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Threshold - Extinct Instinct CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.61 | 155 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Heavy, but well Groomed

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

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

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

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

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

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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