Threshold – For The Journey (Nuclear Blast)Tuesday, 16th September 2014
Progressive rock seems to be a like-it-or-don’t kind of genre, but anyone with ears can usually tell that a commonality with the stuff is great musicianship. Actually, the same can be said with heavy metal in general (by and large) where even the naysayers will admit that true musicianship has never been lost, even when it’s out of style. There are a multitude of bands that straddle the progressive/metal borderlands, some more on one side or the other (and some progressive death metal legends who jumped ship entirely to the dork side, to the displeasure of thousands).
Long-running English progressive metallers Threshold now release their tenth album since their first back in ’93, and to peg this one in the metal camp would be misleading – at the risk of splitting hairs, For The Journey should be considered a progressive rock album. Yes there are some moments here and there, some shreddery if you will, but the “heavy” riffing on the album, as heard straightaway on opener “Watchtower on the Moon” are heavy for, meaning “heavy for radio rock”. There is little bite to be found in these riffs – distortion, sure, but attitude, not really.
With vocalist Damian Wilson you’ll hear a very pro singer belting it out with a voice akin to Sonata Arctica’s Tony Kakko. Complete with lots of layered vocal harmonies, power and confidence are in good form over the length of the album. Truly, Damian Wilson does a fine job, as do the rest of this six-piece outfit. The thing is, there is not a lot wrong with For The Journey, aside from the lack of any standout moments or really memorable numbers. No, it’s all pretty good I suppose if you want a mature progressive rock album (and you understand that this means plenty of keyboards). With touches of Peter Cetera-esque sounds, Threshold exists somewhere between Porcupine Tree and Chicago, with a dusting of early 2000’s butt rock for good measure. If this sounds like your cup o’ tea, have I got an album for you!