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Over Your Threshold - "Facticity" (CD)

Over Your Threshold - "Facticity" CD cover image

"Facticity" track listing:

1. Cortical Blindness (3:08)
2. Contextual Fluctuating (4:09)
3. Obscure Mind Stasis (6:07)
4. Self Exhibition (5:57)
5. Desolation Row (5:52)
6. Antic (4:14)
7. Abdicated (5:01)
8. Body Part Illusion (4:34)
9. Facticity (4:49)

Reviewed by on September 23, 2012

"A good technical death metal band knows how to provide that impeccable musicianship with meaningful structures to work with. Germany’s Over Your Threshold displays this kind of aptitude with their debut album 'Facticity.'"

Sometimes, technical death metal sacrifices good songwriting for how much of a virtuoso each member is at their instrument. Songs are cobbled together from twin guitar harmonies and enough finger-tapping to make Eddie Van Halen throw his arms up in surrender. A good technical death metal band knows how to provide that impeccable musicianship with meaningful structures to work with. Germany’s Over Your Threshold displays this kind of aptitude with their debut album, “Facticity.”

Over Your Threshold is not raising the bar for technical death metal in terms of musical ability, as they are on par with a band like Origin in that field. What they do commit to is wrapping their passion for wicked playing into songs that actually have a purpose. Instead of letting the solos and time changes define the music, the entire presentation matters. “Obscure Mind Stasis” has the standard bedazzling guitar leads, but it also contains a thick bass line and periodic acoustic incorporation to give “Obscure Mind Stasis” an appealing quality.

This kind of forward-thinking integration is not just resigned to “Obscure Mind Stasis,” but a major point on the title track and “Abdicated.” The latter is a feature piece for Christian Siegmund, whose stunning bass is the high point. Siegmund channels Steve DiGiorgio with his quick solo halfway in, and his bass is right up front along with the guitars (having a pair of headphones handy makes a difference). The rhythm side of Over Your Threshold is as fantastic as any other aspect of the music.

“Cortical Blindness” is what listeners searching for an easy tech death fix will be satisfied with. It’s a wild opening to “Facticity” and only matched by the equally exhilarating “Contextual Fluctuating,” which teases a steady pace before stomping on those ambitions with boiling anticipation. These tracks are also the introduction to the angry growls of guitarist Lukas Spielberger, who does a minimal job vocally and is not one of the more illuminating parts of “Facticity.”

As is the situation with many debut albums, “Facticity” has a few questionable songs that don’t do much to divert away from the usual technical death metal fare. The second half is most noticeable in this department, with “Antic” and “Body Part Illusion” receiving a chilly response. This is due to their direct approach that lacks the various twists the lengthier songs placed before it headed in. Nothing is to the point of making one want to shut the album off immediately, but the consistency needs to be adjusted if the band gets to produce another album.

“Facticity” delivers a spectacle that bands like Death and Obsidian have become revered for. The instrument work is flawless, and Over Your Threshold makes no bones about showing off their skills. Some songs become too wrapped up in this showmanship, eschewing atmosphere for extended guitar wankery. When the band steps away from the death metal, soaking up melodic rays from the bright acoustic breaks, they truly break from the herd. There are enough of these enlightening moments to make “Facticity” a sharp debut for Over Your Threshold.

Highs: Amazing musicianship, variety is key for several songs, always an exciting moment lying around the corner

Lows: A few questionable decisions in the second half, vocals are standard-fare for the genre

Bottom line: Over Your Threshold puts out a dazzling technical death metal debut that fans of that style of music will go crazy over.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 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)