Threshold Islington Academy 20-11-14
First up was Greek 5 piece The Silent Wedding who played a 5 song set that went down well with the crowd . Playing a heavy prog with plenty of time changes lets just say that their cover of Savatage's " Gutter Ballet " fitted in very well .
Next up was the more straight ahead metal of Italian 5 piece Overtures . Focussing on songs from the 2013 release " Entering The Maze " they kicked up a storm with songs of the quality of " Saviour " and " The Oracle " led by vocalist Michele Guiatoli . Lead guitarist Adriano Crasnich excelled on every song with some stunning lead breaks that showed he could shred but always with a melodic edge to his style . Very good.
I adore Threshold pure and simple . With their latest release " For The Journey " they have managed to keep up a level of high quality studio material that gets better every time and I have said it before they should be huge .
With a career that now stretches back 21 years it still amazes me that a band so good are still playing clubs . They are my guilty pleasure and it feels every time I see them that it is a small exclusive band of fans that have got it and we still await everyone else to catch up .
With it being their largest London headline show to date it was great to see a very healthy sized crowd present .
Just as they were about to come on vocalist and larger than life frontman Damian Wilson came out and next thing is in the crowd with us shaking hands and thanking us all for coming . Over the course of the next near 2 hour set that became a theme!!
Here is what they played.
Liberty Complacence Dependancy
Siege Of Baghdad
Part Of The Chaos
Lost in Your Memory
Watchtower On The Moon
Pilot In The Sky Of Dreams
Encore of Ashes
After a European tour that had seem them play 17 shows previous to this it was obvious from the start that the band were so tight . The rhythm team of Richard West on keys,Steve Anderson in bass and the quite fantastic Johanne James on drums lay down a near telepathic layer that let's the guitar duo of Karl Groom and Pete Morten riff and also play some of the best solo's around .
Pete especially seems so much more relaxed than the last time they toured and some of the solo's on the cd that sound like Karl's were actually Pete who excelled with a melodic tone that cut through Karl's riffs.
I have said it before but will repeat Johanne James is the hardest hitting drummer on the planet . How his kit stands up to a 2 hour bashing is beyond me? His fills and his dexterous playing mean you struggle to take your eyes off him.
My front row spot was picked to watch one of my favourite guitarists and Karl Groom did not let me down. He can play fast , slow and every solo tells a story . Always fitting the song and such a wonderful tone and you feel understated and every pair of eyes in the house was on him for every solo . The man should be a household name but after a career of over 20 years he seems happy with that .
Lastly Damian Wilson. Since his return to the band he has gone from strength to strength not only vocally but stage presence too . He hit every high note and worked the crowd at all times joining us on many occasions . He stood on the front barrier which was only a few centimetres wide with us holding onto his ankles and at one point handed me his microphone which I didn't use! Before Pilot he split the crowd into 2 down the middle into as he put it a wall of death . Then sang the song to the 2 halves .Quite brilliant .
The songs . For me they could play all night and with a 10 album catalogue of songs it is getting more and more difficult.
" Slipstream " had heads banging and fists in the air and is a perfect opener.
This tour had seen the debut of " The Hours " from the March Of Progress cd . Huge riffs pounding drums and a vocal from Damian that peaks with the chorus and a solo from Karl that was superb .
" LCD " is an epic song with another Karl solo that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention.
" Siege of Baghdad " from the debut cd is now over 20 years old and Damian introduced it with the the words amazing how it is still relevant all these years later and showed the more prog leanings of the older material.
The new songs from the magnificent " For The Journey " cd all slipped in like a dream ." Unforgiven " took the pace down a shift and the only real slower song of the night
" Lost In Your Memory " had Damian excelling on the vocal at the start of the song .
First single " Watchtower On The Moon " was greeted like a long lost friend and had the place jumping . Johanne drove the song which has a huge riff and chorus and could have slipped on any of the last few cd's .
After a wonderful epic " Pilot In The Sky Of Dreams " not many bands could top that but Threshold did with the song of the year.
" The Box " .
A 10 minute song that has many parts. From a soft vocal beginning, to a huge riff , to a drum rhythm from the gods, to a wonderful guitar solo all the way back to a soft vocal end .It was spellbinding in so many ways . I love songs with light and shade that builds and falls and the as they all crash in it is twice as heavy . My eyes were on stalks trying to take it all in . Every time I hear it I pick up on a vocal melody , a guitar riff or solo part and the rhythm team lay down a groove that few can match.
Simply phenomenal . Jaw dropping .
If that had been it we would have gone home happy as we had seen perfection.
They did return for a romp through " Ashes " from the last cd that was a perfect end to a perfect evening.
Damian joined us to thank us all for coming and words fail me to sum it up.
Simply one of the best bands on the planet in any genre .
If the rest of the world doesn't get it I am happy that I do because gigs this good in a smaller venue are hard to beat .