November 24, 2022
Photo: Robert Burress

We should all know the name by now but, for the uninitiated, Threshold is the premier progressive metal band in the UK and apologies to all those other most excellent British prog metal bands but Threshold always had and always will have the edge over the competition. There are now so many prog metal bands in the world and all add something special to the genre but, in my humble opinion, Threshold is the only band that rivals Dream Theater and Queensrÿche although bands like Shadow Gallery and Enchant come very close to joining this exclusive list. You may gather that I am a fan and I’m proud to carry the banner for this excellent band having come across them way back in the early days of the UK’s Classic Rock Society and every gig they ever played for the CRS was a special and unique occasion.

Of course, the band is now much changed from those heady, early days that began back in 1988 with several changes already happening before the release of the stunning debut album Wounded Land in 1993. The line-up for this auspicious release saw the one and only Damian Wilson taking over vocal duties from Jon Jeary who then switched to bass with guitarists Karl Groom and Nick Midson making a formidable team with Richard West on keyboards and Tony Grinham on drums. Wounded Land really was a game changer and with Damian at the helm superstardom beckoned but the gods of rock are fickle with Wilson unable to reprise his role for the second album, Psychedelicatessen, in 1994. However, this opened the door for the truly sensational Glynn Morgan to make his mark with the band and what a statement he made as you only need to check out the track Innocent which is perhaps the greatest four-minute metal track of all time! The revolving door then turned again with Morgan making room for the return of Wilson with Extinct Instinct in 1997 with Morgan and drummer Jay Micciche going on to form the hard-hitting metal band Mindfeed. Drummer Johanne James joined Threshold on tour in support of Extinct Instinct (eventually joining on a permanent basis in 2001) and, with Damian Wilson’s star in the ascendency, he was again unavailable for the following album, Clone in 1998, which led to ex-Sargant Fury vocalist Andrew ‘Mac’ McDermott’s taking Wilson’s place. Mac retained the front man’s position for several albums with 2007’s Dead Reckoning being his last due to tragically passing away in 2011 having succumbed to kidney failure but leaving a great legacy with his work with Threshold, and we will always remember him.

The band once again recruited Damian Wilson in 2007 and with the departure of Nick Midson the same year meant that most of the original team had moved on leaving Karl Groom as the longest serving member having joined in 1988. The soap opera that is Damian Wilson was still not finished though as he recorded March of Progress and For The Journey in 2012 and 2014 respectively before leaving the band yet again in 2017. It seems that Wilson and the band have that ‘can’t live with them, can’t live without them’ relationship but regardless of the politics Threshold does seem to be a different band with Wilson on the microphone. It also appears that the band likes what it knows, and it was with a fanfare that the return of Glynn Morgan was announced with Threshold releasing, perhaps, its most daring, ambitious and definitely most progressive album in 2017’s Legends Of The Shires. Sometimes groups really do struggle when they change singers and there is always a period when the new man is settling in but changing the frontman is something that Threshold has done so many times now and the band has always bounced back bigger, stronger and heavier and it is no longer a concern about who holds the microphone as it is the band that is of the utmost importance. I’m sure that we will also see the return of Damian Wilson at some stage, but the current singer is Glynn Morgan, and his version of Threshold is a spectacular beast that delivers on all fronts!

So, we now quickly skip 5-years with the release of the band’s 12th album with Dividing Lines again featuring Morgan on vocals and it is an album destined to delight all progressive metal fans and will most definitely get the seal of approval from Threshold fans old and new. The band has built upon the wonderful direction that Legends Of The Shires took them in but also incorporates the core Threshold sound that has stood them so well over the years with many of the wonderful moments experienced on Psychedelicatessen again added to the band’s sound and direction. I have always been impressed by Morgan the singer and guitarist and you really should check out Mindfeed too to see that this guy is a special talent but so are all the guys in the band and in Karl Groom they have one of the UK’s greatest guitarists and his interaction with Morgan is breath taking. Long-time keyboard player Richard West is a delight and this new album features some of his finest work ever and with the one and only Johanne James on drums and Steve Anderson on bass the band has an engine room that very few can match.

If you are still reading this then I guess you already know all about the band and their amazing brand of progressive metal that is forever evolving and this continues with Dividing Lines. The album is dark, moody and magnificent with spectacular vocals and plenty of amazing harmonies throughout with Karl Groom controlling affairs perfectly without ever over-stepping the mark and keeping to his trademark less is more principles. The songs are redolent with atmosphere and technical complexity and is, paradoxically, both simple and complex such is the duality of the music that Threshold revels in. The record features two epics in The Domino Effect and Defence Condition and the band seems to revel in the slightly longer song format which allows them to showcase the skills and prowess that they possess but all remains in perfect and ever so fluid control.

This could be the best Threshold album to date with the material here destined to feature in live sets for a long time to come. I love Damian Wilson but there is something so right about a Glynn Morgan led Threshold, buy, listen and revel in progressive metal at its finest.

Dividing Lines

  1. Haunted (5:05)
  2. Hall of Echoes (6:17)
  3. Let It Burn (6:49
  4. Silenced (4:36)
  5. The Domino Effect (11:03)
  6. Complex (5:49)
  7. King of Nothing (5:07)
  8. Lost Along the Way (5:20)
  9. Run (3:59)
  10. Defence Condition (10:42)