Threshold - Subsurface
InsideOut Music
Progressive Metal
10 songs (62'51)
Release year: 2004
Threshold, InsideOut Music
Reviewed by Ben

Subsurface, the newest outing by British proggers Threshold is finally here much to the excitement of this reviewer. Things have been relatively stable in the group lately, they haven’t changed out too many people since Clone and they even have a record now for five albums (live included) with the same singer! In my opinion, a revolving door lineup on your singer is the biggest impediment that a group can deliver itself as let’s face it, the singer is the most easily identifiable part of the band and he is also that one link between every album that more or less stays the same. You can have any number of people play bass or drums generally without going “ooohh I can tell it’s ___ because of his unique style he’s got in hitting those double bass pedals,” but even if the music is horrible you can still fall back on the vocalist (or blame him if that’s the case for the sudden shift in gears). Ok, enough rambling, let’s get down to business.

The past two releases, Hypothetical and Critical Mass were both very dark in atmosphere and the production was surgically clean to the point of being sterile in some cases. On Subsurface however, even though the production job was done once again digitally, the overall feeling is much warmer, lush in places and vibrant throughout. Another change is that the music is a lot more accessible than it was in the past. It’s not like Threshold were ever incredibly technical in the first place, however I have noticed that there is a more straight ahead metal feel to this album than there ever was on the rest of their catalog. The opening riff of Mission Profile reminds me so much of Against the Odds by Balance of Power that it’s uncanny. Ground Control however borders soft pop, heavy metal, and spacey hard rock, a very eclectic mix, but a rather nice one at that. By this time in the disc I noticed that the vocal harmonies are very Queen – like, not unlike those found on Narcissus (off of Hypothetical) but used throughout the entire disc. This is a nice change of pace from the huge five million man choirs of doom that many bands I’ve been listening to lately use, it gives off an almost eerie vibe. The centerpiece of the album is the obligatory ten minute plus epic The Art of Reason and I swear this reminds me of Asia or Styx (not that this is a bad thing, although you won’t find me saying that too often, ha!), especially in the chorus, I really believed that a laser light show would come shooting out of my speakers and paint a red laser wheel onto my ceiling while I was blasting this particular track.

Threshold have stepped up to the plate and have hit us again with a solid Progressive Metal album. While not as remarkable as when I first heard Hypothetical, the album that introduced me to these guys, Subsurface is still a fine album even though it is more lean and slicked down than other efforts. If you’re a fan of Progressive Metal in the more melodic vein rather than overly technical than Subsurface is just the cd for you.

Killing Songs :
Mission Profile, Ground Control, The Art of Reason, and Static
Ben quoted 86 / 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 - Critical Mass reviewed by Ben and quoted 94 / 100
Threshold - Hypothetical reviewed by Chris and quoted 74 / 100
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