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'European Journey'
(Nuclear Blast)
Out now

Ian Sutherland
ian sutherland


Progressive Metallers Threshold have somehow managed to become one of British Metal's best kept secrets. In a twenty five year career they have released a succession of excellent albums, developed a unique style that allows them to fit easily into Metal festivals, prog festivals and even hard rock festivals, been graced by two of the best English rock singers of recent times and become a killer live act.

Yet they still remain relative unknowns in their home islands. This is reflected in the title of this, their third widely available live release (there have been several made available to fans via their website but 2004's 'Critical Energy' was their last live 'label' album).

'European Journey' was recorded at various venues on a tour in 2014 that only included two UK dates.

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It is a crying shame that our European cousins have latched onto this band more than their home country has and listening to this album it is still mystifying. The musicianship is excellent all round, there are melodic hooks aplenty but huge amounts of ballsy guitar work and a rhythm section which can be as subtle as you like or drive the whole band on like they're possessed.

Damian Wilson is an accomplished front man and is one of the best rock or Metal singers around today, sounding great not just on the material from his times with the band but also doing justice to those originally sung by the late, lamented Andrew 'Mac' McDermott.

The song writing is very strong too and I would put the likes of 'Slipstream', 'Long Way Home', 'Watchtower On The Moon' and the totally epic 'Pilot In The Sky Of Dreams' up against anything released in this or any other genre in the last few years.

This being the 21st century live albums do not have the impact they used to do back in the 1970s; in my opinion that's mainly because most bands don't go out of their way to make the live versions of their songs different to the studio ones as they often did back then.

'European Journey' is the same in that respect and the differences are minimal in the songs here compared to their studio counterparts. You can hear Wilson's different but quality dynamics on the Mac era tunes and something of how much of a beast Johanne James is on his drumkit comes over in the heavier sections.

Outside of that this release really works as a live best of and captures the band right where they are at just now which is in a very good place musically.

If you have never got round to checking Threshold out then this is a very good place to start before perusing a back catalogue full of gems. If you are already a fan then this is worth picking up and enjoying but you won't get as excited about it as you will getting to see them in action live or when you get the next studio album.

Any UK promoters out there should give it a good listen though, surely there is room on the UK circuit for a quality band like this.

Line up:
• Karl Groom - guitars
• Damian Wilson - lead vocals
• Richard West - keyboards
• Johanne James - drums
• Steve Anderson - bass
• Pete Morten - guitars

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