THRESHOLD
Progressive Metal • United Kingdom

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A progressive metal band from the South of England, consisting of Damian Wilson (vocals), Karl Groom (guitar), Richard West (keyboards), Steve Anderson (bass), Johanne James (drums) and Pete Morten (guitar).

The band's early years saw four highly acclaimed albums released through the independent label GEP. After some line-up changes and many tours in Europe alongside bands such as Dream Theater, Threshold signed to Inside Out Music in 2000.

The albums "Hypothetical" and "Critical Mass" were released in 2001 and 2002, enjoying chart success in Europe while creating a strong reputation with both fans and the music press alike. A live DVD/CD set entitled "Critical Energy" was subsequently released at the beginning of 2004, while Threshold returned to the studio to record their most successful studio album to date, "Subsurface".

In early 2007, founding member Nick Midson (guitar) announced he is taking a break from the band, largely driven by
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March of ProgressMarch of Progress
Import
Nuclear Blast Americ 2012
Audio CD$7.06
$6.50 (used)
Dead ReckoningDead Reckoning
Nuclear Blast Americ 2007
Audio CD$39.98
$11.96 (used)
CloneClone
Inside Out U.S. 2001
Audio CD$202.34
$17.59 (used)
Subsurface: Definitive EditionSubsurface: Definitive Edition
Limited Edition · Import
Nuclear Blast Int'l 2012
Audio CD$9.65
$17.20 (used)
Wounded LandWounded Land
Import
Nuclear Blast Int'l 2012
Audio CD$11.82
$23.54 (used)
Critical EnergyCritical Energy
Inside Out U.S. 2004
Audio CD$13.97
$12.97 (used)
Clone: Definitive EditionClone: Definitive Edition
Import
Nuclear Blast Int'l 2012
Audio CD$10.31
$18.12 (used)
Extinct Instinct: Definitive EditionExtinct Instinct: Definitive Edition
Import
Nuclear Blast Int'l 2012
Audio CD$9.59
$18.12 (used)
Ravages of Time: The Best of ThresholdRavages of Time: The Best of Threshold
Inside Out Music 2007
Audio CD$22.99
$5.53 (used)
Critical MassCritical Mass
Limited Edition
Inside Out U.S. 2002
Audio CD$75.99
$2.70 (used)
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THRESHOLD Discography

THRESHOLD albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.65 | 9 ratings
Wounded Land
Progressive Metal 1993
.. Album Cover 3.57 | 10 ratings
Psychedelicatessen
Progressive Metal 1994
.. Album Cover 3.96 | 12 ratings
Extinct Instinct
Progressive Metal 1997
.. Album Cover 3.75 | 10 ratings
Clone
Progressive Metal 1998
.. Album Cover 3.60 | 21 ratings
Hypothetical
Progressive Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 4.08 | 15 ratings
Critical Mass
Progressive Metal 2002
.. Album Cover 4.17 | 18 ratings
Subsurface
Progressive Metal 2004
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 21 ratings
Dead Reckoning
Progressive Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 4.46 | 14 ratings
March of Progress
Progressive Metal 2012

THRESHOLD EPs & splits

THRESHOLD live albums

.. Album Cover 3.98 | 2 ratings
Livedelica
Progressive Metal 1995
.. Album Cover 4.50 | 4 ratings
Critical Energy
Progressive Metal 2004

THRESHOLD demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
First Demo
Progressive Metal 1989
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Mother Earth
Progressive Metal 1990
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Cult Of The Immortal
Progressive Metal 1991
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Decadent
Progressive Metal 1999
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Concert in Paris
Progressive Metal 2002
.. Album Cover 3.05 | 2 ratings
Wireless: Acoustic Sessions
Progressive Metal 2003
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Replica
Progressive Metal 2004
.. Album Cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Surface to Stage
Progressive Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Paradox: The Singles Collection
Progressive Metal 2009

THRESHOLD boxset & compilations

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of Threshold: The Ravages of Time
Progressive Metal 2007

THRESHOLD singles (3)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Pressure
Progressive Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
2.50 | 1 ratings
Pilot in the Sky of Dreams
Progressive Metal 2007
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Supermassive Black Hole
Progressive Metal 2010

THRESHOLD movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
4.49 | 7 ratings
Critical Energy
Progressive Metal 2004

THRESHOLD Reviews

THRESHOLD March of Progress

Album · 2012 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
Threshold's March of Progress sees them knocking out a brand of prog metal which draws on the same sort of melodramatic emotional hysteria that Muse have made their own. The preceding Dead Reckoning, their final album with Andrew McDermott on lead vocals, proved to have a woefully ironic title, since McDermott died in 2011 after leaving the band.

Many groups would be knocked off their stride by such a blow, but Threshold instead seem to have risen to the challenge. It helped that they had acquired the aid of Damian Wilson, their original vocalist; this represents his third stint as frontman of the band (having stepped into the role briefly in 1997 between the departure of Glynn Morgan and the arrival of Andrew), and it's the strong performance from him this time around which really pushes the album over the bar. Between this and the first release from Headspace, 2012 was truly a golden year for Wilson, and any band which can count on his services is lucky to have him.

THRESHOLD Extinct Instinct

Album · 1997 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Kev Rowland
When their third album was released in 1997, some three years after ‘Psychedelicatessen’, not only did the band have a new drummer but also a ‘new’ singer. Glynn Morgan had replaced Damian Wilson after the debut, only for him to in turn be replaced by Damian Wilson. Damian would only hang around long enough for this album before being replaced by Mac, before coming back yet again after the release of ‘Dead Reckoning’ in 2007. But, at the time of this recording the future was yet to unfold and although Glynn had done a good job, many fans (me included) were pleased to have Damian back as the frontman.

I think of all of their albums, this is the one that takes the longest to make an impact and I have never been able to work out why, possibly most of the stronger songs are to the end? No idea. All I know is that each time I play it I start off by thinking that it is a 3* album but by the end I am convinced that it is a solid 4*, and that happens every time, and I hate to think how many times over the years I have played this. Maybe that’s the point. I first heard and reviewed this album when it came out some 15 years ago and I still play it. True, I have just been sent this to review by Nuclear Blast which is why I am playing it so much at the present, but Threshold have never gone out of favour with me from the time I first heard ‘Wounded Land’. By the time that was released I knew Karl from Shadowland and Strangers On A Train and Damian from his solo work and Landmarq, yet Threshold blew me away, and still do. The understanding between keyboard player Richard West and his guitar-toting colleagues is second to none, and bassist/backing singer Jon Jeary was an awesome presence during his tenure. Mostly more metal than prog, this is an album of different shades and colours and they all come together in “Forever” which is a ballad, a symphonic masterpiece, and a brooding metallic monster all in under five minutes.

By the time ‘Clone’ came out the following year Damian was gone, and this album gets somewhat overlooked by many, but if you want metallic prog with stunning vocals, great melodies and musicianship then this is worthy of discovery. www.nuclearblast.de

THRESHOLD Hypothetical

Album · 2001 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
voila_la_scorie
This is my third Threshold album and the first that I will review. I started out with 'Dead Reckoning' and later bought 2012's 'March of Progress'. Interested in hearing their older material and reading that 'Hypothetical' came highly recommended, I ordered this album next.

First, allow me to comment briefly on the two latest releases. I first listened to samples of 'March of Progress' and was blown away by the guitar sound. If a progressive metal band sounded this awesome in the guitar department, they were good enough for me. Furthermore, I was not yet ready for the death growl vocals of many metal bands, so the clean vocals of Threshold appealed to me. But 'Dead Reckoning' was cheaper and after a quick listen I found the guitar sound was the same and bought that album instead. Now, 'MoP' ranks as the number 11 album of 2012 on the Prog Archives and other reviewers said 'DR' was not as good. So after a few listens to 'DR' and being only mildly impressed, I decided to go for 'MoP' which I personally found was quite similar.

So, how about this older album from 2001? The first thing I noticed was that there was a little more keyboard work featured here. The later albums seem to use keyboards mostly as a rhythm instrument and for some effects, and piano (or synth piano) for the mellower moments. 'Hypothetical' includes some synthesizer solos which, for me, makes them sound a little more progressive oriented than the later albums which sound more commercial. In the 80's, any metal band that added synthesizer was most likely trying to appeal to the mainstream market, and among my friends and I, the synthesizer was almost a dirty word. So if a band is going to have a keyboard player on board, he'd better have more to do that just play rhythm chords that soften the heavy impact of the guitars.

Second, I noticed that the guitar sound was a bit grittier with more crunch to it. As Threshold already had impressed me with their guitar sound, I welcomed this to my ears openly.

Still, though, when all was consumed and digested, I couldn't help but think that this older album was still very similar to the later albums, notwithstanding the change in vocals from 'DR' to 'MoP'. Threshold are similar to Fates Warning in that they are not as technically complex as Dream Theater and instead go progressive by creating longer compositions with tempo and mood changes and add in some odd drum beats (though I'd say Fates Warning do more with the odd drum beats from what I've heard). Also like Fates Warning, Threshold often stick to the soft verse/quiet chorus routine except they mix it up by doing a hard verse/melodic chorus pattern sometimes. Threshold adds a lot of melodic parts to their songs to contrast with the grittier heavy parts, but in the end the clean vocals and synthesizer prevent them from ever becoming really really heavy. I am sure most metal heads in the 80's would have peed themselves over that monster guitar sound, but by today's standards being that raunchy and heavy is pretty well, well standard. Generally speaking, while there are progressive moments, much of the music is still fairly ordinary heavy metal with clean vocals and melodic parts.

The three songs that stand out for me are 'Ravages of Time', 'Long Way Home', and 'Keep My Head', with nods to 'Turn On, Tune In' and 'Narcissus'. 'Ravages' has some of that gritty crunchy power chord guitar and sounds rather aggressive at first. The lyrics start of dealing with a theme that is of interest to me: how a single location changes over time as in a sea bed becomes a mountain range, a mountain range a plain, a plain a desert, and so on. The first half of the song keeps me listening but I find my attention wanders through the second half. 'Long Way Home' has some great heavy guitar and elements of progressive metal as I identify it. 'Keep My Head' is a metal band's take on what could be a late 70's or early 80's adult contemporary pop song. Maybe Glenn Hughes has something like this on one of his 90's albums. A nice change of pace though possibly out of place in the opinions of some. 'Narcissus' has a powerful anthemic riff at the beginning in later in the song. The middle section where the band does a bit of musical mood exploration adds interest to a long song.

It's a good enough album and perhaps just a bit more interesting than the two most recent efforts, for me anyway. But honestly there's not much to my ears that separates 'Hypothetical' from 2001 from 'Dead Reckoning' from 2007 or 'March of Progress' from 2012. Actually, I don't see any real progress. One Threshold album is as good as another would be my conclusion. But I am sure that more devoted listeners can separate the wheat from the chaff, as reading the reviews suggests. At least I can say I won't have to think about writing reviews for the other two as my thoughts will be similar to what I have written here. Good music and good band. Nice to add songs to a playlist and maybe on a mixed CD. But nothing I feel compelled to tell my friends about.

THRESHOLD March of Progress

Album · 2012 · Progressive Metal
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Diogenes
The tragic passing of Andrew “Mac” McDermott last year left quite a few people (myself included) in shock. Though he had left Threshold long before then, it was a disheartening wake-up call for those who had come to love the band’s landmark albums of the mid-2000s, as that lineup would never be seen again. Of course, being the pros that they are, Threshold had already begun work on their next album, and now that March of Progress has finally seen the light of day, I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s glad they’ve decided to carry on.

If you’re a Threshold fan, then the music on March of Progress probably won’t seem too foreign; it’s true that Threshold hasn’t exactly reinvented the wheel here, as many tracks on this album sound like they would be right at home on Dead Reckoning or Subsurface. Then again, if you’re a Threshold fan, chances are that doesn’t matter to you and you’re listening for highly polished, professional prog metal with a heavy emphasis on melody. Rest assured, just about everything that made Threshold’s previous works great is once again on display here in 2012.

What will probably be the most notable aspect on March of Progress are the vocals of Damian Wilson, who has re-joined the band after Mac’s passing. In comparison, Wilson sings in a much more operatic tone and has a charisma that won over a lot of people who listened to his previous guest performances (Ayreon, Star One, etc…but then, who hasn’t sung in an Arjen Lucassen project? Seriously), as well the earlier Threshold efforts featuring his voice. I must say that it will be a bit of a change for those used to hearing Mac’s vocals taking flight over Threshold’s sludgy guitar riffs, but in the end, if this record has a weakness, it’s no fault of Wilson’s; his singing here is easily up to par to whatever was expected of him. In fact, a few tracks into March of Progress, it’s hard to tell much of a difference at all; the vocal melodies are still top-notch and range from supplying a large array of hooks (the chorus of “Ashes” is just one of many examples) to majestically soaring (“Liberty, Complacency, Dependency”), all while carrying vintage Threshold messages of political protest and outcry.

Instrumentally, too, this is Threshold at its finest. Johane James might be the most unassuming prog metal drummer out there, but the dude hits his kit HARD and never overplays (something that I’m sure is appreciated by the detractors of so-called “wankery” out there). Karl Groom and Richard West are, as always, the dependable duo of songwriting, consistently putting out well-structured tunes that are rooted in strong melodies while still pushing the envelope technically. The interaction between the two is simply second to none. “The Hours” stands out almost immediately, filled with hooks and subtle texturing that might not stand out at first, but is bound to put some smiles on people’s faces once it does. Meanwhile, Wilson continues his workman-like effort behind the mic, delivering an emotional chorus and a seemingly endless supply of poetic lyrics (the inspiring “Don’t Look Down” is just fantastic in this regard), which should once again satisfy the “thinking men” of the metal crowd. It really can’t be stated enough how Threshold manages to draw all of these elements together on a consistent basis; while they’ve slowed their pace considerably since the ‘90s (their last album being released 5 years ago), they never fail to bring an abundance of material once recording time rolls around. In fact, if there’s anything negative to be said about March of Progress, it’s that it’s a couple of songs too long; they’re all good, but the album tends to drag on a bit in spite of how great the music is.

While it didn’t hit me as hard as Dead Reckoning did upon my first listen, March of Progress undoubtedly delivers the same goods that prog fans have been expecting from Threshold for the past decade and a half. It’s classy, well-produced, and mature; none of which should be surprising, but will be delightfully devoured by metalheads and progheads all the same. Another winner by the boys from Britain!

THRESHOLD Dead Reckoning

Album · 2007 · Progressive Metal
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Diogenes
When you hear about a band wanting to “streamline” their sound, that’s usually not a good sign; at least, it isn’t good if that band has been making some of the most substantial progressive metal around for the last 15 years. Let’s face it: there was nothing wrong with the Threshold approach to prog metal before this album, so a slightly stripped-down formula might have been cause for concern among fans of the band. But once again, Threshold’s professionalism eliminates any doubt about their future, and when combined with a more modern sound, actually produces their best effort yet.

The excellent Slipstream makes for the perfect album opener in regards to Threshold’s little makeover. Everything that’s changed is all right here: heavier riffage, shorter songs, more basic song structures, and even some death growls (courtesy of Dan Swano). Even though they’ve always been known for making progressive metal accessible, the music on Dead Reckoning takes that to a whole new level; before, Dream Theater’s Awake would have been the first album I would show to someone new to the genre, but now I’m not so sure. There’s very little in the way of build-up or mood-setting in the tracks on here, making Dead Reckoning quite easy (for progressive metal, anyway) to jump right into.

The beauty of all of this is…it’s still Threshold! This means classy musicianship and inspiring lyrics. Andrew “Mac” McDermott gives arguably his best (and unfortunately, his last) offering on vocals, belting out vocal lines that that are both catchy and emotional. As usual, there are no wasted notes, as both Karl Groom and Richard West make full use of their instruments without overdoing it even once. Songs like Hollow, for instance, showcase the band’s impeccable ability to add tasteful melodies to things that would be quite standard otherwise. I’m talking about the “little things”: a guitar lick where most bands would just lay down power chords, a keyboard doodle here and some atmospheric effects there. The songwriting here is just amazingly coherent and solid. This holds true on the longer songs, too; I have a hard time finding a better 1-2 punch in the band’s discography than Pilot in the Sky of Dreams and Fighting for Breath. And just as Slipstream introduces the album in fine fashion, One Degree Down closes it out beautifully with one of the best outros you’ll ever hear. The whole album just seems so complete and well thought-out, and the fact that’s it’s performed by some of the best musicians around makes it that much more impressive.

If there’s anything to gripe about, it’s Swano’s growls, which are out of place and fairly useless when you compare them with the rest of the music. But aside from that, Dead Reckoning is an absolutely fantastic listen. Its remarkable combination of modern elements with the familiar Threshold style of play should make it enjoyable for almost anyone. Needless to say, it’s nice to see a band that’s able to make some changes and still keep faithful to what makes them so good in the first place.

THRESHOLD Movies Reviews

THRESHOLD Critical Energy

Movie · 2004 · Progressive Metal
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rdtprog
This DVD show the band in top form with some close shots that give you the impression of being there in this small venue. The music is excellent because it's a band that play a very melodic and emotional prog metal just on the border of power metal but with a original sound. Mac the vocalist has a great voice. Here he challenges the fans between some songs with a kind of self-confident look that is funny to watch. The other musicians are also interesting to watch especially the guitar work of Karl Groom and the drums of the athletic Johanne James. If the picture is not that great the 5.1 surround sound is full, well balanced between the front and the rear speakers.

In conclusion, a show that you have to see, great performance, by a great band that plays some of their best songs from their catalogue.

THRESHOLD Critical Energy

Movie · 2004 · Progressive Metal
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SouthSideoftheSky
Live flow

This impressive live DVD captures Threshold performing a career-spanning set of songs in front of an appreciative Dutch audience. Every studio album up to and including Critical Mass is represented here and they have very wisely chosen not to let any particular album dominate the set list. Two songs are taken from the classic debut, Wounded Land; two from Psychedelicatessen; three from Extinct Instinct; three from Clone; four from Hypothetical and four from Critical Mass. My favourite Threshold albums are the early ones, especially those two with Damian Wilson on lead vocals, but Andrew McDermott, or "Mac" as he is called, handles the songs originally sung by Wilson and also those by originally sung Glynn Morgan very well.

All the selections here are very good but one of several highlights for me is the short acoustic section in the middle of the set that makes the show varied and lets the viewer catch his breath before another Prog Metal onslaught. The acoustic songs played are Clear and Life Flow, both originally from the Extinct Instinct album. Another highlight is Paradox from the debut on which both the audience and the band are on fire.

The band is in top form throughout with the drummer in particular ponding the drums like a madman! And he never seems to get tired either. Karl Groom may not be much of a show man, but he is a fantastic guitarist and he seems to enjoy himself a lot on stage. Mac is, on the other hand, a show man who moves around a lot on stage and interacts with the audience. He has a strange sense of humour though, telling the audience to shut up and go home and similar rude things! But that's the way he is, I guess.

Overall, I think that the set list is very well balanced and that the band performs their songs with impeccable skill and enthusiasm. There might be some overdubs in the vocals, but not very noticeable. The sound is great. The DVD includes a few extras such as a tour documentary which is interesting to watch once or twice perhaps.

A great live document by a great band!

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