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Threshold: March Of Progress

Consistent quality progressive metal albums are something you can't say all bands have released over their careers but Threshold is one of the exceptions. Dead Reckoning was their last studio release in 2007 and would also be the final with the late Andrew Mac McDermott who left the band and was replaced by original vocalist Damian Wilson. I was so very disappointed to read of Andrew's departure from Threshold as his vocals were just so good, and then most saddened when he passed away in 2011- he was great talent that will be missed.

Threshold do have a large following of loyal fans but I have often wondered why they aren't even more popular in progressive/metal circles, after all, their music is more accessible than many somewhat due to the fact that Threshold show more restraint in their playing making their songs easier to absorb so they should appeal to a broader audience. That is not taking anything away from this band's ability and I have no problem with people pushing their musical limits, but sometimes in this genre there can be too much progressive wankery as some like to call it. Threshold gives us great catchy material with precision performances that complement their songs without going over the top.

So now five years since their last release impressed so many, Threshold are back with another called March Of Progress and as usual this is one excellent sounding release capturing Threshold's many great performances. Damian Wilson has stepped back into the lead vocalist role with ease, and his distinctive voice is complemented by Threshold's always appealing backing vocals.

March Of Progress consists of "Ashes" a very catchy upbeat track, "Return Of The Thought Police" is a slower one with a cool keyboard solo, "Staring At The Sun" has more fine musicianship, and I like how the drums and guitar duplicate each other at times which works a treat and vocally once more it's also very good. "Liberty Complacency Dependency" follows and what a song it is, this has everything that Threshold do so well with many changing moods, add those light to heavy passage plus a stellar guitar solo and you have a winner. Threshold keep impressing with"Colophon" and "The Hours"; this band really know how to utilise all their instruments as required to create something special. Saving the longest for last is "Rubicon" at ten minutes plus, as Threshold bring this long awaited release to a close in style.

There is no mistaking that March Of Progress is very much a Threshold release. They certainly have their own sound and style, but March Of Progress still has a fresh/inspired feel that will keep you coming back. Also if you have the option then the version with the potent bonus track "Divinity" is the one to have, another good addition to Threshold's catalogue.

Well, maybe now thanks to this excellent new album Threshold will be elevated further up the progressive ladder where they belong, and hopefully that will mean we wont be waiting so long between releases in the future.


Track List:
1. Ashes
2. Return Of The Thought Police
3. Staring At The Sun
4. Liberty Complacency Dependency
5. Colophon
6. The Hours
7. That's Why We Came
8. Don't Look Down
9. Coda
10. Rubicon
11. Divinity – Bonus Track(Digipak and US CD only)

Added: October 15th 2012
Reviewer: Scott Jessup
Score:
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 4410
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Threshold: March Of Progress
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-10-15 07:29:32
My Score:

All has been quiet in the Threshold camp for a few years, but behind the scenes a lot was actually going on. Vocalist Andrew 'Mac' McDermott left the band due to health reasons and he later passed away in 2011, and was replaced by original vocalist Damien Wilson, who seems to have not missed a beat with his old bandmates here on their latest release March of Progress. Wilson's soaring pipes fit like an old glove when combined with Threshold's melodic, crunchy style of progressive metal. All the elements we've come to expect from the band are here, including the catchy hooks, the symphonic arrangements, the atmosphere, and just the right amount of complexity and guitar & keyboard solos. It's what makes progressive metal 'progressive metal' right? Songs like "Liberty Complacency Dependency", "Staring at the Sun", "Ashes" and "Don't Look Down" just reek of class and professionalism, with Threshold wanting more to grab the listener with potent melodies, heavy arrangements, and a smattering of proggy bliss. They don't bash you over the head with endless complex arrangements and soloing like some bands do in the genre, but add just the right amount to keep the fans happy. Honestly, their well crafted songs don't really need it, and stand on their own.

Yep, another winner from Threshold, who for years have become one of the most dependable prog-metal bands on the scene, and there's no sign that they are slowing down anytime soon.

Threshold: March Of Progress
Posted by Keith Hannaleck, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-10-11 07:10:08
My Score:

Progressive Metal fans have waited 5 years for a new Threshold album. March of Progress seems like a fitting title for such a tremendous effort (although the reference to that phrase means something entirely different). The band's loss of long time vocalist Andrew 'Mac' McDermott in 2011 certainly put a roadblock up for the band. Prior to his passing he left the group, as we know now due to health issues, and Damian Wilson came back to help them continue on. This is his second stint with the band. Although Mac was such a strong presence fronting the band and arguably their finest lead vocalist, Damian has grabbed the reins and solidified the once fragmented band.

The current lineup for Threshold is: Damian Wilson (vocals), Karl Groom (guitar), Pete Morten (guitar), Steve Anderson (bass), Richard West (keyboards) and Johanne James (drums).

Damian is well known in the world of progressive rock but could he replace Mac and record an album that would have an impact on listeners that have followed the band and also gain new fans? He has answered that question with a resounding yes on this stunning recording.

On the opening track "Ashes," Threshold continues to take a stand on what they believe in and make statements within their music. The track is an energized and powerful opener that sets the tone for the entire recording, the accompanying booklet furnishes the lyrics so you can sing along and get an idea of what they are trying to say in each song in a more forceful manner. Essentially this band puts out the message that we need to take care of the environment and cast aside complicated politics that paralyze our growth as a human race (this has been a theme central to their music for years now). Passages such as "From ashes we rise, from ashes we fall, we cannot disguise our hand in it all"- hits home where you live and to any enlightened individual willing to hear the truth about who we are and what we have become, the words make total sense.

The pounding and pulsating rhythm section and fat power chords peppered with flourishes of tasteful and driving keyboards when appropriate are the perfect blend for Wilson's impassioned vocal style. His ability to mellow out and then raise his pitch to follow the music is like a rhythmic machine at work and it's a thing of beauty. This is exercised without exception throughout the album and particularly on the mind bending "Return of the Thought Police." Threshold is a modern day band and prophetic within their sound…prog metal visionary men if you will. The music comes at you in waves of sound pushing the lyrics inside your head and turning you inside out. It's all good from the perspective of a progressive metal fan that wants some excitement and at the same time something cerebral to sink their teeth into. It works very well from the first note to the last on this incredibly strong release.

Throughout the eleven tracks the band is right on task, as tight as they have ever been. Until now Critical Mass was my favorite album but I would have to say that March of Progress is starting to really get to me by digging in its musical heels and it may soon take its place. From the lightning fast and powerful opener "Ashes" to the more mellow and introspective "That's Why We Came" and then on to the eye opening breath of fresh air titled "Liberty Complacency Dependency," this is a band that can flex its muscles and show a more softer side all within one track and then deliver the message in one fell swoop sweeping you away into their world without letting you wander off somewhere else.

I would advise fans that have followed the band since their inception to cast aside any doubt of what Wilson was to the band at the beginning and look at things from a new perspective and give this album a chance. I am willing to bet most folks will love this album if they have always enjoyed Threshold. What we have here is one their greatest triumphs and possibly their best release to date. They have moved on without Mac (although he will always remembered and held dear to their hearts), exorcised any demons of doubt and created one of the best albums of the year.

Prog Metal does not get much better than this, period.



» Reader Comments:

Threshold: March Of Progress
Posted by Phil Williams on 2012-10-11 15:39:45
My Score:

This album and Circus Maximus (9) are probably the best releases this year for me. Miss Mac, but Damien is great on this. Can't recommend it enough if you like melodic and progressive music.

In response to why Threshold haven't made it big time, I think they're happy operating at the level and for some reason are not able to give what it takes, or do not have the funding to do what it takes. Everyone has to earn a living.

Breaking big in this Genre takes a lot of time and effort, think Drean Theater's touring regime and getting a CD out mostly every year. Threshold's tours are about 10 gigs in length. They do one gig in the UK which is in London, just not enough to establish a core fan base in your home country.


Threshold: March Of Progress
Posted by Scott Jessup on 2012-08-29 21:04:44
My Score:

Hi Karel,
Well it certainly isn't from lack of good material, I suppose to increase their popularity by gaining more of that exposure which bands like Dream Theater enjoy you need the resources and availability to tour more extensively.

Scott J

Threshold: March Of Progress
Posted by Karel Novotny on 2012-08-28 03:36:35
My Score:

Good morning,

just a question to the reviewer - what is your personal theory of why do Threshold suffer from insufficent recognition by a broaded audience ? I asked myself the same question many times. Their music was always very accessible, with many catchy moments (without negative impact on the quality of songs) & at the same time hard+aggressive enough, the production was also very good (at least from Critical Mass album onwards) - but for some reason they did not break through...

Karel Novotny, The Czech Republic

Threshold: March Of Progress
Posted by Michael S on 2012-08-24 13:51:50
My Score:

Totally agree with the reviewer. Threshold give us excellent musicianship with instantly memorable hooks, and melodies. They have always been one of my favorite prog metal bands because they are one of the few that are not so complex as to need many listens to digest.




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