Threshold
Legends of the Shires


4.5
superb

Review

by Ocean of Noise USER (32 Reviews)
September 9th, 2017 | 55 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An ambitious, expansive, and breathtaking double album that sits confidently in the upper echelon of Threshold’s discography.

For well over two decades now, Threshold have proven themselves time and again to be one of the strongest and most consistent acts in progressive metal. Their accessible, catchy and riff-laden take on the genre has been firmly established ever since their wonderful 1993 debut, Wounded Land, and has yielded them consistently enjoyable results throughout their long and impressive career. There have been a fair share of real masterpieces along the way, too; albums like 1997’s Extinct Instict or 2012’s March of Progress, as well as individual songs such as “Light and Space” (2001’s Hypothetical) and “Ground Control” (2004’s Subsurface) are high achievements by the standards of just about any progressive metal act out there. Yet, Threshold have never enjoyed anything more than a small, quiet and intensely loyal fanbase, churning out solid album after solid album once every few years and humbly playing their role keeping the underground progressive metal scene relevant. They record, they release, they tour, they keep their fans happy, and they scarcely miss a beat all the while.

In some ways, Legends of the Shires could be considered a fresh and innovative album coming from a band as firmly set in their ways as Threshold. It’s the first double album the band has attempted in their long career, as well as being the first album in over 20 years (and second album overall) to feature vocalist Glynn Morgan, who replaced star vocalist Damian Wilson for the second time earlier this year. While Morgan lacks Wilson’s effortlessly beautiful tone as well as not quite possessing the charisma of the late long-time Threshold vocalist Andrew “Mac” McDermott, he finds strength and comfort in being a completely natural fit for the band’s sound. He has the right bite for the album’s more aggressive songs, the lyricism for the more melodic songs, and all the dynamic versatility he needs to blend right in to all the textures the band create with their instrumentation. While Morgan sounded great on 1994’s Psychedelicatessen, he sounds even better here, and I’m very much looking forward to hearing how his vocals develop on (hopefully!) future releases with the band. As for the album’s length, the band fill the mammoth 83-minute runtime with as much energy and inspiration as they can muster; impressively, the album doesn’t overstay its welcome at all, which is a real feat for a band notable for their consistent and often unvaried compositional style.

In fact, as was the case for the other true masterpieces in their discography (Extinct Instict and March of Progress), variety is perhaps Threshold’s greatest strength on Legends of the Shires. In 83 minutes, the band stretch the constraints of their style to its limits without ever losing track of their established musical identity. From the hard-rocking riffs and ripping solo of “Small Dark Lines” to the expansive melodic genius of “The Man Who Saw Through Time” and the gorgeous, almost radio-friendly chorus of “Stars and Satellites”, Threshold fully explore the most distant facets of their sound and all the rich dynamic possibilities lying between them. This exploration has pushed the band’s sound forward and resulted in one of the most ambitious and accomplished efforts of their whole career – an album that sits confidently among their highest achievements while never sacrificing their roots or making purposeless experiments. With Legends of the Shires, Threshold have done everything that any truly great musical act should do, quietly and humbly pushing their sound forward while expertly riding on the momentum of their previous work. The result is a superb release that will undoubtedly remain an overlooked triumph, an underappreciated masterpiece, and one of the finest progressive metal albums of 2017.



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user ratings (80)
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Ocean of Noise
September 9th 2017


10970 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

A great album that will unfortunately probably go overlooked this week, especially in the wake of the new National. Here's hoping this'll bring some much-deserved attention to it. Constructive comments welcome!



Also, just realized that this is my 30th review! Woot.

OmairSh
September 9th 2017


17611 Comments


Why do I not believe this album is ambitious. Threshold hasn't really taken many risks in their career

Toondude10
September 9th 2017


15188 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

just started listening to these guys a couple days ago, I'll give this a shot. I'm a sucker for these kinds of albums.

Orb
September 9th 2017


9413 Comments


Will check. Nice review!

Ocean of Noise
September 9th 2017


10970 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Why do I not believe this album is ambitious. Threshold hasn't really taken many risks in their career




Generally, I would be inclined to agree with you, but this album actually is fairly risk-taking by their standards. If I were you I'd give it a spin before making that judgement.



just started listening to these guys a couple days ago, I'll give this a shot. I'm a sucker for these kinds of albums.




Me too! Glad to hear you enjoy these guys. Not a bad album in their discography imo.



And thanks Evo! Hope you enjoy the album.

Toondude10
September 9th 2017


15188 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Loving this so far, Small Dark Lines was fantastic.

Ocean of Noise
September 9th 2017


10970 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good to hear. I think my favourite section of the album is the stretch from Small Dark Lines to Stars and Satellites. 4 of Threshold's best songs right there.

Toondude10
September 9th 2017


15188 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this might be the best prog metal album of the year

teamster
September 10th 2017


6245 Comments


The cover, the song titles, two sides...all scream pretentiousness. Yet I will check this out. Excellent review and thanks.

Ocean of Noise
September 10th 2017


10970 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this might be the best prog metal album of the year




I'd say that title will probably go to Pain of Salvation's In the Passing Light of Day, but this one is definitely up there.



The cover, the song titles, two sides...all scream pretentiousness. Yet I will check this out. Excellent review and thanks.




It's prog metal; did you ever expect anything different? Thanks though man and I hope you enjoy the album!

Ebola
September 10th 2017


4535 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Man, this is just too much, even for prog metal. There are some great ideas, but it feels like each song lumbers on for twice its ideal length.

Regardless, excellent review.

EvoHavok
September 10th 2017


8082 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Neat read. I dig March of Progress so I may spin this too.

dante1991
September 10th 2017


764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really enjoying this so far. It might actually be their best.

I found "For the Journey" to be quite uninspired and lifeless at times, but this album is far more progressive and varied.



Up there with March of Progress for me. And "The Man Who Saw Through Time" is incredible.

Ocean of Noise
September 10th 2017


10970 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Man, this is just too much, even for prog metal. There are some great ideas, but it feels like each song lumbers on for twice its ideal length.



Regardless, excellent review.




That's a complaint I can understand about Threshold, though I personally I've never minded it. I also find this is one of the more varied and better paced albums in their discography, so maybe these guys just aren't for you... I'd still give March of Progress a try if you haven't already, though.



Neat read. I dig March of Progress so I may spin this too.




Thanks! And yeah, if you loved March of Progress, you'll probably love this too.



Really enjoying this so far. It might actually be their best.



I found "For the Journey" to be quite uninspired and lifeless at times, but this album is far more progressive and varied.







Up there with March of Progress for me. And "The Man Who Saw Through Time" is incredible.




Personally, I think March of Progress is fairly clearly their best album, though this is pretty close to it. The Man Who Saw Through Time is indeed a masterpiece and one of the best songs I've ever heard from these guys.

Beardog
September 10th 2017


5258 Comments


The choruses are so poppy

bloc
September 10th 2017


70370 Comments


Holy shit I gotta hear this. Love this band so much and they're so fuckin underrated.

Ocean of Noise
September 10th 2017


10970 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The choruses are so poppy




Indeed they are. But these guys do that well, so I'm happy!



Holy shit I gotta hear this. Love this band so much and they're so fuckin underrated.




You really do have to hear this if you're a big fan of these guys. Agreed that they are extremely underrated.

Beardog
September 10th 2017


5258 Comments


It's pretty interesting, gonna listen to some of their records.

Ocean of Noise
September 10th 2017


10970 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hard to find a bad one in their discography tbh. If I were you I'd start with the debut and work your way chronologically.

bloc
September 10th 2017


70370 Comments


Yeah the early stuff is godly. Really good gateway to no frills prog metal.



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