Threshold

Picture of Threshold

Hypothetical

Threshold - Hypothetical ©2001 InsideOut Music
1. Light And Space
2. Turn On And Tune In
3. The Ravages Of Time
4. Sheltering Sky
5. Oceanbound
6. Long Way Home
7. Keep My Head
8. Narcissus

As you can see by the discography, Threshold have been around for a long time. As a band, they have consistently churned out progressive metal with varying results. It is a shame that they have not received more attention in the US, but the US audience for progressive metal is not as large as it is in Europe and Asia. More than one reviewer has called Threshold Europe's answer to Dream Theater. There are certainly a lot of real comparisons between the two bands except that where Dream Theater has chosen to grow mellower with age, Threshold has grown sharper.

Hypothetical is a very mature disc with a warm and easily accessible sound. Past discs have ventured toward a mellow sound on one disc, a heavy sound on another, a melodic bit here, a crunchy bit there . . . the music has meandered, but always been very good. Everything comes together on this disc in a really great way. The vocal harmonies are exceptional and the power is really there, making it by far my favorite Threshold album. The two ten minute plus tracks, "The Ravages of Time" and "Narcissus", really show the song writing skill of this band. That skill has been honed over time making their songs well above the run-of-the-mill mindless commercial junk you're likely to find on your radio.

This disc features some of the best pairing of sound combinations of sound that you're likely to find. Powerful guitar shredding is heightened by the keyboards, piano play acts as a foil for the crunch and thunder of the guitar riffs. The album is richly diverse and yet very tightly woven in that diversity. It wouldn't work as well if the sounds were not so densely layered and complex. It has been a while since I have seen such attention to the details of composition and such a wonderful blending of raw power with other, much more subtle elements.

This disc moves onto my list of "must have" progressive metal discs.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 04/2001

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Critical Mass

Threshold - Critical Mass ©2002 InsideOut Music
1. Phenomenon
2. Choices
3. Falling Away
4. Fragmentation
5. Echoes Of Life
6. Round And Round
7. Avalon
8. Critical Mass (Part 1-3)

I think my main problem with today's so-called progressive rock/metal is that it's just so darned polite! Try inviting the Dwarves to your house after a show. After giving your kid sister a hit of coke and trying to bag her cute best friend, the Dwarves will raid your fridge, chase the dog all over the house and ruin the upholstery. That's rock'n'roll attitude. And then there are the guys in Threshold. Granted, Threshold are by far the superior musicians and will grace the covers of various musician magazines while their counterparts in the Dwarves will probably grace mug shots at the local police department. But if you were to invite Threshold over, they would not only clean your house for you, but take out the trash, groom the dog and help your sister and her friend with their geometry homework. Maybe it's just me, but my rock music needs a little more attitude and edge.

On Critical Mass, Threshold offers another solidly executed piece of dressed up AOR rock radio music. To me, the bands who are called "progressive" today seem to be keying in on major elements of 70s and 80s rock superstars and adding their touch of superb musicianship with a heavier edge. Threshold works ever so hard to make sure their harmonies are sweet and their music slick. Too sweet if you ask me. Too slick. On one hand, it's hard to hate something that is this melodic, well performed and presented. But on the other hand, all those are perfect reasons to hate it, particularly if you tend to prefer to the seedier sides of music. This is Queensryche for nerds, Dream Theater for the less pretentious (although still plenty pretentious) and Kansas for people too cool to admit they love 70s rock. A chances are all the elements that tend to stick in my craw when it comes to "progressive rock" are exactly the elements that will thrill other listeners. You know who you are. Meanwhile, my house is a bit cluttered up and I could use Threshold's help tidying up. Anyone got their number?

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2004

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