Threshold - Legends Of The Shires,
It was something of a shock to fans of the band when it was announced that they had parted ways with their singer Damian Wilson, for the third time. At the same time, Richard and Karl had decided that they wanted to take the band musically back to more of where they used to be in the Nineties, which led them to wondering what Glynn Morgan was doing? Glynn of course sang on ‘Psychedelicatessen’ in 1994, as well as the ensuing live album, but had also been involved in bits and pieces with the guys through the years. A decision was also made to just have one guitarist and reduce to a five-piece, so the line-up was Glynn (vocals), Richard (keys, backing vocals), Karl (guitar, backing vocals), Johannes (drums, backing vocals) and Steve (bass, backing vocals). But, that wasn’t all, as the guys also invited original bassist Jon Jeary in to provide vocals on one song. Jon was in the band for many years, and I always felt that his vocals in the live environment were incredibly important to the overall sound, so it is wonderful to see him involved again, even if it is just for a cameo.
With these changes made, great artwork and a double CD, the guys knew that this had to be an epic release, as anything less than that would be seen to be a failure. So it’s probably just as well that they have released their most varied and dynamic album for years, possibly their finest yet. This album has far more depth and breadth than we have heard in recent years, with Richard more to the fore, and much more melody and straight progressive tendencies backed up by strong guitars as opposed to crunching riffs that have the edge removed as has sometimes been the case in the past.
This is well thought out and constructed music, and shows that although they still inhabit the more metallic end of the prog metal spectrum than bands such as Dream Theater, they still know exactly how to satisfy the progheads. Moving back to a more progressive style, and changing singers, is obviously a risk but it has paid off with this album making the Top #5 of the UK Rock Charts, and entering Sweden, Germany and Switzerland in the Top 15, and getting to #31 in Austria. Threshold have taken a breath, decided how they want to move forward and have grabbed it with both hands. They are touring in November and December across Europe and the UK, ending at the 02 Islington Academy, and that will be a tour not to miss. Now all I must do is convince Karl he ought to come down here…
This is an absolutely essential indispensable album.