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Threshold - Psychedelicatessen CD (album) cover

PSYCHEDELICATESSEN

Threshold

 

Progressive Metal

3.55 | 130 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Intervention

Having recently reviewed albums by the Neo-Prog band Shadowland, I was reminded of Threshold because of the presence of guitarist Karl Groom in both these bands. Groom is (I discovered just now), however, not the only member these bands have in common. Also drummer Nick Herradence was a member of both these bands. But despite this overlap in terms of personnel, anyone looking for musical connections between the two bands would be hard pressed to find any on this album. Comparing Psychedelicatessen with Shadowland's Through The Looking Glass (that was released the very same year and involves both Groom and Herradence) the difference in musical style and approach is striking. The Neo-Prog tendencies that were displayed on Threshold's excellent debut album (and to some extent also on the band's third album Extinct Instinct) are almost wholly absent here on Psychedelicatessen. The present album is Threshold's heaviest and least melodic album. (It is absolutely not Psychedelic despite the title!). So far so good, I like heavy, and dislike overly melodic metal.

Psychedelicatessen is quite different from the rest of Threshold's albums. Comparing it to the two albums that surrounded it, Wounded Land and Extinct Instinct, it is indeed not entirely out of place to wonder if this really is the same band! One major factor here is that both of these two other albums had Damian Wilson on vocals, while Psychedelicatessen is the sole Threshold album with Glynn Morgan handling those duties. While not as distinctive as Wilson, Morgan is a fine vocalist that does a good job here. But the vocals is not the only thing that sets Psychedelicatessen apart from Wounded Land and Extinct Instinct. As I have said, this one is quite a bit heavier and has much less of the Neo-Progressive tendencies of those albums.

However, though perhaps less overtly progressive, Psychedelicatessen is still a good album. It takes longer to get into compared to other Threshold albums, and with every listen I'm enjoying it a bit more. It sometimes reminds me of Black Sabbath's 90's albums, particularly Cross Purposes that was released the same year. The music is riff-based and the solos and instrumental breaks alternate between guitar and keyboards. They obviously know how to play their instruments! But despite their talents, they often come across as slightly anonymous on this album. The sound they produce lacks a strong identity of its own.

There is a decent balance between aggressive and mellow moments and between riffs, melodies and instrumental work outs. Under The Sun is a pleasant Symphonic ballad based on piano, acoustic guitar and some flute-like keyboards and as such stands out from the other songs. There are no songs that stand out as great, but there is also nothing weak here. I would not recommend starting your investigation of Threshold with this album. Both Wounded Land and particularly Extinct Instinct offer a lot more progressive value.

Recommended, but not the place to begin

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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