Threshold - Dead ReckoningRelease: 2007
Label: Nuclear Blast
Threshold's strongest points on their last couple of albums have been their extreme catchiness and accessibility and "Dead Reckoning" is no difference here. The songs are easy to get into and after you've heard them a couple of times you can just look at the song-title and instantly recall how the chorus or some other part of the song goes. In fact, once you fully get into the songs you'll have a hard time ever getting them out of your head. The band's music could be categorized as progressive metal but they're probably the most "simple" and straightforward band within the genre. Most of the songs follow the verse-chorus-verse formula and the longer tracks tend to feature several choruses and obviously also longer instrumental passages. Although these instrumental passages are as far from Dream Theater shredding as you can get it's still clear that the band-members are prominent with their instruments. The longest track here is 'Pilot In The Sky Of Dreams" with a running time of almost 10 minutes. This track features all the key elements of Threshold in a mid-tempo half-ballad type of song. How the band could slaughter a great track like this down into a 3 min song and release it as a single is beyond my comprehension. Worst decision ever. If they had to release a single from the album there are plenty of shorter and catchier tracks like the opener 'Slipstream', for instance. That would've been a perfect single, if you ask me.
The thing that I suspect might be the most off-putting thing about Threshold is the vocals. Don't get me wrong, Andy McDermitt is a very good singer and one of the main reasons the music is so catchy and contagious. His voice is very smooth and soothing and is often backed up by equally smooth and polished back-up choirs. If you ask me, these back-up vocals are one of the best and most unique things about Threshold but they might turn off the average metal listener at first due their complete lack of raw edge. In short, neither Andy’s vocals nor the choirs have the aggression or attitude that you would expect from a metal band. Threshold is not about heaviness and aggression, that's made clear very quickly when you first hear the band. Threshold's music is about accessibility and catchiness – plain and simple.
"Dead Reckoning" is another strong album by Threshold that will surely satisfy all the fans. The biggest downside with this album is that it sounds pretty much the same as the band's last 3 studio albums with only some minor changes in sound. I don't really have any other complaints than the fact that band is repeating themselves again instead of going forward and evolving their sound more. If you're new to the band I'd say this album is the best possible starting point you could choose. I still think "Critical Mass" from 2002 is their best album but "Dead Reckoning" is not that far behind. It's a very catchy piece of music that you can listen to in virtually any mood.
Distributed in Denmark and kindly supplied by VME
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