"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Threatpoint - "Careful What You Wish For" (CD)

Threatpoint - "Careful What You Wish For" CD cover image

"Careful What You Wish For" track listing:

1. The Age Of Godlessness
2. Vultures Of Prey
3. Divide & Conquer
4. Mockingbird
5. Blessings and Curses
6. Collapse
7. Stronger Than Death
8. Mark My Words
9. Devil You Know
10. Tree Of Sorrow
11. Careful What You Wish For
12. Secrets
13. Hatebox
14. When Karma Comes

Reviewed by on November 5, 2014

"Groove, groove, and more groove... Threatpoint has truly discovered itself here."

“Straight down the middle,” proclaims consummate man’s man Ron Swanson of “Parks and Recreation,” on the fine art of bowling. “No hook, no spin, no fuss. Anything more and this becomes figure skating.”

While the consummate metalheads’ metalheads from Threatpoint certainly possess a surplus in the hook department, they nonetheless, in a strange way, fulfill the essence of Swanson’s dictum in genre terms. “Less is more” may be too simplified for a direct translation; “Build your foundation and start adding bricks” is closer to the mark. In this Scranton, Pennsylvania outfit’s case, the foundation is groove, groove, and more groove.

2013 debut “Dead To Rise” took heavy inspiration from multiple metal veterans (and subgenres) and filtered it all through a hip-swaying, groove-laden prism that reflected the finest moments of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal. While strong and focused in its own right, hindsight reveals “Dead To Rise” as merely a bracing precursor, a temporary dam holding back the monstrous flood of metallic virtuosity unleashed on superior sophomore effort “Careful What You Wish For.”

Daunting opener “The Age Of Godlessness” sets the churning, burning, groovy pace for the rest of this beast to follow, erecting the foundation from which the band can freely deviate to keep things fresh, but never so much as to lose the way. If anything, Threatpoint has truly discovered itself here by whittling down some extraneous influences and elements to produce a leaner, meaner, and deadlier sound - at its core, a lethal mix of DevilDriver and Testament.

This blend is perhaps best exemplified in the aforementioned opening number, “Divide & Conquer,” the absolutely vicious “Collapse,” the built-for-a-live-singalong chant “Devil You Know,” and the title track. Guitarist Alex Olivetti anchors the riffage in a consistent fiery grind that’s tuned down far enough to nail that sacred crunch, but stops short of sacrificing any melodic nuance. Speaking of melody, among the blueprint’s several deviations, “Mockingbird” is the ultimate standout, laying down European-style dual leads over a marching beat.

Other noticeable improvements from “Dead To Rise” include the smooth partnership of rhythm section Ron Martin (bass) and C.J. Krukowski (drums), the latter of whom actually knows how to use his double-bass pedals with simultaneous power and restraint, all for the purpose of serving the almighty groove. Vocalist Chris James continues to perfect his bellowing Chuck Billy (Testament) impersonation, but this time further distinguishes himself by developing a higher-pitched screech most reminiscent of Tom Angelripper (Sodom). All in all, the range of his abilities has expanded vastly.

Although “Careful What You Wish For” runs a hefty fourteen tracks (and no, none are interludes) that collectively risk dampening some shorter attention spans - groove tends to be most effective when played “hit and run” style - that says nothing about the individual songs themselves, all of which smoke any of the band’s previous material. Threatpoint has completely outdone itself here, and this album deserves to become not only an American metal cult classic, but a springboard for widespread recognition and success as well.

Highs: "The Age Of Godlessness" and "Mockingbird."

Lows: The album is a tad long for this style of metal.

Bottom line: A superior sophomore effort and overall stellar achievement from one of America's most accessible and hardest-rocking underground metal bands.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)