Nuclear Blast [Release date 08.09.17]
Threshold have been in the metal news a lot recently after vocalist Damian Wilson left the band in March and they announced former vocalist Glynn Morgan was returning to the band – he left them back in 1993.
Also, not as widely reported, guitarist Pete Morten left the band a month before Wilson to concentrate on other musical projects, leaving Karl Groom as sole guitarist in the band. If that wasn’t enough they announced this new album, ‘Legends Of The Shires’ would be the band’s first double album – ‘a monster of an album’ according keyboards player Richard West.
I was not overly taken by their last album ‘For The Journey’, which lacked anything really memorable and this new album was approached with some trepidation. However, that was soon appeased after hearing the opening song ‘The Shire (Part 1)’. The gentle acoustic guitar, musical backing and vocals of Glynn Morgan set the scene for an album that despite the title isn’t a Hobbit and Tolkein fest, more a loose concept based on a country’s place, or indeed an individual’s place, in the wider world.
Lots to digest and enjoy musically. Take the epic ‘The Man Who Saw Through Time’, where Karl Groom’s guitars swoop and swirl into the keys of Richard West, backed by the heavy as lead boots rhythm section of bassist Steve Andersen and drummer Johanne James. The chorus on ‘Stars And Satellites’ has a real melodic rock feel to it and interesting vocal arrangements. This is one of Threshold’s songs that can easily appeal to music lovers outside of the progressive metal genre.
Another link to the band’s past sees original bass player Jon Jeary add his backing vocals to ’The Shire (Part 3)’. ‘Snowblind’ and ‘Small Dark Lines’ are big riff driven monsters, the latter has an instant chorus, a key part to the band’s sound and that was something the band were missing on their last album.
A lot of attention and detail has gone into this album, from the epic album artwork by Elena Dudina, through to the concept and musical arrangements – quite possibly the most atmospheric and grandiose music Threshold have created to date. Threshold are back at what they do best and ‘Legends Of The Shires’ will be an album you will keep coming back to again and again. ****1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
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