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   THRESHOLD
Critical Mass
2002
Inside Out
http://www.thresh.net


rating: 5/5

1. Phenomenon
2. Choices
3. Falling Away
4. Fragmentation
5. Echoes Of Life
6. Round And Round
7. Avalon
8. Critical Mass (Part 1-3)
I'm almost ashamed to admit that this album was my first contact with Threshold, but better late than never, eh? Well, once I heard the album I immediately felt the need to listen to it again. And so I did and got deeper and deeper into a state of amazement. Threshold offers technical playing, Mac's great vocals, somewhat mellow, emotional and very beutiful melodies, quite a few surprising turns on the album, amazing musicianship in general, thoughtful lyrics and a majestic overall atmosphere that results in amazing progressive metal.

Ultimately, the final outcome of Threshold sounds like a crossover between progressive metal and technical hard rock (did I just create a new genre or are these two more or less the same thing?). Anyway, the hyperfast double bass rhythms are almost entirely absent on this album as they are not typical for Threshold, which makes their approach quite a refreshing one. The guitars are crunchy enough, but at the same time also sound somewhat friendly (?), which makes it relaxing to listen to. The synths also sound very beautiful and are quite often used in intros for the songs. And certainly Threshold offers a fair share of tempo changes within the songs, which is more or less a trademark for most of the prog metal bands and the songs are quite versatile in general and as they're all so amazing, I see no point in highlighting any of them.

The atmosphere on the album is somewhat mellow and peaceful, but also gets heavier and a bit haunting at times. Threshold manages to create wonderful moods and images in your head with their music, which I think very few bands are capable of. Even if we're talking about progressive metal, Threshold never falls to show off their talent, which they without a doubt have lots of, with meaningless solos or pointless shredding. Rather than that, they seem to focus on keeping the melodies and the overall atmosphere on the forefront, which I think is admirable.

The production is crystal clear and all the instruments seem to fall exactly in the right spot. To make my opinion as simple as possible, "Critical Mass" is an examplary album on how top notch progressive metal should sound like. If you're a fan of the genre and don't have your copy yet, get it asap! You'll see it's well worth your money and more!

submitted by Aleksi 01.01.2003

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