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Threshold | ‘Legends Of The Shires’

I thought I’d had enough of bloated double disc concept albums.

Frankly the last Dream Theater splurge was enough to put anyone off.

But I’ve had about eighteen months to recover from that: and now Threshold, always the bridesmaids but never the brides, return with their own.

These things are always a bit of a balancing act. Beautiful metal and soundscapes of depth and pace. But, usually, schlock lyrics about characters on quests that could have been penned by a spotty sixth former.

Threshold, thankfully, have delivered more of the former here.

At 83 minutes there’s a lot of it.

The return of vocalist Glynn Morgan is welcome, and his smooth delivery instantly harkens to Marillion’s Steve Hograth.

Disc One is consistently excellent.

The stomping ‘Small Dark Lines’ is a proper prog metal 80s workout of some considerable glory, while ‘The Man Who Saw Through Time’ and the head scratching ‘Trust The Process’ both expand the theme and the sonic palate.

It’s pretty much exactly what you want: eighties sounds, themes and dry ice atmosphere.

The Hammond organ Dream Theater motif abounds, as much peers using the same tools as any kind of sonic debt. I must say though I really dont understand how Skid Row’s most famous riff made it into ‘Stars And Satellites’ – how a legend of the shires marries to a youth gone wild, I really dont know. But there it is.

Disc Two doesnt deviate too much – but as you might suspect, perhaps its better to choose one over the other according to mood. This one seems a little darker, with some of the energy spent on the first.

‘State Of Independence’ has a bit of Scorpions in it, as a Big Ballad, but ‘Superior Machine’ brings the crunch back in.

Two discs is always going to be alot for anyone to stomach. I almost wish they’d gone even deeper into prog workouts at points, though – there’s an admirable focus on songcraft here, but given they’re playing to a fanbase who’d certainly indulge the odd tech-out here and there, it would have been nice to hear some more of their skillz.

Still, that was never quite the band they were.

They remain in the top flight of British prog though, and this is a most satisfying release. Too long, of course – but that’s a given with this genre.

Atmospheric, pleasant, affirmative and with good tunes referencing everything from Dream Theater to Marillion to Def Leppard. Try it: you might like it.

3.4 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 01/10/17

One Comment
  1. lost in translation and snowblind are brilliant. still not as good as march of progress though imo.

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