Threshold are one of the best bands coming out of the United Kingdom progressive metal scene at present and are a global force to be reckoned with. This is Threshold's first recording for the Nuclear Blast label, after they jumped ship from Inside Out following the conclusion of their contractual obligations.
Unquestionably, a sad day for Inside Out, as the label has lost one of their pivotal players, but the Nuclear Blast team must be dancing in the streets with their latest signing by this hugely popular band.
After listening to `Dead Reckoning' for the first time, it did not quite capture my attention compared to some of their previous releases. This certainly is not a bad thing, as experience predicts that after repetitive listens then unusually the magical essence of the music will be revealed.
This certainly was the case with `Dead Reckoning' as the Threshold hallmark sound is still stamped all over this release. It strongly resembles their previous work mainly from the `Subsurface' era; however at no stage does it get mind numbing or repetitive with Karl Groom and his cohorts having upped the ante by sharpening their song writing skills. Every song sounds fresh and invigorating and there is not a weak track that can be found on `Dead Reckoning'.
The keyboards of Richard West are still there, softening the heavy guitars of Karl Groom and Andrew `Mac' MacDonald's vocals are reserved, yet possessing very strong and emotive choruses. The stylistic and hypnotic drumming of Johanne James is inspirational along with Steve Anderson's bass work is right up in the mix, delivering right on target. Though musically, this new release seems to be heavier and darker than the previous efforts, the whole atmosphere is very inspiring and full of feeling and just typical of what Threshold are about.
On two of the tracks, `Slipstream' and `Elusive' the band has done something they have never attempted to do previously. They have utilized the services of Swedish musical genius Dan Swanö to incorporate a few death metal vocal lines into the chorus, and this has been done to startling effect. The band Kamelot did a similar thing on the `Black Halo' release by using black metal stalwart, Shagrath to incorporate some rough vocals to the track, `March of Mephisto' and this proved very popular for the band.
Some of the inspirational tracks are the brilliant `Pilot in the Sky of Dreams' with this being the centrepiece of the album and probably also the stand out track. On this track, there are recurring melodies, fantastic vocal harmonies, tasteful riffs, beautiful chorus that repeats throughout, something that many ten-minute epics seem to lack.
The opening track, `Slipstream' has a blinding riff with greatly driven verses adding a slightly more ethereal chorus to add a great dimension to the track. Then there is `Hollow' even brings back memories of Subsurface to an extent, both lyrically and musically.
There is a Muse cover version at the end of the album titled `Supermassive Black Hole' and as Threshold have done the original proud. Another solid release from one of the purveyors of this genre and I would encourage anyone that is a fan of the band to obtain a copy, as there are many musical soundscapes to explore on `Dead Reckoning'.