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.
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
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!