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Threshold: Dividing Lines

I must admit that I’ve held off on reviewing the latest album from UK progressive metal stalwarts Threshold, with the reason being that with hindsight I don’t fully agree with my own review for the band’s previous album Legend Of The Shires. Don’t get me wrong, that previous outing, the first since singer Glynn Morgan returned to the band’s ranks, is a solid effort and yet I don’t find myself going back to it often, or connecting with it the way I’d like to when I do. Now, with a few weeks under my belt with Dividing Lines I’m more confident in my assertions that this is Threshold firing on all cylinders. Morgan feels more integrated into the overall sound and feel of this album and the band in general (even if his colleagues are all staring at him accusingly in the photo in the booklet!), while guitarist Karl Groom and keyboard player Richard West seem less interested in the ‘journey’ this time around, instead using the ten songs assembled here to get their musical and lyrical message across and no mistake.

In drummer Johanne James and bassist Steve Anderson Threshold have one of the best prog-metal rhythm sections around and both are, as expected, pretty much phenomenal here. However, what really stands out to me is how much more refined Morgan sounds behind the mic - yes, there are a couple of (convincing and welcome) growls here and there, but, and I mean this as a huge compliment, it’s almost like Threshold have the much missed Andrew ‘Mac’ McDermott back in their ranks for this album. The result is an outing that feels much more succinct, much more lithe and intense and much more hard hitting. It also helps that the album isn’t quite as sprawling in terms of length as well.

“Haunted” opens with familiar building beats, gritty keyboards, gyrating guitars and clever breakdown sections that create immediate drama and numerous crescendos that ebb and flow into the senses. In short, all of the Threshallmarks are in place and working at peak velocity. And neither is this a one off, “Hall Of Echoes” surging with an inner power that is never over played or neglected as more refined, melodic passages float into view. Now, if there was any doubt after looking at the excellent album art (although the underside of the floating ball of rock on the cover does look a bit like an unwrapped easter egg…) Threshold are angry at the world and that comes across in both the insightful lyrical attack and the musical onslaught. “Silenced” being the perfect example, while “Domino Effect” has the same intensity but in a way that at times almost, but not quite, heads into symphonic metal territory. With the standard never once dropping “Defence Condition” closes the album out in mighty style, Dividing Lines choosing to hold back one of its strongest and most memorable moments for you to remember it by - and boy does it work, with the chorus line a real mind hugger and then some.

When looking at the Threshold catalogue as a whole you realise that the lows are still pretty damn impressive, however, when they really get it right, this band are imperious. Dividing Lines as definitely Threshold getting it right and the results are impressive indeed.

Track Listing
1. Haunted
2. Hall of Echoes
3. Let It Burn
4. Silenced
5. The Domino Effect
6. Complex
7. King Of Nothing
8. Lost Along The Way
9. Run
10. Defence Condition

Added: December 30th 2022
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Threshold online
Hits: 1400
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Threshold: Dividing Lines
Posted by Frank S. Castro on 2023-01-02 18:56:06
My Score:

Excellent album. Thanks for the review, Steven!

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