Threshold are one of Britain’s longest-serving progressive metal bands, with a history that stretches back to the late 80s. Threshold’s website is very keen to sell their new album as a resurgence for the band, a return to the studio after five years of silence with “the longest but yet most diversified release of the band’s entire career”. It’s clear that the band see this album as a chance to condense the lessons of their career into a definitive album that will conquer the airwaves and catapult them towards the dominant position of Dream Theater. Unfortunately, March Of Progress suffers from the most unforgivable sin of all in music – blandness.
My key problem with March Of Progress is that I can tell that the songs were put together and performed by people who knew what they were doing, but those songs don’t interest me in the slightest. Drab verses lead to weak choruses which lead to uninspiring solos. The singing isn’t much cop either; Damian Wilson can hold a tune reasonably enough, but his vocals sound sterile, like they’ve spent too long in various effects packages and lost the emotion that they were initially imbued with. The band didn’t really need to boast of this being the band’s longest release, either – you’ll definitely notice the 70 minutes of various mid-tempo tracks crawling by. The album really suffers for not having even one track that really grabs the listener. Just one song with enough speed or power to break the procession of so-so tracks would do wonders for this album’s listenability; the album as it is just comes off as monotonous and hard to pay attention to. ‘The Rubicon’ is a clear example of this: it starts off promisingly enough, but I doubt that you’ll still be feeling good about the song ten minutes later when it finishes.
March Of Progress isn’t a completely negative experience – ‘That’s Why We Came’ stands out as one of the more interesting songs because the band drops out of mid-tempo mediocrity in order to produce a pretty nice ballad that hops between acoustic and electric sections. It also contains some of the best vocals on the album, but it’s just not enough to redeem the rest of the tracks.
Basically, if you’re painting a masterpiece or performing keyhole surgery and want some progressive metal-flavoured noise that will fill the silence but won’t distract you then March Of Progress is designed for you. But if you’re planning on actually listening to the music, I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed.