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Articles Home » 2004 Articles » Threshold - 2004 Subsurface
Threshold - 2004 Subsurface

ARTIST: Threshold
ALBUM: Subsurface
LABEL: Inside Out
SERIAL: 6 93723 60872 3
YEAR: 2004


LINEUP: Andrew 'Mac' McDermott - vocals * Karl Groom - guitars * Nick Midson - guitars * Steve Anderson - bass * Richard West - keyboards * Johanne James - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Mission Profile * 02 Ground Control * 03 Opium * 04 Stop Dead * 05 The Art Of Reason * 06 Pressure * 07 Flags And Footprints * 08 Static * 09 The Destruction Of Words


My first run-in with this band was their 1993 album 'Wounded Land'. Moving onward some ten plus years later, the band are now at the pinnacle of their powers, though sounding quite different from those early days. Gone are the fluffy high-spirited progressive rock leanings in favour of a leaner metallized approach. No excess here, nor a gazillion time changes as befitting a band in the prog genre (Dream Theater anyone?). You could tell the proof was in the pudding on Threshold's last couple of albums. 'Hypothetical' and 'Critical Mass' both were tremendous efforts, and to have a third album following so soon after adds to an exceptional triumvirate! Unlike their previous efforts, 'Subsurface' manages to keep the listener intact from start to finish. Vocalist Mac sounds great here. His vocal harmonies enrich what is already a super saccharin/syrupy mix of melodic prog metal.

The Songs
'Mission Profile' is our lead-off point. A magnificent and catchy track that talks about the abuse of power and corruption. I wonder who this was aimed at? Anyone like to take a guess? In any case, a great introduction to 'Subsurface'. 'Ground Control' features some hair-metal riffing from Groom and Midson, though the track does go through some face changes during its seven minute running time. Next up 'Opium' is mainly subdued though has a brooding power throughout. 'Stop Dead' has similar elements, a lighter affair by comparison and the track does walk through a couple of rooms that are becalmed. The signature piece on 'Subsurface' is the ten minute opus 'The Art Of Reason'. This could be an opportunity for the band to do the self-indulgent thing, but thankfully they don't. Moving into 'Pressure', this one is full of staccato parts, the keyboard segments from Richard West and the dexterous drumming from Johanne James hold it all together. Taking the edge off preceeding's is the (sort-of) ballad 'Flags And Footprints', it's followed by the metal-oriented 'Static', the riffs and solos transport us into HM territory. The album closer 'the Destruction Of Words' is a shifting sound-scape with intelligence imbued in the lyrics. the bonus track 'What About Me' is slightly different in feel, not a casual Threshold track by any means.. this one written by the drummer Johanne James.

In Summary
For an hours worth of listening, this is guaranteed to be a good hour invested. Certainly many of the rock media took this album to heart during 2004, with it being voted one of the best albums of the year. The band have been out of action for a few years, but will return in 2007 with a new album 'Dead Reckoning' and a new label Nuclear Blast. Can't wait..

Related Articles
Threshold - 1993 Wounded Land
Threshold - 1995 Livedelica (EP)
Threshold - 2002 Critical Mass
Threshold - 2004 Subsurface
Threshold - 2007 Dead Reckoning

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