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Threshold - Wounded Land CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.82 | 160 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Heavy Metal environmentalism!

Wounded Land is the debut album by Threshold and one of my earliest encounters with this band. My interest in the music of Threshold began when I heard Damian Wilson singing on Rick Wakeman's excellent Out There album and also on the very good DVD Live In Buenos Aires by Rick Wakeman's New English Rock Ensemble (despite a couple of slight vocal mistakes by Wilson there). I think that Damian Wilson's distinctive voice fits the music of both Rick Wakeman and Threshold very well. I have also recently been listening to Shadowland which is a Neo-Progressive band that Karl Groom, Threshold's leader and principal guitarist, was in together with Clive Nolan. And this reminded me of Threshold (that is, not the music but the fact that Karl Groom was involved). My first Threshold experience was, however, with their Extinct Instinct album, which was the second one they did with Wilson on vocals (third overall).

The music of Threshold is progressive and melodic Heavy Metal with much keyboards and good compositions. Both Karl Groom and Damian Wilson have connections also to the Neo-Progressive subgenre with membership in bands like Shadowland and Landmarq respectively. This will naturally lead you to expect that Threshold's music is related to Neo-Prog which indeed is not far off the mark. Fans of bands like Arena, Pallas, and Galahad should definitely check out the Damian Wilson-fronted Threshold albums. However, Threshold is clearly more Metal than those very good Neo-Prog bands and the songs here are mostly based on heavy guitar riffs with symphonic keyboards. Black Sabbath is just as relevant as a reference but Threshold is more melodic than the founders of Heavy Metal. The lead guitar work is very good and is the primary instrument for solos, but there are also very good keyboard solos.

The concept behind Wounded Land is environmentalist and I must admit that I am not at all in agreement with the naive political stance expressed in the lyrics here. But regardless of what we think about the environmentalist ideology, we should agree that it is not very successful when it is transformed into Rock lyrics! The lyrics here are full of clichés of the supposed conflict between man and nature, how we pollute the environment, etc. The lyrics often come across as naïve and childish. It is, for example, very hard for me to take lyrics like "will rich men eat their money when they've killed the world stone dead?" and "he [i.e. man] makes big generators chewing up the atmosphere" seriously! This is sad, since the compositions are mostly very strong as are the vocal and instrumental talents. If you can ignore the lyrics, which was hard for me initially, you are in for an enjoyable ride!

While Extinct Instinct is Threshold's masterpiece and my favourite album by them, Wounded Land is very good also! I initially gave only three stars, but have come to the conclusion that this deserves an extra star. Recommended for all fans of the lighter side of Prog-Metal and the heavier side of Neo-Prog.

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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