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Threshold
Subsurface
December 2004
Released: 2004, Insideout Music America
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Rick

With the release of SUBSURFACE Threshold have put together their strongest set of tracks to date. In the past each new Threshold disc has been touted as the one that would be their “breakthrough”, the one release that would vault them into a position alongside the likes of Dream Theater and Queensryche in the pantheon of progressive metal gods. In my mind the band’s 2001 release HYPOTHETICAL was the disc that put them over the top with CRITICAL MASS from 2002 solidifying their position. SUBSURFACE raises the bar yet again as Threshold have released a CD that contains their signature sound intertwined with a sense of melody and warmth that is missing from much of today’s prog metal.



Opening the CD is “Mission Profile”, an expansive track that defines what Threshold are setting out to do with this album. The music is rich and powerful with a metallic edge that most prog metal bands seem to find elusive. I can’t help but wonder if YES would sound like this if they had grown up in the metal age. One of the tracks that grabbed my attention is “Opium”. This is a slower track that really allows Threshold to spread its proverbial wings and really give the listener an idea of what these guys can really do. Lead vocalist Mac shines on this track as he leads the listener on a journey over a majestic soundscape which is at times aggressive, other times more laid back yet always lush and melodic. The CD closes with one of the highlights of the CD “The Destruction of Words”. This song just sums up the difference between Threshold and many of the other prog metal bands on the scene. They play with heart and emotion and put the songs first and from that flows their ability to create a mood that overpowers the listener and draws them back again and again into their many layered world.



Threshold has carved out their own small niche in the prog world. While many other bands in the genre reek of overindulgence, Threshold has developed a sound that is complex yet accessible. I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of SUBURFACE and just how good every song was. With HYPOTHETICAL and CRITICAL MASS Threshold should have broken big but SUBSURFACE marks the beginning of what should be a permanent breakthrough for UK’s greatest prog export.
Track Listing

1. Mission Profile (8.15)
2. Ground Control (7.10)
3. Opium (6.47)
4. Stop Dead (4.18)
5. The Art Of Reason (10.17)
6. Pressure (5.13)
7. Flags And Footprints (4.57)
8. Static (5.06)
9. The Destruction Of Words

Lineup

Mac: vocals
Karl Groom: guitars
Nick Midson: guitars
Richard West: keyboards
Steve Anderson: bass
Johanne James: drums


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