Power of Metal.dk Review

For the Journey
Style: Progressive Metal
Release date: 19 September, 2014
Playing time: 49:27 (Standard Edition)

I've been a Threshold fan since 1994 and the album "Psychedelicatessen". Since then the band have gone through many lineup changes, with guitarist Karl Groom and keyboardist Richard West being the mainstays. The main reason the sound has remained intact is because they are also the primary songwriters.

The band has gone through so much over the years that they could have a rockumentary done about them. The toughest moment had to be the death of long time vocalist Andrew "Mac" McDermott. Mac had left the band suddenly before the tour to support 2007's "Dead Reckoning." Original vocalist Damian Wilson returned to the band for a third stint. The touring band for that album was rounded out by long time drummer Johanne James, nimble-fingered bassist Steve Anderson and multi-talented guitarist Pete Morten (My Soliloquy). This lineup recorded the album "March of Progress" in 2012.

Why the long history? The lineup that recorded that album is the same one on "For the Journey." Like a new band, this second album for this lineup is a big step forward. "March of Progress" was a bit inconsistent, in my opinion. There were some VERY strong tracks like "Ashes," "The Hours," "Coda" and "Divinity." The last two were contributed by new guitarist Pete Morten. "The Hours" was co-written by Steve Anderson. Why does this matter? Main songwriters Groom and West just didn't seem to be on their game. But now with "For the Journey," Groom and West are back and as great as ever.

The album starts off with the first single/video "Watchtower on the Moon," which reminds me of other classic Threshold openers like "Sunseeker" and "Slipstream." The chorus is strong and the riff is killer. Lyrically, it's about being so obsessive about things in life that you distance yourself from the people around you. "For the Journey" is all about pointing the finger inward instead of outward. One of the reasons I really enjoy this album is because of the lyrical concept of self analysis. "Unforgiven" has a slower, more menacing vibe. Lyrically it's about how hard it can be to admit you are wrong. The lyrics fit the music perfectly. It has a Dream Theater tone and is one of my favorite songs on the album. The third track is the epic of the album, "The Box," which reminds me of "Narcissus" or "Into the Light" -- two of my favorite Threshold tracks. It's the biggest song on the album and it raises one very important question: "What is inside the box?" "Turned to Dust" is a great driving track, a standard for Threshold and a song that will go over well in a live format.

Next up, the power ballad "Lost In Your Memory." It has everything a slower Threshold song has: quiet verses, big choruses. It would make an excellent single/video. "Autumn Red" is part of the symbolic use of the seasons that Threshold has used all the way back to "Flags and Footprints," a classic. It's another GREAT track and a favorite of mine. "The Mystery Show" is maybe the most interesting song on "For the Journey" because, while it's a ballad of sorts, it's also a very dark-sounding track. "Welcome to the mystery show."

The climax of the album is "Siren Sky," Pete Morten's lone contribution but WHAT a contribution! The song is so epic, with an orchestra in the middle. It is easily my favorite track. This shows that having another writer in the band just adds another weapon to their arsenal. "Siren Sky" closes the album is such dramatic fashion that it pushes "For The Journey" to ranking among the best Threshold have ever done.

The deluxe edition includes a bonus track written by Johanne James. I have not heard it yet but I will be the first person lined up when it comes out.

"For the Journey" stacks up with the best albums that Threshold has recorded over the years, like "Hypothetical" or "Subsurface." It is definitely a huge step up from "March of Progress" and it should be since the band has now officially jelled. I hope this lineup sticks together for a while. If you are a fan of the band, you will be pleased. Highest possible recommendation for this album!

01. Watchtower on the Moon
The Box
Turned to Dust
Lost in Your Memory
Autumn Red
The Mystery Show
Siren Sky
Label: Nuclear Blast
Distribution: Sony Music (Denmark)
Artwork rating: 96/100
Reviewed by: Rob Pociluk
Date: 14 September 2014
Website: www.thresh.net