Threshold - Wounded Land

Year of Release: 1993
Label: Giant Electric Pea
Catalog Number: GEPCD1005
Format: CD
Total Time: 57:46:00

This is another disc I've had for awhile. It is harder edged progressive rock bordering on progressive metal - and to some it may be far closer to the metal end than the rock end. There's no denying that the rhythms are heavy, percussion and bass are the most prominent instruments behind the vocals of Damien Wilson, who sounds a bit like David Coverdale or Robert Plant, at least at some points.

Threshold tackle some heavy topics to go along with their heavy rock - ecological disaster in the opener "Consume To Live," turning away from religious faith in "Days Of Dearth," something that might a metaphor drug addiction in "Sanity's End," the human condition in "Paradox" and so on. Not exactly unique lyrical topics, especially of late; and there is always the danger of coming across as preachy, too. Of course, with an album title Wounded Land, you certainly can't expect flowery pastorals in the musical tradition of Genesis and the poetic tradition of Wordsworth.

All throughout I couldn't help but think of Marillion's "Fugazi." Not so much because Threshold can sound like a beefed up Marillion, though there are occasions when they do, but because the whole rhythm and feel to "Days Of Dearth" is similar. Hearing the tracks side by side you wouldn't accuse "Dearth" as a rip off, but there is a certain aggressive statement of purpose that is the same.

Nick Midson shares guitar duties with Karl Groom, who is almost as ubiquitous as Clive Nolan, as they are both members of Shadowland and have produced the first three Landmarq releases, which once named Damien Wilson as vocalist. Richard West provides keyboards and orchestration here, drums by Tony Grinham, and bass by Jon Jeary, who also contributes acoustic guitar and backing vocals. Ian Salmon, who, if memory serves me right, is now one of the newest members of Arena, adds acoustic guitar here on "Siege Of Baghdad."

Wounded Land was Threshold's debut and a very strong debut it is. My favourite track here is the 10 minute epic "Surface To Air," which is, in part, an anti-capitalist diatribe centered around the Gulf War. Well, at least using that as a backdrop. Well, I suppose it could just as easily be anti-Hussein, too, depending on your particular point of view. "When selfishness and greed and lust/Are all we understand." Either those oil consuming nations or those oil producing nations - or both.

Each section has a different tempo and feel, the first light (keys and vocals mainly), the second heavy (bass, guitar, and percussion), and the third is the big, epic section - dreamy vocals by Wilson, chiming guitar by Groom, boomy drums by Grinham. Visuals would include lots of aerial desert shots, while a strong breeze whips through making hair fly and clothes ripple).

"Siege Of Baghdad" is the mostly overtly about the Gulf War and the futility of it. "We will never finish what we started/And break the tyrant's rule/Just like all those old time crusaders/We're the only fools..." Well, looking at that lyric 7 years or so on...a rather accurate statement, as Hussein is still in power. The parallel being made is the crusades that began essentially in 1085 when Pope Urban "started the ball rolling," in wanting to reclaim Jerusalem for Christianity - in a nutshell. So many issues there and here (Gulf War) that are too complicated to get into for a review.

"Keep It With Mine" is sort of the ... alternative view, the bright spot of hope in this otherwise dreary picture we're being painted, and the booklet does contain a very dreary illustration - imagine all of your worst ecologic, chemical, and biological nightmares - a man made apocalypse. "We can make changes to the course of this road..." Lyricists Jeary, Groom, and Midson are far more optimistic than I am, I'm afraid; I'm hoping they are someday right, though.

I would term this heavy neo-prog, and if that's your sorta thing, I recommend you track this down.

Threshold are currently fronted by ex-Sargant Fury vocalist Mac. [2011: Mac left the band in c. 2008; he passed away in August 2011 -ed]

[This title was re-issued in a Special Edition version by InsideOut Music (IOMCD 083) and InsideOut Music America (IOMA 4018-2) in 2002]

Consume To Live (8:11) / Days of Dearth (5:26) / Sanity's End (10:21) / Paradox (7:15) / Surface To Air (10:14) / Mother Earth (5:52) / Siege Of Baghdad (7:44) / Keep It With Mine (2:27)

Damien Wilson - vocals
Karl Groom - guitar, bass pedals
Jon Jeary - bass, acoustic guitar, backing vocals
Tony Grinham - drums
Nick Midson - guitar
Richard West - keyboards, orchestration
Ian Salmon - acoustic guitar (7)

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: March 1st 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1700
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]