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Threshold - Clone CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.74 | 138 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars Threshold's 1998 album "Clone" is one of the better albums from the earlier period of the band. Right from the start it blazes with metal excellence on 'Freaks', one of the best songs on offer here. I especially like the Hammond sounds played so well by Richard West. Mac's vocals are certainly in fine for throughout, clean and easy to listen to so that we can pick up the concept of DNA cloning and the dangers therein.

The songs have a strong melody and are driven by hammering riffs, such as with 'Angels'. It is great how the time sig switches midway through and moves into a new feel. The wah- wah lead is welcome, played by Karl Groom. The keyboard finesse of Richard West is on display here, one of the best most creative songs on the album.

As usual on a Threshold album there are lengthy splashes of instrumentation on lead guitar and keyboard. One of the best examples is on the 8 minute 'The Latent Gene'. It has a melodic hook on vocals but is equally on song in the breaks. The lead guitar soars to the stratosphere, and then the song switches into a quick tempo. It switches gears a few times and holds the interest throughout. Lyrics are concentric on DNA tampering and the mantra is "my generation's lost its patience." 'Lovelorn' has a stirring lead guitar intro, segueing into clean guitar picking and gentle vocals; "I can look at you and move you physically, I'm not the only one I cannot be, how can I touch you when I feel that you would break". The tension and release of soft verses and raucous chorus is a trademark of Threshold. Then they flow into extended soloing, the lead guitar really sings along those sustained effusive keyboard chords. I like how a different guitar solo sound follows to augment the melancholy atmosphere. This is backed up beautifully by a third solo over the main riff; an absolutely wonderful song. 'Change' is a more commercial sounding power ballad with a strong lead break that lifts it up considerably. It is followed by 'Life's Too Good', with spacey intro, and a fistful of metal riffs. It is great how the sig speeds and slows down at will, and then moves into harmonics on guitar in the instrumental break.

I like the science fiction themes inherent in the trilogy at the end of the album. 'Goodbye To Mother Earth' begins quietly with clean guitar picking and atmospheric keys. This is followed by a platter of vociferous guitar riffs that power it along. The vocals come in bang on cue spouting on about "the tower of Babel is fallen from the sky" and "chemical weapons, the perfect inspection is out of your hands, under protection in enemy lands." The riff breaks eventually to make way for a gentle passage of ambient elegance. The lyrics are profound; "Goodbye mother earth, you're no longer free, can't you see your situation, no one's there to cover you for all the things that you forgot, soon you'll find there's not much time to go." The next section with duel speedy riffs on an odd sig has a Dream Theater feel. The keyboard solo is akin to Pink Floyd, and the tasty guitar dishes out wonderful fire. "You brood of vipers" we hear in the vocals reminiscent of Jesus' words to the religious zealots of the day. The anger is personified in the music, and then it settles into spaciness and segues into the next track seamlessly. 'Voyager II' opens with a barrage of guitar chords over speedy keyboard runs. Again it settles with gentle guitars to make room for Mac's vocals. The chorus bang the gavel down with thunderous guitars and vox. It moves to an organic keyboard solo, sounding like Rudess' Continuum sound. Groom's lead guitar is not far away and he launches into a fret melting flurry of notes. The ending has NASA control voice overs, and then an extended coda of majestic vox over colossal metal chords. This is an incredible song and drives the nail home as one of Threshold's masterpieces.

The closing track is 'Sunrise On Mars' seguing from the last track, and opening with a grand melody reminiscent of Pink Floyd. Mac sings, "never thought I'd fall from grace, it's hard to tell you why it hurts or how to make it go away, so far away." The melancholy feel of being down is present but the song injects hope that things will get better, "I will give you rest and I'll restore your soul for sunrise on Mars." The lead break is as usual beautifully executed, more like David Gilmour than anything else I have heard from Groom.

Overall this is another of the better Threshold albums, not in the masterpiece category but still wonderful prog metal. The album has a fantastic quality production and ends with three of the best, and in some ways I wish the whole album was as progressive without the excursions into more poppier ballads. I have found that Threshold tend to lapse into a mainstream sound which are okay songs, but they are certainly better suited to the longer songs where they can unleash the furious keyboard and guitar attacks.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |


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