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Threshold - Subsurface CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.97 | 261 ratings

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3 stars After the relative disappointment of the very good but unexceptional Crtitical Mass Threshold returned 2 years later in 2004 with Subsurface. It's another very good if somewhat formulaic release from the band. If you know Threshold then you know what to expect and therein in a way lays the problem. Threshold's prog metal whilst always of a good standard, during the current decade at least progresses little if any from one release to the next. A few surprises could go a long way to upping the ante a bit.

So what we ultimately get then is Threshold by numbers; powerful and played with precision metal riffs coloured with Richard West's atmospheric modern keyboard sounds, not as much to the front for the most part as in the past which is a shame. There's the obligatory power ballad or two but most songs are hard hitting rockers with customary time and tempo changes sprinkled with good melodies in the main. The band of course are fine players and handle the song demands easily and "Mac" is the best singer and longest serving the band have ever had (sadly now left).

Mission Profile is a killer opener, as good as I would hope for from the band and can sit head and shoulders up there with their finest moments. Starting with the customary atmospheric and spacey keyboard flourishes (is there a Threshold album that doesn't start this way?) it's into a fantastic driving riff and a strong melody too. It's a song of a number of tempo changes and parts though not overly complex but really hits home hard. It's undoubtedly the album highlight which in a way is a shame as the rest of the album while although trying hard never quite lives up to this exceptional moment. There's still much to enjoy however, the next best being the mini epic The Art Of Reason, a track in the vein of Narcissus from their best album Hypothetical.

You probably get the picture by now without me going through every track so in all Subsurface is another very good release from Threshold, of course not their best and the already mentioned lack of progression over more recent years means that it's a bit of a lottery over which is their best of the current decade, apart from the exceptional Hypothetical which really captures them at their very best. It can however sit comfortably alongside the likes of Critical Mass and their most recent, Dead Reckoning as a very good prog metal album. 3 stars.

Nightfly | 3/5 |


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