Artist: Threshold 
   Title: Dead Reckoning
   Label: Nuclear Blast

'Dead Reckoning' is the eighth studio release and quite possibly the most anticipated release so far from Britain’s finest Progressive Metal band Threshold.  It's also their debut release on their new label Nuclear Blast.

Following the success of their highly acclaimed 2004 release 'Sub Surface', which was itself regarded by many as a masterpiece of the whole Progressive Metal genre and would be hard to top, the seemingly impossible has happened, the band have moved the goal posts once more and produced what has got to be one of the albums of the year for me if not THE album of the year.

Written and produced by original band members Karl Groom and Richard West, they together with Steve Anderson on bass, Johanne James on drums and the mighty vocals of Andrew ‘Mac’ McDermott, they have taken the Threshold name to whole new heights.

The album opens up with ‘Slipstream’ and immediately the splendour of the album is there for all to hear.  The band have gone for a heavier sound with this album, while still retaining that instantly recognisable Threshold sound, big guitars, huge keyboards and a thumping rhythm section and those pitch perfect vocals of Mac.

The heavier side of things continues on into the next track with ‘This Is Your Life’, another slice of pure Progressive Metal heaven with its thumping drums courtesy of James and with some fantastic soaring keyboards from West, but it’s the vocals of Mac that really bring this album to life for me, he has to be one of the finest British vocalists around today.

We return to the heavier vibe of the album with the crunching metal tones of 'Elusive'.  Although this track has a heavier edge to it, it's Threshold through and through, with Groom's distinctive guitar sound and West’s sometimes grandiose keyboard flurries that have become part and parcel of the whole Threshold sound.

'Hollow' is a track that wouldn’t have been out of place on the 'Sub Surface' album.  It has that haunting epic feel about it as Mac's vocals on this particular track are some of the finest on the album.  Things slow down a touch with the excellent 'Pilot In The Sky Of Dreams', this soaring piece of Prog Metal just has to be heard to be believed, as it starts off with Mac in solemn mode but slowly things build into a symphony of keys, guitars, bass and drums, with the glue that holds everything in place the vocals of Mac.

We return to the heavier vibe once more with futuristic tones of ‘Fighting For Breath’.  The mixing of a robotic voice mixed with Mac’s is so simple it's genius and with James hammering out a relentless back bone of drums, this is one of my favourite tracks off the album, as it covers the entire spectrum of the whole Threshold sound.

The album continues to impress as it grows into a veritable Progressive Monster of an album with the more gentle reposes of 'Disappear’ and the unforgettable melodic tones of 'Safe to Fly’.

The album closes with ’One Degree Down’, another superb track that once again goes down the heavier path, this time mixing in some more tender moments and some fantastic melody and tempo changes, a song which rounds off perfectly this totally immense album.  There's also to be a bonus track included on the digi-pack version of the album, a cover of Muse’s ‘Super Massive Black Hole’.

I can't find enough superlatives to describe how awesome (there's another one!) this is.  Hopefully the popularity of this album when it's released in March will get the band over to these shores for at least a mini tour so we can pay homage to them in the live arena.


Tracklisting:
 
 1. Slipstream
 2. This Is Your Life
 3. Elusive
 4. Hollow
 5. Pilot In The Sky Of Dreams
 6. Fighting For Breath
 7. Disappear
 8. Safe To Fly 
 9. One Degree Down
                   

 

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