice it sounds out of place. This may be one of the gaudiest examples of progressive rock, but again, it isn't terrible- just quite mediocre.

"On the Threshold of Eternity" While the previous song was a stab at progressive rock, the title piece, a sixteen-minute beast, does so a little more successfully. It is pumped full of lively keyboard work initially, but soon becomes a placid, airy piece that ushers into lone piano and a bleak vocal. Handling the task of serving as the voice of Jesus Christ is none other than Neal Morse. Perhaps the worst part of this lengthy track is that the vocal sections are almost all slow; they almost drag down the piece and make what should be an inspiring and hopeful work into something sleepy and tiresome.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars "Grace in the midst of the fire"

Imagine that born again Christian and songwriter extraordinaire Kerry Livgren (of Kansas fame) would have formed a new band in the present millennium together with Rick Wakeman, Phil Keaggy and Neal Morse and you have a pretty good idea of what the music of Ajalon is like. Livgren is not in any way involved in this group, but Kansas seems to be an inspiration for Ajalon. Wakeman, Keaggy and Morse are, on the other hand, all present here as special guests. The band itself consists of Randy George, Will Henderson and Dan Lile.

My interest in Ajalon came primarily from being a Rick Wakeman fan, but I am also quite fond of Neal Morse's excellent solo albums ? and Sola Scriptura to which Randy George has contributed. According to his website, George has also worked with one of my favourite guitarists Steve Hackett at some point but I don't know where and when. I'm not going to go on with the name dropping here, but these famous and well respected names give more than a hint to the kind of music Ajalon makes.

The history of Ajalon goes back to 1994 when they started to write music together. In 1996, Rick Wakeman heard a demo tape and was impressed enough to sign the band to his own Christian record label Hope Records on which Ajalon released their debut album. This is their second album, released in 2004.

On The Threshold Of Eternity is a melodic and well produced modern Symphonic Prog album with Christian inspiration. Being an atheist myself and even part of a secular Humanist organisation, I sometimes have a problem with religious lyrics. And if you read the lyrics here there is no doubt about their religious or "spiritual" orientation. However, in some instances it is surely possible to make your own interpretation of these lyrics and make them meaningful even outside of a Christian context. Jesus is, for example, not explicitly mentioned in the lyrics (though he is thanked in the liner notes!) and God and 'the lord' figure explicitly only occasionally. The lyrics are therefore actually a bit more intelligent and subtle than one might think, though I certainly understand that it can put some people off. But anyone who can stand Neal Morse should have no problem with Ajalon.

I know that some music fans are able to almost completely ignore the lyrics but while I'm not one of those people, I still think that the lyrics are of lesser importance here. It is the music that stands out for me. We have here tasteful melodies and many instrumental passages with many nice guitar and keyboard solos. We also have some very discrete use of unusual instruments like Irish whistle, bodhran, sitar, mandola and also some discrete female backing vocals that give some passages a slight folky touch. Rick Wakeman contributes great Moog and organ solos to What Kind Of Love and Forever I Am while Neal Morse sings lead on a verse on the title track. Phil Keaggy is not someone I am very familiar but he has apparently a long career in (Christian) Rock music (?). He contributes some very tasteful acoustic guitar solos.

The hidden bonus track is a pretty good Moody Blues cover but it adds little to the album as a whole. It does, however, reveal another influence of the band in addition to what I hinted at before; Yes, Steve Hackett, Kansas, Neal Morse. This is not to imply that Ajalon are copycats. While hardly groundbreaking, they have something of their own to offer as well. I particularly like the strong acoustic (and slightly folky nature) of the music within the electric Rock framework as well as the lovely melodies.

I enjoy this album a lot and I can strongly recommend it to anyone who does not have a stronger aversion towards religious lyrics than I have myself.

Review by Conor Fynes
2 stars 'On The Threshold Of Eternity' - Ajalon (4/10)

Let me first say that Ajalon's debut was awful. In this case, 'awful' is meant to apply to virtually every aspect of that album; everything from the sappy Christian lyrics to the production reeked of amateurism and the throwaway quality that bad bands around the world all aspire for. With that in mind, please note that my rating of Ajalon's second album 'On The Threshold Of Eternity' may be influenced due in part to the element of my surprise. While Ajalon haven't gone through an extreme makeover in the years between the first and this sophomore album, there is enough of a change here to make me reconsider a few of the nasty things I said about them earlier. First, 'On The Threshold Of Eternity' sees the band return to the studio after a number of years, and it is clear that they have picked up some much needed professional skill in their time off. Next, Ajalon's work this time around may not be so much more ambitious, but the combination of a better execution and interesting guest musicians make the album something of a recommendation, if only a numbingly lukewarm one.

As the debut 'Light At The End Of The Tunnel' outlined, Ajalon is a Christian band, and they accord themselves and their lyrics to that belief system. The debut was wrought with sappy Christian apologetics, with vocalist Will Henderson most typically found wailing about how his friends didn't understand his faith. The Christian lyrics come back again, and this time, they're more confident than ever. As a vehemently unreligious person, it is difficult to find anything to enjoy about the lyrics, particularly due to the fact that the religious concepts of salvation and redemption that Ajalon are dealing with here are approached fairly literally. While the lyrics certainly haven't improved much from the debut, virtually every other aspect of Ajalon's work has enjoyed an upgrade.

Most notably, the production has gone through a world of change. No longer do the guitar tones sound like they were plucked out of Radio Disney, and the recording has been given a depth that one could only have asked for on the debut. In essence, the sound of Ajalon has risen to be more or less on par with most other symphonic prog acts. In the time between the debut and 'On The Threshold', there have also been changes in the songwriting. Instead of shamelessly following the footsteps of Marillion, Ajalon are now more focused on paying tribute to the symphonic work of Spock's Beard now ex-frontman Neal Morse. It's not necessarily an improvement, but the uplifting tone is more fitting for the band's spiritual themes. The songwriting sounds less laughable, although now Ajalon has fallen into the trap of having a fairly static sound throughout the album; there are few retreats from the melodic, chorus-centric songwriting. The instrumental opener 'Anthem Of The Seventh Day' is an exception to this, and it starts the album off on a very strong, Celtic- inspired note. The two epics here lack cohesion, but they're also graced with a few moments that inspire thoughts of vintage prog.

Incidentally, Rick Wakeman of Yes fame gives a cameo here, as well as none other than Neal Morse himself. While this pair could have done wonders to boost Ajalon's sound, they are used fairly scarcely, and despite their star quality and talent, they are only given the spotlight for a bleak moment before Ajalon takes over again. 'On The Threshold Of Eternity' is not a good album, but it's not disappointing either. In many ways, I've been pleasantly surprised by what they have done here, yet despite their monumental improvements in some areas, the band's lackluster songwriting and overbearing Christian themes will be the death of them.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Ajalon is one of the progressive rock bands from USA that as far as I see are very underrated and very low rated aswell, I realy don't get this. On the threshold of eternity is their second offering from 2005 issued at Progrock records. Well, this not a bad album at all, realy I can't find any weak moments here, I'm not complaing about lyrics, musicaly is more then ok so to me is a winner. Symphinic prog is all about here, well performed, well sung, with at least 4 solid pieces, the instrumental opening track Anthem of the seventh day, nice flute and keybords, Sword of Goliath, What kind of love and the last two lenghty pieces. Nice arrangements, the guitarist and keybordist aswell Rand George done a good job, he was invited in many projects colaborating with Portnoy, with Neal Morse, ets, a gifted musicins who knew how to make an album full of good tracks, from more mellow passages with acustical atmosphere to a more up tempo parts. Some "giant" guests from prog music are featuring on this album, like Rick Wakeman, Nea Morse or Phil Keaggy. Musicaly is a mix of comlicated symphonic parts with more acustic and mellow parts, the result is almost great, smooth and well performed. I realy can't find those bad moments that almost all reviewers found. I like aswell the voice of Wil Henderson is warm, and has a very pleasent tone. So, not among the best synphonic prog acts you might listen, but for sure is not a bad album at all, desearve from me no less then 3 stars, 3.5 stars is much better. Enjoyble from start to finish, instrumental passages are well executed and full of intristing parts.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I have to say that I was very surprised to see such low rating for this album! It might not be very progressive, but I've always found many of the songs to be VERY catchy and pretty. Maybe it's the lack of originality that people don't like, or maybe it's mostly the Christian lyrics. I personally do ... (read more)

Report this review (#1180679) | Posted by FieryEmblem | Thursday, May 29, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 8/10 This band is only getting better and better, and I'm glad. Fans of Neal Morse / Spock 's Beard (like me) are not to be disappointed. The sound is still a little poppy? Yes. keyboards are still the weak point? Yes (although our beloved Rick Wakeman - which is the "patron" of the band - ... (read more)

Report this review (#954588) | Posted by voliveira | Sunday, May 5, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Composition/Creativity: 22/25 The material here is very well written. The tunes have cover a wide variety of styles and have a lot of depth. Structurally they are fairly straightforward (almost "Neo", but the arrangements and instrumentation are quite interesting and inventive.Fans of Spo ... (read more)

Report this review (#176932) | Posted by Trademark | Tuesday, July 15, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album almost didn't get released after the first version was held back by means beyond the band's control. They were able to save the music and produced one of the finest progressive rock albums of the decade. "Anthem of the Seventh Day", first song on the album. Upbeat in tempo, this ... (read more)

Report this review (#37711) | Posted by Sunsoflight | Sunday, June 26, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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