Threshold - _Dead Reckoning_
(Nuclear Blast, 2007)
by: Yiannis Stefanis (7 out of 10)
My introduction to Threshold's music took place a year and a half ago at a venue in Montmartre / Paris, while the band was still on the road promoting their then latest effort _Critical Energy_. Even though I remember being quite impressed by Johanne James' drumming and Threshold's general chemistry on stage, I failed to really connect with the band's music -- mainly because my reason for travelling to France was to simply enjoy the performance of the opening act, who were no other than Devon Graves' Dead Soul Tribe. My latest task: to see whether listening to the band's latest studio album _Dead Reckoning_ without any "outside interferences" would manage to change my attitude towards this band. The result?

I could never really understand the reason why Threshold are presented as being a progressive metal band -- a classification that would make quite a few people, myself included, expect them to create music in the vein of Dream Theater and Psychotic Waltz. It is true that the slightly down-tuned, heavy-sounding guitars that are somehow reminiscent of Dream Theater (_Awake_ era) and present throughout the album often dare to indulge in non-straightforward tunes; but looking close at the nine compositions that are featured in this release, one will easily realise that their main structure is based on '80s hard rock music. Now, where have I seen such a fitting combination of heavy and melodic elements before?

The answer came straight after listening to the opening track "Slipstream" and "This Is Your Life", both of which feature massive guitar riffs and highly contagious melodic band refrains that, to me, show a clear influence from Danish hard rock / metal giants Royal Hunt. Even though it is clear that the album's chosen representative is the atmospheric / technical sounding "Pilot in the Sky of Dreams", I instantly fell in love with both the piano theme and melodic vocals of "Hollow" -- a song that will definitely appeal to fans of Bon Jovi. The remaining songs on the album, like the heavy sounding "Fighting for Breath" and the beautifully performed ballad "Safe to Fly", will definitely keep Threshold fans' interest alive; while the Theater-esque "One Degree Down" will provide a colourful ending to this fifty five minute musical journey.

I believe that _Dead Reckoning_ is indicative of Threshold's musical capabilities and intentions: these five musicians may not be presenting us with anything new here, yet they managed to create an interesting and easily accessible album which pays tribute to their classic hard rock influences and brings them closer to a younger audience. Even though this release will not feature in my top ten list at the end of the year, I will certainly enjoy listening to it when in the right mood.


(article published 20/4/2007)

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