I remember the awestruck moment when first hearing the “Legends Of The Shires” opus earlier this year. Several spins later, once I had more or less regained my composure, it struck me that this is an album that’s meant to be enjoyed as one holistic unit so choosing which songs to include in the band’s set-lists would go against the whole spirit of the work. (“Legends….” Is a concept album about someone’s life journey and all the aspirations and regrets that mark the way.)
Anyway, it seems the band shares my view because in the autumn of 2018, Threshold embarked on a European tour during which they played through the album in its entirety. The London date on which this review is based was in fact the last date of that tour.
Opening for Threshold were 2 bands that were almost totally new to me. So, enjoy a great Prog Rock band and discover new talent….that sound like an excellent plan. What could possibly go wrong?
And sure enough nothing did go wrong. Starting from Maxxwell, a band from Switzerland that play a groovy strain of Melodic Hard Rock. If the songs on Maxxwell’s set-list were played by another band, I’d probably doze off due to their generic nature. The Swiss quintet, however, really brought the material to life and all the band had an excellent stage presence with the singer doing his best to build a rapport with the audience.
Predictably enough, almost all the songs performed were taken from the band’s recent “Metalized” album. Maxxwell’s material is quite different from that of the headliners, it’s certainly more direct, so I was pleasantly surprised to see how the audience lapped it all up and cheered at various moments of the set. Basically the band played its heart out and reaped the rewards.
Before Maxxwell hit the stage I sat down in their touring bus for a quick word with Cyril Montavon and Adrian Müller, respectively the band’s rhythm guitarist and bass guitarist. Listen to what they told me….
Hailing from Greece, The Silent Wedding made a lasting impression on me. It was no surprise that I spotted a few audience members wearing Kamelot shirts because their music does appeal to the same fanbase – it’s a sort of heavy and dark Power Prog with conspicuous keyboards. Having a dynamically-rich music, in fact, gave the performance of The Silent Wedding an added element of drama.
‘Loneliness’ was a heavy and powerful song that was executed particularly well. It followed a number called ‘Catharsis’, which was more of a darkly atmospheric number. Ironically, ‘Loneliness’ proved to be a catharsis for the audience following its more sombre predecessor. On the whole, the set-list seemed to be very well put together…..riffs, solos, instrumental parts, catchy refrains….everything seemed to be placed in the set in such a way as to keep the audience’s attention throughout the show.
Fronting the band, Marios Karanastasis proved to have a phenomenal and unique voice so it was a real pity that he seemed somewhat lacking in stage confidence. Besides Kamelot, I sensed distant elements of Symphony X and Rhapsody in what I was hearing. All in all, it was an excellent show.
Listen to Marios Karanastasis, as he takes a quick peek into the band’s recent past and near future:
I had high hopes for Threshold’s performance but even those were surpassed. From my point of view, Threshold created a musical utopia where lay an ideal balance between melody, heaviness, technique, thematic intrigue and blatant entertainment.
All the band members had opportunities to shine through. For example lead vocalist Glynn Morgan didn’t hit one dud note, at least not to my ears, and his ear for melody proved to be impeccable. Drummer Johannes James was ever so reliable and the interaction between keyboardist Richard West and guitarist Karl Groom felt very instinctive. Also bass player Richard Anderson had an excellent night, especially in numbers such as ‘Snowblind’ and ‘Small Dark Lines’. Of course it helped that the compositions the band was collectively delivering were fertile pastures for expressivity.
It is not uncommon that Prog fans exhibit a passionate enthusiasm for the music they love and tonight was no exception. There were several moments when the crowd joined in to sing some refrain or another or to chant along with some melody. From their part, the Threshold members seemed really pleased with the audience’s warmth.
Before you knew it the “Legends…” had flown by but before they vacated the stage, Threshold regaled The Dome with ‘Pressure’ and ‘Slipstream’, much to the audience’s boisterous gratitude.
Not just ‘Legends of the Shires’, simply legends. Period.