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Threshold - Critical Mass review


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Band: Threshold
Album: Critical Mass
Release date: 2002

01. Phenomenon
02. Choices
03. Falling Away
04. Fragmentation
05. Echoes Of Life
06. Round And Round
07. Avalon
08. Critical Mass
09. Phenomenon [bonus] [limited edit version]
10. Do Unto Them [limited edit, definitive edit bonus]
11. New Beginning [limited edit, definitive edit bonus]
12. Echoes Of Life [definitive edit bonus] [Live in Switzerland]

This seventh studio release for Britain's "best progressive metal" band Threshold, entitled Critical Mass, without a doubt places then among the ranks of Dream Theater and Andromeda as far as musicianship, technicality and overall power. Setting them aside from their counterparts is their ambient electronic drum patterns/samples, gritty and yet soaring vocals (Andrew McDermott) and the wall of guitar sound backed by two guitarists (Karl Bloom and Nick Midson) instead of the typical one. Critical Mass features catchy songs that will have you singing over and over again after five or six listens due to the repetitive nature of the song structures. Straight ahead guitar riffing, atmospheric string arrangements (by Richard West), and equally aggressive and technical guitar licks and solos (Karl Groom) is the glue that hold this album together. The heavy and soft balance of each song captures the true epic and adventurous nature of the growing progressive metal camp. The only semi-low point on Critical Mass would be Avalon, the second to last song before the massive and diverse Critical Mass (Pts. 1-3) at the end clocking in at over thirteen minutes. It features a composition taken directly from their 2001 album Hypothetical, only in a different key and with a different synthesizer preset scattering through the arpeggios. The entire song (Avalon) reminds me of Dream Theater's Anna Lee from their Falling into Infinity album. Furthermore, other bits and pieces of Critical Mass remind me of that album just with more aggression and power. Lastly, Threshold isn't fully about technicality and is more interested in delivering firm.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 10

Written by Horlequism | 05.06.2006


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Guest review by
The Silent Man
This album is a masterpiece: it is surely one of the best prog metal works I've ever listened to. The whole sound is very clean, the accuracy of the production is unbelievable, the volume levels are homogeneous, compositions are top quality and well balanced, the lyrics deal with reincarnation and physics.

The album is a heavy progressive work, here you can find everything you are looking for: powerful riffs, innumerable time changes, cold space atmospheres, guitars-keyboards duets, catchy melodies, excellent drum fills, accurate vocal harmonies, expressive instrumental sections, headbangers? typical rhythmic parts .

published 03.09.2003 | Comments (2)


Comments: 5   Visited by: 20 users
23.10.2006 - 17:26
Account deleted
The reviewer is a bit harsh with this album. To me this is a progressive metal masterpiece. Lack of originality you say?! I'm surprised at this idea. Sorry, maybe it's me but i don't know any other bands that have got the Threshold, this band has an unique style. Great musicianship and IMHO, Andrew MacDermott suits the sound of the band much better than Glynn Morgan or Damian Wilson. i am subjective again.:D
24.10.2006 - 06:06
Kap'N Korrupt
Account deleted
I suggest that you write another review along with mine...
24.10.2006 - 20:44
Account deleted
sorry to have upset you, I did not mean to; don't take it personally. You'll have a review from me for this album pretty soon.:thumbup:
25.10.2006 - 03:00
Kap'N Korrupt
Account deleted
You did not offend me at all; after being on this site well over two years now, I can take any criticism people give me...I await your review...
16.11.2009 - 04:58
Liver Failure
Yeah.. it kinda reminded me of Falling Into Infinity.. but well.. better get inspiration from a good album than a bad one...

member of the true crusade against old school heavy metal, early 80s thrash, NWOBHM, traditional doom, first and second wave black metal, old school death metal, US power metal, 70s prog rock and atmospheric doomsludgestoner. o/

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