|Review: Threshold - Extinct Instinct|
Label: Giant Electric Pea
Year released: 1997
Genre: Progressive Metal
Review online: July 19, 2015
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Rated 4/5 (80%) (3 Votes)
On the whole, I dig Threshold's third album more than the two that preceded it, despite it being one of the band's most esoteric releases. The artwork for this one is quite fitting; this is a monolithic album full of twists, turns, and surprises, conjuring a strange atmosphere that is both unique and otherworldly. This was the second time vocalist Damien Wilson lent his mad pipes to a Threshold album, and while his voice might grate on some people (especially after Glynn Morgan's performance on the previous disc), his vocals here are pretty damn impressive, once you get used to their high-flying charm. He doesn't sound like anyone else, but he is certainly a skilled singer, so much so that he returned to front the band after Mac's death.
Extinct Instinct is definitely Threshold's most progressive and jagged release. It is also much looser and more vibrant than the slick, uber-polished Psychedelicatessen. The band rocket forth here, throwing everything into the pot, from odd time changes, weird vocal arrangements, heavy as hell riffing, and space-age symphonics. Opener "Exposed" pretty much sums up the roller-coaster ride that is to come, and the trend continues with bat-shit crazy tunes like "Eat The Unicorn". There are more traditional cuts here, like the gloomy "Lake Of Despond" and "Virtual Isolation", the catchiest song here. This album also saw Threshold experiment for the first time with huge backing vocals. They even bust out some gang chants on "The Whispering", another oddball that brings an unpredictable nature to the record.
This is a long album, with a few less memorable tunes such as "Clear", a nice but rather boring ballad, and "Part Of The Chaos", which is a cool closer with a decent Savatage-esque middle-section, but little else. On the whole, Threshold did a good job here, considering this was released in 1997, and while this does wear its Yes, Genesis, and Dream Theater influences on its sleeve more than some of their later albums, fans of mature, captivating progressive metal should invest some time in Extinct Instinct, the last Threshold album before the dawn of the Mac era.
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