Threshold - For the Journey - (9/10)
Published on September 11, 2014
Crossing the threshold once again.
Ever since their 1993 debut Wounded Land, British Threshold had been on the forefront of progressive metal, excelling in deep and demanding compositions that nevertheless had this immediate catchiness to them without compromising the musical integrity of the songs, all backed with at times astonishing heaviness compared to many of their genre colleagues. Twenty-one years later they have reached their tenth full-length with For the Journey and they continue down their path, even though they don’t sound the same. One of Threshold’s biggest strengths always has been to sound distinctly Threshold on each of their albums, but avoiding the pitfall of repeating themselves, a tradition that continues on this album.
Compared to 2012’s masterpiece March of Progress, For the Journey is a less heavy offering, with more emphasis on the atmosphere, making it a less spectacular, but no less strong. That being said, the slight shift in style might make it harder for some fans to find their way into the new album, since it offers a lot less immediate hooks to reel you in. The one element that has stayed the same is the unparalleled use of catchy and harmonic choruses without dipping them into honey and forming a jarring contrast to the rest of the song. Prime example for this is the 12-minute epic of the album, “The Box”. While the rest of the song moves between calm and atmospheric on the one side and proggy on the other, the brilliant chorus ties it all together and will embed itself deep in the grey cells of your brain.
The single “Watchtower on the Moon” is an almost perfect appetizer for what the album has in store for you, mid-paced, atmospheric, with enough prog edge to keep the fans of the demanding side of metal satisfied, yet with a great catchy chorus to hook you up. Already mentioned “The Box” without a doubt is the centrepiece of the album, but Threshold prove their versatility with straight “Turned to Dust” moving on into balladesque “Lost in your Memory”, never becoming boring, repetitive or stale. The way they manage to weave catchiness of a “The Mystery Show” or beautifully done “Siren Sky” into atmospheric and deep compositions without getting shallow, also displays the mastery these gentlemen have acquired throughout the years.
While not being as heavy as their predecessors, For the Journey is pure Threshold and not a try to tap into a new, wider fanbase. More atmospherically dense, the Brits are showing a different side of themselves and prove that they actually are progressive in the original sense of the word, moving forward as a band while staying yourself. Another high quality release by one of the steadiest bands in prog!