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THRESHOLD ‘Critical Mass’ (Inside Out 2002)

A UK progressive metal band whose line-up consists of Andrew McDermott (vocals), Karl Groom (gtr), Nick Midson (gtr), Jon Jeary (bass), Richard West (keys) and Johanne James (drums). The band were formed back in 1991 and this is their seventh release, including live recordings.

Opener `Phenomenon' gets things underway with a crunching metallic riff (much of the guitar on the CD reminds me of Metallica), before leading into a keyboard driven AOR-like chorus. `Choices' highlights the keyboards of Richard West, an epic track in the mould of Dream Theater. `Falling Away' is a slower number building-up with some symphonic keyboard touches. The harmony vocals on this track would put Journey to shame! My personal favourate track on the album.

`Fragmentation' sees the return of the crunching metallic riffs and spacey keyboard solo. Those harmony vocals are back as well! `Echoes of Life' highlights vocalist Andrew McDermott, who sounds uncannily like Thunder's Danny Bowes on this song. `Round and Round' continues the album's lyrical theme of reincarnation, one of the album's shorter tracks clocking in at just over five minutes. `Avalon' starts with a subtle piano/vocal intro leading into a power ballad - again those Danny Bowes comparisons come to mind. Album closer is the epic `Critical Mass (Parts 1-3)', the album's tour de force with the band's musical prowess to the fore. This would give Dream Theater a run for their money! Style changes - from acoustic to all out metal.

Don't be put off by the prog metal tag, this can be enjoyed by any rock fan. The album is built on songs and melody - two vital components in my book. If you enjoy Dream Theater, Rush and Savatage then try this CD.

Clone (CD review)

Interview with Karl Groom


Review by Jason Ritchie

Buy this CD

© 2002 Inside Out. All rights reserved.

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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