Threshold - Critical Mass
InsideOut Music
Progressive Metal
Disc 1: 8 songs (59'59) Disc 2: 3 songs (13'45)
Release year: 2002
Threshold, InsideOut Music
Reviewed by Ben
Album of the month

Threshold's new cd Critcal Mass has been one of the better listening experiences I have had so far this year. I know this sounds horribly cliche and tired but Critical Mass really is Threshold's best and most mature release to date. It has a darker sort of atmosphere than the previous release Hypothetical and an overall heavier feel to it as well. Before I start on the music aspect of this cd I must comment on the packaging. It is in a word perfect. The LTD version of this cd comes in a slipcase with a second cd with three bonus tracks and a multimedia section. The bonus tracks are a nice addition they could have fit in on the main cd without a hitch and the multimedia section is awesome. It has video footage of the band in the studio recording the album and a rather lengthy documentary of the band from their beginnings in the late 80's to today. There is also a nice screen saver a studio diary and access to the "backstage" if you correctly answer 4 trivia questions. A very good package that was well thought out and planned.

Phenomenon starts the cd off and is your upbeat rocker tune that Threshold can do best. Good guitar playing nd well sung vocals make this song the perfect opener. Choices is next and clocks in at around eight minutes, average for a Threshold song and gives the band an oppurtunity to show off their skills. Things slow down a bit on tracks three and four, Falling Away and Fragmentation and give the listener a chance to get settled in to what will come. The absolute most killing song on Critical Mass is Echoes of Life. It reminds me of Oceanbound from Hypothetical in the sense that the vocal melodies will be stuck in your head long after the song is over. Keyboards play an important role in Echoes of Life and they add so much to the song. Without them it would be bland and lifeless. The only lowlight and track that I skip is next. Round and Round isnt a horrible track by any means it is just that the chorus is so damn irritating it ruins the song for me. Even with Mac's awesome vocals I cant take much of "roundandroundandroundandround again and roundandroundandround" you get the picture. It has a dark melancholic feel to it and on other grounds would be a very cool song but the chorus just makes me go BAH and skip it as soon as it comes in. Avalon is a decent Power Ballad nothign to get excited over but after Round and Round its a welcome change. The title track and epic of this cd is last and although it clocks in at 13+ minutes it never gets old or boring. While some progressive bands use epic songs as an excuse for musical wankering Threshold take Critcal Mass and make it a 13 minute song of enourmous proportions with guitar solos all over the place, some more excellently sung passages by Mac and tight unique drumming by Johanne and some very good keyboard solos by Rich. The perfect way to end this progessive metal journey.

This really is one of the best progessive discs I have heard. With the exception of Round and Round every song on here is essential to the album. All the best elements of progressive metal are here from the warm rich vocals of Mac to intricate guitar and keyboard duelings to uniquely played drums everything is here. Album of the month to me and I dont ever give those out lightly.

Killing Songs :
Phenomenon, Echoes of Life, Critcal Mass, Choices
Ben quoted 94 / 100
Other albums by Threshold that we have reviewed:
Threshold - March of Progress reviewed by Thomas and quoted 71 / 100
Threshold - Dead Reckoning reviewed by Cody and quoted 95 / 100
Threshold - Subsurface reviewed by Ben and quoted 86 / 100
Threshold - Hypothetical reviewed by Chris and quoted 74 / 100
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