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Threshold (UK)
Overall View


1993 - "Wounded Land" (57 min)

1994 - "Psychedelicatessen" (67 min)

1997 - "Extinct Instinkt" (67 min)

1998 - "Clone" (67 min)

All CDs were released by one of the leading UK's "Giant Electric Pea" recording company, owned by IQ.
Please also read on Progressor:
The "Ever" (IQ-1993) short review
The "Subterranea" /2CD/ (IQ-1997) short review
Interview with one of the IQ masterminds / co-owners of "GEP" - Martin Orford
Interview with one of the Threshold masterminds - Richard West


1993: Karl Groom -guitars; Nick Midson -guitars; Richard West -keyboards; John Jeary -bass; Damian Wilson -vocals; Tony Greenham -drums.

1994: K.Groom, N.Midson, R.West, J.Jeary, Glyn Morgan -vocals, Nick Harradence -drums.

1997: K.Groom, N.Midson, R.West, J.Jeary, D.Wilson -vocals; Marc Heaney -drums.

1998: K.Groom, N.Midson, R.West, J.Jeary, M.Heaney, Andrew MacDermott -vocals.

Many times I read about some comparisons between Threshold and Dream Theater. Some of those comparisons were nothing but a set of words; some of them were guided with quite dubious stylistical (etc) details; once I read Threshold is a British Answer to American Dream Theater. Well, I won't be tired to be back to inappropriate comparisons in my reviews...

The Albums.

1993 - "Wounded Land"

Even now I consider the debut Threshold album their most progressive work from the traditional standpoint of view on progressivity of Metal. Threshold's only real influence - Black Sabbath (and nothing more) is not so obvious on "Wounded Land" in comparison with their following albums, especially "Clone". At least four of the eight (in all) songs on "Wounded Land" are the most progressive compositions ever created by Threshold. I don't want now to specially enumerate these songs (and I do it in such a case for the first time in my practice of reviewer) - just because our readers, ie potential buyers, could have a bit different view on the terms of progressivity within the framework of Threshold's creation, as Threshold by far is not a traditional Prog-Metal band (read lower), though thanks to Richard West and Martin Orford I've received all CDs ever released by Threshold until now. Exactly in the traditional sense of progressivity within the Prog-Metal genre these four songs are full of special combined playing by all the Threshold instrumentalists - with really comlex arrangements, interplays, time signatures, etc. So, now I could repeat the first sentence of this paragraph... But I love the next two studio albums by these talented Englishmen for more integral, specific, already really firm sound. Well, back to the debut album, we have there four outstanding songs of already traditional Prog-Metal. Two more songs were composed and played no less than satisfactory from the standpoint of the same traditional Prog-Metal-lover, but the other two songs on "Wounded Land", unfortunately, are the most faceless of Threshold's 'children'. Undoubtedly, already the debut Threshold album is a very mature work, but currently it is obvious that with such a set of three different types of songs then Threshold were (still?) just searching for their original way within the Prog-Metal genre - in the years when Dream Theater were already recognized actually universally as its premier band.

VM. August 25, 2000

1994 - "Psychedelicatessen"

I've just remembered quite an interesting, in my view, fact. Threshold is probably the only band I really like among all the varied "inhabitants" of the "Thin Ice" studio, including Arena-cubs and Arena itself, whose "Visitor" turned out to be their only hard 'child' (in the sense of quick comprehending) who found himself under the thin ice to be over the icy thin things. As in the case with IQ, all the four Threshold studio albums I've heard I'd rated positively long before I met Richard West in the Virtual World (whose original - not computer - sense is, btw, "a real world", and who really knows what is more illusory - our "true" reality or the virtual one?). My God, it's not too easy to feel like a dweller on the threshold of anything marvelous! But, thank God, to be on the threshold of the most marvelous thing (at least) on Earth - Music - is at least acceptable (hopefully, mutually - at least concerning the Earthly musicians, if not Music itself, whose origin is really miraculous, at least). I see there are too many "at least"-s here, but is it possible that there were too many the least of anything in the world? Thank God, at least there is not too little of good music in the world. Staying now on the threshold of "Psychedelicatessen" (Dish of Drugged Brains?), first off, I would like to thank someone who's decided to add to the CD two more tracks than the album's booklet tracklist and the tracklist typed on the booklet's backside as well, indicate. Because it would be a sin to leave out the most beautiful prog-ballad and another one of the most progressive things Threshold ever created. I cannot imagine what it would be like had these tracks been cast from the album like some trash! Really, both these anonymous compositions in the album's end sound slightly different from all the "indicated ones", but to me, these are more than essential tracks for Threshold in general and, by the way, this great pair rounds up the album more effectively than the 'originally' last track. All the other songs are based mostly on the diversity of strong guitar riffs-themes whose principal structures were originally created by the (Truest!) Fathers of Progressive Metal - Black Sabbath (and their "Never Say Die" album was a real revolution in Progressive Rock - the most innovative and original work of the genre, that has no analogues up to now yet up to now it remains the most underrated one among all the other Prog-Metal albums ever created). Considering Threshold as (not some wannabees or just imitators, but) true followers of BS I thank them for a great lot of truly innovative ideas they found to make their music just kind of influenced, but still fresh and original on the whole. I am really amazed to watch their, possibly, not too complicated, but so tasteful and (yeah) clever 'keys' they use to extend the arrangements, especially keyboardist (Richard West), to the accompaniment of diverse, but always majestic, hypnotic riffing from two lead guitarists. Karl Groom and Nick Midson's solos are by no means speedy'n'empty acrobatics in the vein of such "Kings" of Guitar" as Satriani or Vai. Mostly mid-tempo solo passages, often crossing, done by the Threshold guitarists are a labour of thinking guitar masters and, in the presence of obvious originality of their playing, this work looks very appropriate to the band's style, and this is another factor showing a mature ProGfessionallism of these two Guitar ProGfessors. Jon Jeary's bass lines, going to the accompaniment of powerful hypnotic drumming from (Shadowland's) Nick Harradence, sometimes could seem to be more virtuosic than guitar solos, but this is just part of Threshold's general stylistic conception. Newcomer Glyn Morgan has a strong male voice, but his excellent vocals was just part of his capabilities (and, thus, ambitions - since he left Threshold immediately after "Psychedelicatessen" was released to form his own band), and both songs he wrote alone here, including another 'heavy ballad', are of the same quality level as the rest of the material (needless to say, generally, all vocalists who have ever sung in Threshold are excellent). All in all, already with their second album Threshold became an experienced band, marked with a 'Sign of Stability'. Beginning with "Psychedelicatessen", each new Threshold album shows stability, raised to the power of quality, from the first to the last note.

VM. March 30, 2001

1997 - "Extinct Instinct"

Wilson is back, and his dynamic and at the same time warm voice is really welcome on "Extinct Instinct", which, in my view, is the band's most integral album, to say the least. A wonderful artwork on prehistoric themes and Damian's beautiful lyrics, written in a beautiful calligraphy throughout the booklet, in addition to majestic music, represent The Trinity of the Arts - Music plus Poetry plus Painting - in all its Grandeur on the third Threshold studio album. I see (and hear) the guys at their creative pick exactly here. And, by the way, "it's happened" partly thanks to the return of the original singer (even let alone his incredible vocal qualities - hey, Damian, why did you leave your Muse - after all, in general, at all?), - do you think that the Beginning is probably the most important part of everything, including a musical career? I do. And I consider "Extinct Instinct" one of the greatest Prog-Metal albums ever created. I believe some of my regular readers see that I try to be really honest with them and that I write my reviews just in conformity with my true thoughts. Of course, I am by no means sure that my next words will be agreeable to anyone, but, frankly, I find the British Progressive Music, including Prog-Metal, much more, on the whole, "listenable", in terms of Time, than American (with an exception of Kansas and the RIO genre). In other words, I still consider Dream Theater's "Images And Words" a masterpiece, a model of true contemporary Prog-Metal, but I can't listen to it at all already - don't really know why. Phenomenon. Paradox. But, as for the British Prog-Metal (talk - in this case), mostly by far not so effective compositionally, technically, etc (Threshold, Skyclad, to name just a few, whereas there are probably hundreds strong Prog-Metal acts in the USA), it's quite another matter. (But, thank God, I know that I am not the only person with such kind of 'abnormal' feelings in this regard.) So, I listen to Threshold now with the same pleasure as I did several years ago, and although almost all the band's albums I rate equally, "Extinct Instinct" is my 'personal' favourite among them. Need I really add in this review something more?

VM. March 31, 2000

1998 - "Clone"

Another change on the vocal front-line was not a threshold that Threshold could not to cross. As already said, I don't see any more or less significant difference between all the three band's singers, as they are all excellent. Repeatedly named as the best Threshold album to date, "Clone" actually is perhaps just the band's commercially most successful album. On the whole "Clone" is as well 'constructed' as both previous albums. Practically the equal quality of all songs featured the album confirms its integrity, that is already typical for the band. At first sight it seems like everything's fine with "Clone" - the already familiar, signature Threshold sound with solid and varied guitar riffs that, perhaps, are even stronger and more mesmerizing this time, beautiful vocal parts and all the other things around. So, from the first to the last note "Clone" is the strongest album, that is potentially capable to reach a wider audience than any of Threshold's previous albums. But where are those wonderful instrumental arrangements we got used to hearing on each Threshold album before? It's quite difficult to find them on the "Clone", though in all other respects this is a strong album. So, from a true Prog-Metal lover's point of view, the lack of progressiveness is the album's weakest point. It was hard to believe that this is the way Threshold will tread in the future. And, as if in response to my doubts, through hearsay, the band's newest effort "Hypothetical" is their most complex (progressive!) album to date. Sadly, I haven't heard this one yet, and chances are low to receive its promo-copy from the Threshold's current label "Inside Out", which, unlike the band's old UK's "GEP" label, considers it foolish to send promo CDs to some reviewer if there is no distribution of "IOM" production in the country he lives...

VM. April 1, 2000



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