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Threshold - "For The Journey" (CD)

Threshold - "For The Journey" CD cover image

"For The Journey" track listing:

1. Watchtower on the Moon
2. Unforgiven
3. The Box
4. Turned to Dust
5. Lost in Your Memory
6. Autumn Red
7. The Mystery Show
8. Siren Sky

Reviewed by on July 31, 2014

"Song structures that keep the flow moving forward without tripping over time changes or getting lost in sonic masturbation make up the very cornerstone of Threshold."

I’ve always referred to Threshold as “the band Dream Theater should sound like.” For one, Threshold has a “linear progressive” writing style that goes a bit against “progressive norms,” but which ironically fits the definition of the word “progressive.” If you believe progressive is “change, improvement” then surely Threshold is always on the cutting edge. But if you view progressive as a literal term meaning “going forward or onward” – then the U.K. greats are even better. Song structures that keep the flow moving forward without tripping over time changes or getting lost in sonic masturbation make up the very cornerstone of Threshold. Borrowing more from progressive rock acts like Yes, Kansas, Marillion with a healthy shot of Deep Purple and the grandeur of Ayreon, Threshold is far and away the best pure progressive metal act out there. With a little more grind on the riffs this time out, “For the Journey” is even more enjoyable than its equally potent predecessor “March of Progress.”

I don’t know what makes Threshold feel so comfortable to the ears….the effortless play of guitar duo Karl Groom and Pete Morten or Damien Wilson’s smooth, tranquil, and highly unobtrusive vocals. Yet there is a subtle blackness at the core – a standard line of heaviness that hovers just below Richard West’s vaporous keyboards. It truly is “thinking man’s” metal, but so completely devoid of tedium. Even at its quietest moments, there is never a scintilla of apathy. “For the Journey” represents another chapter in the history of a band that demands as much respect as the more “popular” acts in similar veins.

“Watchtower on the Moon” wastes little time with the albums most leaden riff. It’s an overture of an album filled with flash, comfort, latent heaviness and enticing choruses – all components that make up one hell of an album. One of the impressive parts of the album lies embedded in Groom’s solo work, another thing that remains larger unearthed by much of the metal world. The finest example of his outstanding contribution is in the 12 minute epic “The Box," a slow atmospheric builder that you can literally hear recoiling at 1:45 right before the strike at 2:15. Both at 5:35 and again at 6:45 (this time paved by West’s stellar keyboard solo), Groom lays waste to the fretboard for nearly a full minute.

The victory of the album comes in the form of “The Mystery Show” – a song that has been on nonstop repeat since it first reached my ears. It's another slow mover in to one of the smoothest Kansas/Yes-esque bridges and harmony chorus lines I’ve heard this year. Backed by Hammond Organ style keyboards and a smoldering riff, the song will be on the playlist for the foreseeable future. Thought provoking lyrics then make the song the perfect package. Other notable tracks are the moody but power driven “Unforgiven” and the bursting thrill ride “Turned to Dust.” More Yes influenced greatness surfaces in “Autumn Red” and the stellar closer “Siren Sky.”

“For the Journey” is another great chapter in the history of a band that needs to be thrust further into the limelight of progressive metal. Whether intended or not, the band’s charming “anti-Dream Theater” approach represses self-indulgent fapping and emphasizes the purity of a team approach – one that pushes the music “forward or onward” in a linear, but no less dazzling “progression.”

Highs: Some of the best progressive "linear songwriting" in the business.

Lows: For the overly technical, this might represent a bit more basic material than you want.

Bottom line: Threshold gives you plenty of potent progressive metal "For the Journey."

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

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)