Threshold, a band who survived the dark days of 90s prog and thrived (they now have 10 albums to their name), have entered the 2010s having acquired a ragtag bunch of followers of all ages and sizes.
With their Ratt-covering early days far behind them, they nonetheless maintain a fanbase that consists in no small part of crusty moshers with a fondness for the band’s earlier, thrashier albums.
Their slot tonight is therefore fittingly supported by special guests in this vein. Greek band The Silent Wedding sound fairly thin on record, but live are a tour de force of big riffs and even bigger hair, with a vocalist who has a penchant for Serj Tankian-style operatics.
They’re followed by Overtures, who are unregulated, thrashy gadabouts, who get the crowd to boo, instead of applaud, between songs. It’s a novelty, but one that doesn’t wear thin as they have the brass tacks of a ferocious delivery to back it up.
Threshold are in another league. Their prolific output has given them a tremendous and remarkably varied set of songs to pick from, and their live presence is confident without overstatement. The band’s music is bombastic and dramatic, their uncontained enthusiasm obviously genuine. Coming home to London, as they put it, means as much to the band as it does to their patchwork fanbase.
As expected, tonight is a run-through of their discography, from early track Siege of Baghdad – a stinging indictment of the Gulf War – through to new track Unforgiven. Their later work is big on melody, and that’s wedded to Damian Wilson’s muscular vocals. Wilson isn’t still for a moment, blazing across the stage and showing exactly why he’s been at the head of some of Britain’s strongest prog metal outfits for the last 20 years.
The band do walk a line between cheese and being utterly overwrought (the melodramatic refrain of ‘I stand until my strength is gone’ in _The Hours, _for example), but thanks to the air-punching assembly, they manage to pull it off. And with the screaming, scratchy riff of Coda and monstrous saunter of set opener Slipstream, they show serious metal credentials, bolstering their occasional lyrical theatrics.
The majority of the songs at the end of the set come from the band’s last three albums, two of which were created since Damian Wilson rejoined Threshold following former vocalist Andrew ‘Mac’ McDermott’s sad passing. It’s during these that the band look and sound most confident.
With For The Journey, their 10th studio album, Threshold seem to have well and truly found their stride.