"Who We Are"

By Dr. Abner Mality

No sophomore curse for this hard-working local band. After listening to "Who We Are", I would say the days of being known strictly as a local or even regional band are behind Beyond Threshold. This record does everything a second record is supposed to a band maturing their style and developing their own sound.

There are a LOT of different influences to be heard here. Everything from early Metallica to Hatebreed to Deftones to classic metal to Lamb of God, it's all whipped up together into a sound where respect is given to metal forefathers but no slavish imitation is visible. Heaviness and anger prevail over all, but there are more melodic and sensitive moments as well. The record kicks off with an awesome thrashing hammerblow in "Never Again", where Erik Virgin's tortured scream introduces you to a world of hurt. The record as a whole is very good but it never reaches the powerful frenzy of this track again. Two more excellent thrash-oriented cuts are "First Blood" and "Bloodthirst". This latter song kind of reminds me of very early Metallica combined with a classic Priest/Maiden feel...good stuff all around!

Other cuts have a more modern, pounding kind of heaviness. "Justify The Means" and "Everchanging" are definitely more in the nu-metal mode but at least it's the real heavy kind of nu-metal and Todd Paluzzi's guitar solos are outstanding. This guy is a major league talent who can rip ass or indulge in something more bluesy and tempered. You can hear that side of the band on two ballads, "Downside" and "Stuck Inside", which are somewhat typical but done with such taste and emotion that you can forgive the lower intensity. This is really a multi-faceted piece of work, with every song demonstrating its own identity. That's not something you hear a lot of today, especially from younger bands. The last two cuts really show a varied, epic side to Beyond Threshold..."The Struggle" is a charging rhino while last cut "Overthrown" manages to mix powerful thrash, an almost Black Sabbath style doom riff and sensitive Deftones type ambience into a coherent whole.

Is the record perfect? No, there are some predictable breakdowns in a couple of tracks and sometimes the more melodic vocals sound awkward. The production is good but not outstanding. But really, you couldn't ask too much more from a modern metal record than this. These guys are gaining the ability to add fans across the board.