Threshold - Critical Mass review
03. Falling Away
05. Echoes Of Life
06. Round And Round
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 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 [just look at the bass player!].
This cd is well structured: there is a punchy opener ['Phenomenon'], a memorable ballad ['Avalon'], an involving up-tempo piece ['Fragmentation'], an intricate cymbal work ['Falling Away'] and a splendid 13 minutes long title track, whose second part reminds me of Pink Floyd.
A special merit has the rhythmic section. In fact, the thing I like best is the impressive work of the drummer Johanne James: incredible technical skill, powerful sound... just perfect. If you turn up the volume, you will begin to move automatically, it is impossible to stay impassive [first try then trust!].
In conclusion, you will never get bored. If you like progressive metal, Critical Mass might become one of your favorite albums.
|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.|
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