|Review: Threshold - Dead Reckoning|
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2007
Genre: Progressive Metal
Review online: March 19, 2007
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Rated 4.54/5 (90.73%) (41 Votes)
It was with a sigh of relief that I discovered the UK's most prolific prog metal act were picked up by Nuclear Blast. Such an influential label that they are it seemed most appropriate that Threshold should be added to their ranks. Perhaps due to their unique style, they seemed to have found a very supportive home, one which will no doubt push their creativity off the sound desk, and in their 8th studio album "Dead Reckoning", Threshold have finally spawned a set of songs that drain their artistic streams as well as their listeners.
Launching a full-scale attack on the senses with opener "Slipstream", the fastidiously executed guitars and pummeling drums practically rain enthusiasm; every note and every snare snap bounces meticulously from speaker to speaker, ravaging the wires within. Even from this track you can see the similarity with earlier albums "Clone" and "Hypothetical", without an inch of the joviality displayed on 2004's "Subsurface". Without a doubt, this is a new, exciting sound for Threshold, one that should please their loyal coterie as well as inspire a new horde to convert to their charms. In the same vein, explosive belter "This Is Your Life" takes the reins, and blasts us through new territory; Karl Groom's guitars chopping up the catchy verse before cranking up the synths for the almost Edguy-like chorus - again, insanely catchy and uncompromisingly heavy in equal measures. "Hollow" offers an amazing intro before snapping into a verse that builds like a shooting star, screeching across the musical landscape with the celerity of light. Possible Mac's best vocal performance, and Karl's solo – this is, aside from the next track, the most creative and intelligent song the band have ever recorded. The working title for the album – one that Mac told me reminded him of 'fluffy prog' like Spock's Beard – "Pilot in the Sky of Dreams" is so well defined, it almost breathes independently. Hugely influenced by 90's Queen, the vast array of atmospherics and subtle melodies cross-pollinate over many genres, without slipping from the progressive rock/metal radar. Starting with piano-driven balladry, "Pilot…" ebbs and flows between styles, and boasts the album's best hook – and a solid use of backing vocals – that is actually reminiscent of latter period Nocturnal Rites. If you buy one prog metal album this year, make it "Dead Reckoning" – if just for the overwhelming majesty of this one track.
Among the elliptical sphere of emotions is a rather shocking amount of AOR and progressive rock; but with the dark undertones and vividly wild guitar work, there is not a moment wasted within the whole running time. An amazing new direction that refuses to neglect its roots, "Dead Reckoning" is a rushing tide of pure emotion, which slips from colour and shade faster than a lightswitch. 100% triumph.
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