Oblivion Protocol - The Fall Of The Shires

Kev Rowland

I have been racking my brains but cannot remember another situation like this, where we have a brand-new band releasing a sequel to an album by another. Richard West didn’t feel ready to leave the world Threshold brought to us in their mighty ‘Legends of the Shires’, but his bandmates did, so nothing was going to come of it. Richard then started writing for his own pleasure, until he realised this was a viable release so brought together some old friends to make it a reality, hence Oblivion Particle. Here Richard provides lead vocals and keyboards, and he has been joined by Guitarist Ruud Jolie (Within Temptation), bassist Simon Andersson (Darkwater) and drummer Darby Todd (Devin Townsend) while Karl Groom (Threshold) provides solos on a couple of numbers.

Richard may not be the strongest singer in the world, but he has composed and arranged the album in such a way that he comes out very well indeed and demonstrates why he did not feel any need for anyone else to take on that role. Although Richard is not a founding member of Threshold, he has been there for more than 30 years, but some may not realise he has musical interests in multiple areas and here he has smoothed the metal aspect so it is not as in your face as one might expect. The result is something which will appeal both to fans of “Legends’, surely one of Threshold’s finest ever studio albums, and those who enjoy their prog metal to have a more commercial sound. It is an incredibly easy album to enjoy, and I found myself relaxing into this from the very first play. One does not need to know the other album to be able to fully enjoy this one as it fully stands on its own and is a load of fun throughout.

It will be interesting to see if Richard keeps this band going as well as Threshold as there is a lot here to enjoy and I would certainly like to hear much more. I dare you to play “This Is Not A Test” and not join in, as it is infectious throughout, and a great example of high-grade commercial prog metal.

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