For a band like Threshold, celebrating a career of 20 years, their longevity could well be attributed to their grasp of the genre and the ability to produce confident and convincing progressive metal.
After the release of their latest album ‘March of progress’ their pre-Nuclear Blast output was selected to be given the re-release treatment, with definitive editions sporting extra content, and given a sonic make-over.
Psychedelicatessen was the follow up to the début album ‘Wounded land’ and is now 18 years old, so how does the record stand up?
The album opens with a massive spiralling sound, before stepping into a progressive riff; in many ways Threshold occupy the link in the chain between bands like Dream Theater and the big four.
Every inch of musical real estate is covered and completely holds up to current recordings, guitars have that ‘Played right next to you’ feel and sit perfectly into Threshold’s colossal sound. The original source material was already quality and this feels like a light blowing of dust off a record.
It’s a sign of a good song that on the opener ‘Sunseeker’ you hardly realise that seven minutes have gone by, such is the variation and twisting of melody displayed. Fantasy vocals with tarot cards and faith healers abound there’s even Morse code at the end, fantastic.
The momentum of the album is allowed to smoulder as it relaxes into a more considered approach on ‘A Tension of Souls’, Threshold really represent the beginning’s that made progressive possible. It’s a confidence two minutes in that the band allow a rhythm to breath and slowly burn and build upon, before tearing down the massive wall of noise with a just straight up metal riff, forget the categorization, this is just good metal.
The points of contact and their influences are signposted throughout, imagine Anthrax vocalist Joey Belladonna doing progressive, there’s even Annihilator hinted at on ‘Into the light’, but it’s always delivered with a knowingness, as these acts prominence were during the formative years of the Threshold , it’s entirely understandable that influences would bleed into their music.
Thresholds forte is their ability to put their own spin on the surrounding sounds, mixing in the progressive touch and that extra push into different realms. ‘Will To Give’ Is a perfect of example of a prog twist to a metal riff, and contains some of the best playing and most interesting sounds on the record.
Whilst flying the heavy flag, Threshold can also pull out beautiful metal vistas, with ‘Under the sun’, which in itself is an interesting curio as its only three minutes long, and what’s significant is that Threshold don’t extend it any further than is necessary, they explore the idea to its conclusion, it’s a restraint that is sometimes missing from some progressive excursions.
Throughout ‘categorization’ there are strong cuts like the ferocious riff of ‘Devoted’ and the statement of intent ‘Intervention ‘ all reinforcing ideas introduced by ‘Wounded’ and propagated throughout their career, ‘Fist of tongues ‘ is easily a high point, with it’s almost Megadeth refrain.
‘Psychedelicatessen’ does indeed hold up after almost twenty years, there are classics of all things prog on offer here and even now have lost none of their bite or technical prowess, the addition of several live tracks and a bit of spit and polish really do make this a definitive edition of this record, and a simply strong album.