The last couple of years have proven to be a mixed bag for UK prog-metal stalwarts Threshold. The release of 2014’s For The Journey (Nuclear Blast) saw an increased vibrancy with their strongest album for quite some time and with it, an increased spotlight breaching past their cult following. Ever victims of the revolving door of members, however, saw significant changes in band personnel, with guitarist Pete Morden leaving and the shocking departure of talismanic vocalist Damien Wilson (replaced by one-time vocalist Glyn Morgan) potentially providing stumbling blocks. That they have responded with a double album, near conceptual piece in Legends Of The Shires (Nuclear Blast) shows at the very least they hadn’t run out of ideas, and that they certainly haven’t lost any of their mojo as a result.
Despite its daunting length of nearly one and a half hours, Legends… is a surprisingly accessible effort with instantly memorable song writing complete with soaring melodies and arena rock like choruses aplenty. Recognised for their strong vocalists who can carry such moments and equally match the band’s diversity, Morgan proves a tremendous fit, and a case that his tenure should last significantly longer than previous; leading the punchier likes of lead single ‘Small Dark Lines’ as well as the album’s moodier parts such as long player ‘The Man Who Saw Through Time’. Throughout the album there is a dynamic of moods and paces which all members masterfully transition through with aplomb as it takes from pacey metallic parts through melancholy ridden softness and even 80’s style arena rock influence; all while still retaining accessibility.
A drawback is that it doesn’t always feel like it warrants its duration, where many songs hit great length due to technical showcases that don’t completely elevate proceedings whatsoever, but for the most part this is a minor criticism on what is otherwise a bold effort with rich diversity and strong songwriting.
It won’t convert naysayers by any stretch, but those accustomed to more Proggy territory will find a rewarding and not too taxing listen.