Review Summary: Threshold's latest record offers enough variety and creativity to keep you listening for hours.
4 of 4 thought this review was well written
Threshold is a progressive metal band hailing from the UK. Formed in 1988, the band are veterans of the genre, with this being the band’s ninth studio album. With a career spanning nearly twenty five years, it would almost seem plausible that the band’s music can not possibly be very progressive at this point, but with March of Progress, Threshold still have much to offer those willing to seek them out.
March of Progress is not strictly a metal album. While it certainly does contain many standard metal elements, there are all sorts of influences here, from traditional progressive rock, to power metal, this album offers a wide variety of styles and tastes making for an already varied listen. The album has some upbeat and energetic moments that mirror power metal such as the opener “Ashes”, with soaring choruses and catchy hooks, and it also has its darker and more progressive moments (“Staring at the Sun”) tinged with creative guitar work and an inventive use of keyboards and musical arrangements. The music is very moody, with upbeat and dreary moments respectively. The music shifts broodingly behind the vocals, often times taking the listener on a roller-coaster of emotions. The music is very much a work of art, as it has a theatrical air about it that demands your attention.
While some metal purists would shy away from the clean (and really nicely done) vocals, upbeat tempos, and energetic performances, this is still very much a metal record, only of a different variety. The album has a lot of the things you love about metal, such as good production, creative guitar work and expertly executed solos, inventive drumming, very audible bass lines, and a vocal performance that demands your attention and respect. This album is basically a breath of fresh air, as it doesn't offer all of the aspects of metal that grow old with time, such as repetitive riffing and stereotypical vocals. In fact, this band even throws in keyboards that actually manage to work in sync with the rest of the instruments, a feat rarely witnessed in modern metal.
Unfortunately, March of Progress is not consistent enough. While much of the material is inventive and compelling, certain parts of the second half of the record fail to grab my attention. Songs like “That’s Why We Came” and “Don’t Look Down” are so upbeat and happy sounding that the material comes off as slightly corny and immature. Also, the ten minute closer, “The Rubicon” has some good moments, but drags on endlessly. Any ten minute song will be hard for new listeners to swallow, and “The Rubicon” is no exception. Still, most of the record is exceptional, and these slight grievances pale in comparison to some of the great tracks found here.
Despite a lack of consistency, this album offers enough musical variety, creativity, and catchiness to please most hard rock and heavy metal fans looking for something new and inventive. In a world so overcrowded with stale and repetitive metal bands ripping each other off, bands like Threshold will always come out on top in the end, regardless of what you may think of them.
I agree on almost every single point. For me, there are only a couple really standout tracks (namely Don;t Look Down and Divinity) with the rest being good, but nothing phenomenal. It's a good album for me overall, though not quite as good as Wounded Land, Extinct Instinct, Hypothetical, Critical Mass...fuck it's not as good as pretty much anything else they've released. Nonetheless, it wouldn't be fair to call this album a disappointment. THe band has simply set very high standards for themselves.
Your review was fantastic; one of the best I've read on this site in months. 100% worthy of a feature.