THRESHOLD – “Dividing Lines”
By Colonel Angus
THRESHOLD is a band that I discovered when I was still collecting Kerrang! Magazine and Metal Hammer. Back then I would see advertisements and reviews and in some cases, I would take a chance on just those two factors. There was no Youtube to check out a band so you either heard it somewhere or you rolled the dice and hoped you found a gem. THRESHOLD’s “Hypothetical” was my first foray into this band and while I wasn’t a mega-fan, I enjoyed their releases since.
I have also enjoyed their progression throughout the years and each vocalist has brought a new sound to their records. Andrew McDermott, while not the most technical vocalist, had style that fir the music perfectly. That being said, Glynn Morgan is my favorite and he really shines on “Dividing Lines”. Just grab a listen to “Let it Burn” to hear a great example of his vocal prowess. Their last release “Legends of the Shires” was really good but with most two disk sets, there was material that could have been omitted and we could have gotten a great single disk album. I feel they must have realized that sometimes less is more because “Dividing Lines” showcases songs that are edited down to just the necessary parts. Prog metal can get lost in its own prog-ness by focusing more on showing off musical chops and making the song an afterthought. THRESHOLD have always managed to keep the focus on the song and message while still showing their respective skills.
The album’s focal track (in my humble opinion) is the eleven minute “The Domino Effect” which incorporates many parts along with some amazing guitar work. There are aspects of this track that remind me of a mix of ENCHANT and KANSAS with some DREAM THEATER thrown in for good measure. While I could go on about that one song, the rest of the disk is just as good. “Complex”, “King of Nothing”, and the previously mentioned “Let it Burn” all have that classic riffing (yet extremely melodic) that THRESHOLD is known for. I also really enjoy the little elements that the band uses to meld in within their own sound like in “Lost Along the Way” where the chorus has a very ASIA feel. While I feel that “Dividing Lines” is best when listened to as a whole, other tracks that stand out are “Run”, “Hall of Echoes”, and album closer "Defence Condition" which also takes us on a journey through prog nirvana.
The band has gone through some line-up changes over the years and for “Dividing Lines”, we still have the core members of Karl Groom (guitars), Richard West (keyboards), and Johanne James (drums). Steve Anderson (bass) has been with the band for the better part of two decades and Glynn Morgan (vocals) who returned after many years to record this and the previous album. I have to admit that making the vocal switch back to Morgan has reinvigorated my interest in the band and I feel these last two records (but especially “Dividing Lines”) have shown me that THRESHOLD have a lot more material in them.