Psychedelicatessen is British prog metal band Threshold's second album after their wonderful debut Wounded Land. Originally released in 1994, this copy came out on their new label InsideOut Music in 2001 containing a bonus CD with live versions of "A Tension of Souls", "Innocent", "Sanity's End" and several others. There's also an enchanced element featuring notes, videos, photos and a screensaver.
So what's different on Psychedelicatessen compared to its predecessor and its follow-ups? Well this has a different singer to begin with: Glynn Morgan. Also former drummer Tony Grinham has been replaced with Nick Harradence (Shadowland). It's hard to say Threshold is a consistent band as far as their drummers are concerned since they replaced Harradence with Mark Heaney on Clone and Heaney with current drummer Johanne James on their later releases. Other than that guitarists Karl Groom and Nick Midson are doing an amazing job in the rhythm section with bassist Jon Jeary. Richard West, as always, is one of the core parts of the bands. The drumming isn't bad, but I certainly think the drummer on Wounded Land and their current one, James, add a lot more to the feel of the music. They're more prominent and subtle. They make themselves heard if you know what I mean. Still, Psychedelicatessen is an excellent release! Vocalist Glynn Morgan detered me from picking this CD up, because I love Threshold with both original singer Wilson and current singer Mac. Since Morgan only appeared on Threshold's Psychedelicatessen album (plus a live disc) only to be replaced by Wilson again on Extinct Instinct, I had the misconception that he wasn't the right guy for the band. Man was I wrong! Threshold has got to be one of the few bands out there lucky enough to have three amazing vocalists through out their career. While I'm a big fan of Damian Wilson (Ayreon, Star One, Landmarq) and aware that Mac is even better than Wilson, I must admit that Glynn Morgan's vocal performance is absolutely stunning here! I am curious why he left the band. His vocals fit Threshold's style perfectly and he has everything a prog vocalist should possess: rawness, energy, deep and angry delivery shifting to very calm and solemn vocal melodies. It will be interesting to check out this guy's other band Mindfeed.
One thing that gives Threshold their originality has got to be their dual guitars complemented with crunchy bass riffs and masterfully crafted keyboards. The rhythms are widely prevalant. Also, I could be wrong but I think guitarist/songwriter Karl Groom might have been influenced by the legendary Richie Blackmore in the way that his solos showcase some nice Middle Eastern melodies. This is also available on their debut Wounded Land. The influence however doesn't come from Blackmore's technique, but the content of his solos.
The fourth track "Will to Give" immediately caught my attention with its heavy riffs and beautiful vocal melodies. Richard West's beautiful keyboard passages really show in this song, though they serve to complement the songs rather than out shredding the rest of the band members. That is another thing I like about Threshold. The keys play a great role in their music, but they never dominate the other instruments.
Psychedelicatessen was the last Threshold album I picked up, because I was a little weary about it. I was wrong. It's beautiful. This one gets lots of mixed reviews; some fans love it while to some it doesn't appeal much. Well pick it up and decide for yourself. I personally really like it and this could well become my favourite Threshold if it continues to get so many replays from me. I've had it in my discman all week. Time will tell I guess.
* Review originally written in 2003.
- Tension of Souls
- Into the Night
- Will to Give
- Under the Sun
- Babylon Rising
- He Is I Am