Strolling casually onto the stage with The New Eve, the first of their five songs, Spheric Universe Experience erupt into a wall of noise that seems almost impossible for a five-piece group to achieve.
Theirs is a chunky yet precise strand of progressive metal, egged on by the six-string bass of John Drai and rammed home by frontman Franck Garcia, who we quickly learn believes in the retention of long, dramatic notes.
Save for the moody Echoes Of The Stars, it’s powerful, bombastic stuff, multiple marauding key-tar excursions from Fred Colombo serving to enhance an already enthusiastic presentation. Forty minutes later, when the Frenchmen take their leave, the response seems slightly startled – unknown support acts aren’t usually this good – but every last clap is deserved.
Conversely, those brave enough to endure London’s dodgy Sunday public transport system, or to have travelled from further afield (tonight is a one-off UK show), know exactly what to expect from Threshold. Despite having formed almost three decades ago, the British band are far more popular on mainland Europe than at home. To their credit, they don’t tend to bemoan this fact, and their delight at being back on UK soil – where their profile is slowly but surely accelerating – is unmistakable.
“This is London! Good people, we’re home! It’s really, really great to be here,” roars Damian Wilson in a theatrical voice.
Threshold’s musicianship is simply jaw-dropping, enhanced by a front-of-house mix that’s reassuringly loud and clear as a bell.
The band are back in Islington for the second time in 14 months to perform their latest studio release, For The Journey, playing their 10th album in its entirety, along with a sprinkling of catalogue gems. Avoiding chronological order, they begin with Freaks and Mission Profile, both originally recorded by Wilson’s sadly deceased predecessor, Andrew ‘Mac’ McDermott, before Watchtower On The Moon commences the main programme.
The musicianship is simply jaw-dropping, enhanced by a front-of-house sound mix that’s reassuringly loud and clear as a bell. Karl Groom and Pete Morten crank out the riffs with gleeful menace, but the lustrous keys of Richard West soothe and massage an incredibly strong melodic content that reaches boiling point with For The Journey selections Turned To Dust and Lost In Your Memory, along with main set closer Ashes.
Once again, the Queen-flavoured epic Pilot In The Sky Of Dreams is performed from within the audience, a place where the gregarious Wilson seems to be most at home (unless he’s climbing, Spider-Man-like, onto the balcony, that is).
Is there a better singer and frontman on the live circuit today? Quite possibly not, and on this form, Threshold can live on a stage with just about any band the progressive metal genre has to offer.