Threshold - Hypothetical

Year of Release: 2001
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: SPV 085-41472CD IOMCD073
Format: CD
Total Time: 56:02:00

Threshold is one of those bands you just can't find fault with, but can always find something to like about. They have always been the subjects of discussion because of their frequent changing of vocalists in addition to their superb brand of music. Threshold does not release a "bad" disc. Threshold does not release an "average" disc. Threshold releases quality discs and never follows the formula of a previous disc making them as "progressive" as ever by that definition.

With each release comes a variation in style - not only worthy of any CD player, but also worthy of praise from melodic metal heads to progressive metal heads. Hypothetical seems to have at least taken some tips from Psychedelicatessen, my personal favorite from the band. They seem to have gone back to the "metal" sound of Psyche, but have now added more melodic moments and heaviness and continued with the ballad style they have been known for as well.

The music here is very melodic -- almost adhering to the Psyche formula in many ways, but also finding its way into new Threshold territory as well. It does appear that Threshold is comfortable in any formula they choose to be in - from the distinct progressive elements of Extinct Instinct, to the almost hard rock style of Clone, to the now more straight ahead / melodic metal style of Hypothetical. The music is as mysterious sounding as it is heavy, thanks to the Pink Floydian style keyboards of Richard West, and the crunching metal chords of super musician Karl Groom, who is easily one of the most underrated individuals in music.

The addition of Mac on vocals has also been the focal point of many discussions about his ability to deliver the goods. It's not a secret that the previous release, Clone was met with varied responses, but most of which came from the fact that Mac wasn't "powerful" enough to deliver Threshold music as well as Glynn Morgan or Damian Wilson of past. Indeed on Hypothetical, Mac erases all doubt in anyone's mind as to his capability, and delivers the goods and more. His ability to sing the ballads as well as the crunching tunes works well and shows that he is more comfortable in the Threshold camp than ever. His voice is catchy, melodic, and his many layered harmonies make this disc a vocal dream to listen to. He has less of a metal voice than the others, I seem to hear him more in a "rock" band than a metal band, but he delivers a superb performance here and erases any doubt about his ability to be powerful. I won't compare his voice to that of his predecessors, but he certainly holds his own in Threshold and is quite capable of keeping this band on the map for many years to come.

The production is super, as always with a Threshold disc, thanks mostly to the sound producing capabilities of Karl Groom, who is not only known for his guitar work, but for his producing capabilities as well. His work with Neo-Prog great Clive Nolan is well documented, and has produced many a super quality disc for Nolan's many projects, as well as his Threshold work. The man is totally underrated, and I wish to note his superior sound skills along with his guitar wizardry and writing skills. The sound is pristine - period. The opening synth is enough to make any subwoofer rattle (be careful here), and the vocals are as clear as a bell - it's easy to hear every word Mac is singing. The keyboards, as always with Threshold, are way up front as they should be, and provide superb complement to Groom's crunching guitar. Personally, the drum sound has always been a sore spot with me in many bands, and Groom insures that the drums in Threshold sound more than lifelike. They are always produced with a huge sound, and Hypothetical is no exception.

If someone asked which Threshold disc to start with, it's not an easy answer. Each Threshold disc has its own personality, and my answer would be to close your eyes and pick a title out of a hat, and then grab every other disc in any order you please. Threshold in the melodic metal / progressive metal world is a given - we expect this band to release superb discs, and this is what they do time and time again. I'm confused as to why this band isn't more successful than they are, but maybe time will afford them the true success that they deserve. There are few bands that can do no wrong no matter what they do - and Threshold is one of those bands. This is an essential band to hear.

Released in North America by InsideOut Music America (IOMACD 2002)

Light And Space (5:52) / Turn On Tune In (6:12) / The Ravages Of Time (10:19) / Sheltering Sky (5:37) / Oceanbound (6:37) / Long Way Home (5:58) / Keep My Head (4:01) / Narcissus (11:14)

Mac - vocals
Karl Groom - guitars
Nick Midson - guitar
Jon Jeary - bass
Richard West - keyboards
Johanne James - drums

Wounded Land (1993)
Psychedelicatessen (1994)
Livedelica (1995)
Extinct Instinct (1997)
Clone (1998)
Decadent (1999)
Hypothetical (2001)
Wounded Land: Special Edition (2001/2002)
Psychedelicatessen/Livedelica: Special Edition (2001/2002)
Concert In Paris (2002)
Critical Mass (2002)
Wireless - Acoustic Sessions (2003)
Critical Energy (2004)
Extinct Instinct: Special Edition (2004)
Subsurface (2004)
Replica (2004)
Surface to Stage (2006)
Dead Reckoning (2007)
The Ravages Of Time (2007)
Paradox - The Singles Collection (2009)
March Of Progress (2012)
For The Journey (2014)
European Journey (2015)
Legends Of The Shires (2017)
Two-Zero-One-Seven (2018)

Critical Energy (2004) (DVD)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: August 11th 2002
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Artist website:
Hits: 825
Language: english


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