Location: Surrey, England
Genre: Progressive Rock/Metal
Released: September 19, 2014
Format Reviewed: FLAC
Feature: Global Conquest: Recent Releases
By: Kris Kotlarik
If you read the Star One review and thought this was the last you would be hearing from any of their members for a while, you have been misled. To be fair, Threshold’s newest release caught me off guard, as I had not heard any news of it being released until, well, after it was released.
At times, Damian Wilson, one of the lead vocalists for Star One, sounds surprisingly similar to Blind Guardian‘s Hansi Kursch, and this is apparent from the uptempo opener, “Watchtower On The Moon.” It’s a nice track with some occasional shades of Coheed and Cambria and has some of the synth and guitar riffs that made Star One take flight. But if you don’t like Hansi, you have been warned. Damian has a much less raspy voice, but the similarities are striking. I’m probably going to take some flak for this comparison, but I am saying this in a complementary way, as I am fond of both vocalists.
The next track, “Unforgiven,” is much slower and starts with an extremely corny “Mirror, mirror…” line that I really would have liked to avoid. Picture, if you will, “New World Order” from Shadow Gallery’s Tyranny, but without any of the emotion and raw energy that makes that particular track special. There’s a nice, energetic guitar solo at the end, but it fades out anticlimactically and drops into “The Box,” which begins with a simple piano melody (but not as forced and boring as Rihanna’s “Stay.” That song is truly terrible). This track is the longest on the album by far, clocking in at twelve minutes.
After a lengthy but fiery movie sample, the tempo gets pushed up a notch. The chorus to this track sounds like the one from the opener, which is a staple in Threshold’s sound. The tempo slows down and the Damian Wilson layering is turned up to 11. Even if the chorus is a little overdone, this is a solid track with a variety of sections to keep the listener interested.
What follows is “Turned To Dust,” an industrial mid-paced chugga tune that feels out of place with Wilson’s vocals. “Autumn Red,” on the other hand, has a lot going for it. It takes the precedent set by “Turned To Dust” and spins it into a much more effective track with some solid riffs and melody changes. The closer, “Siren Sky,” is another midtempo chugger that I would rank in between these two tracks. It has some of the heaviest riffs and easily the heaviest drum patterns in bursts. There is a sample at about the five-minute mark that completely sucks the flow out of the song, and the remaining minute comes across as overcompensating for those lost five seconds.
“Lost In Your Memory” starts much like “The Box” does, but doesn’t have the buildup and payoff that the aforementioned track does. The melancholic solo towards the end of the track is nice but doesn’t redeem it. “The Mystery Show,” in spite of having the same chorus that is all over this record, is the best of the slower tracks, with an intriguingly haunting introduction, fantastic piano-guided bridge section, and a nifty solo.
As for the bonus track, “I Wish I Could,” it’s quite different from the rest of the album, featuring variations of most of the tracks that are on here. It’s as if the band decided to take all the good aspects of For The Journey that worked and threw them all on one track. I’m not sure if it works in a cohesive sense, but there’s a different, unique sound that is a refreshing change of pace.
Overall: While this is a decent effort, it feels too “safe.” The chorus from any one song could easily be placed in most other tracks.
Top tracks: Autumn Red, The Mystery Show, Watchtower On The Moon, I Wish I Could