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Critical Mass


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Audio CD, September 13, 2004
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 13, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Inside Out U.S.
  • ASIN: B00006HI7B
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #464,070 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Phenomenon
2. Choices
3. Falling Away
4. Fragmentation
5. Echoes Of Life
6. Round And Round
7. Avalon
8. Critical Mass (Part 1-3)

Customer Reviews

Threshold is one of the bands that get better with each new album release.
Sven B. Schreiber
And although that is a great album, I feel Critical Mass, compared to its amazing predecessor, somewhat suffers from lack of focused songwriting.
Murat Batmaz
And while Avalon is somewhat mellower, it is also a great song with an outstanding guitar solo!!
JP

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robert Pontzer on December 29, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Threshold released their definitive masterpiece, "Hypothetical", in 2001. 2002's "Critical Mass" is also an enjoyable release, but falls short of the lofty heights of "Hypothetical". The high points are sky high, some of the best prog music I have ever heard. But there are some glaring weaknesses. Essentially, you could split this album into two: the 4 Richard West (keyboardist) compositions and the 4 Karl Groom (guitarist)/Jon Jeary (bassist) compositions. The 4 West songs ("Phenomenon", "Falling Away", "Echoes of Life", "Avalon") are lively, fresh, unpredictable, beautiful and take the Threshold sound to the next level. You can definately tell these songs were composed on keyboard. The Groom/Jeary songs ("Choices", "Fragmentation", "Round and Round", "Critical Mass") sound weary, tired, predictable, uninventive and boring. The riffs often have a "been there, done that, hey wasn't that on the last album?" feeling and the choruses are usually annoying. The exception is the epic "Critical Mass" which works well. Despite the shortfalls of this album, the Richard West songs are so good to warrant this a 4 star release. Vocalist Mac puts in his best performance. He has a great, mature British voice with can be cutting at one point and gentle later on. Johanne James also deserves accolades for his powerful and technical drumming throughout. Richard West may be the star of this release, with not only his great songwriting but his gorgeous synths and piano. The production on this album is great on the keyboards and drums, which sound fresh, warm and alive. But the guitars lack bite. Also, there are too many mid-tempo songs.Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sven B. Schreiber on November 3, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Threshold is one of the bands that get better with each new album release. That's probably because the main songwriters - Richard West, Karl Groom, and Jon Jeary - continually improve their shills. Meanwhile, the writing team seems to have split sharply into two fractions: Out of the eight tracks, the odd-numbered titles ara written by Richard West, and the even-numbered by Groom/Jeary. All tracks are great, there's no garbage or filler material on this CD. The style is similar to the previous "Hypothetical" album: Powerful "Metal" with catchy melodies and rich "progressive" arrangements. Great ProgMetal for people who like Arena, Dream Theater, and the likes.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Gorham on January 8, 2008
Format: Audio CD
THE BAND: Andy "Mac" McDermott (vocals), Karl Groom (guitars), Nick Midson (guitars), Jon Jeary (bass), Richard West (keyboards), Johanne James (drums & percussion). Band origin: Surrey, UK.

THE DISC: (2002) Two versions of "Critical Mass" are available. 1. - the single music disc contains 8 tracks and clocks in at approximately 59 minutes, and 2. - the double-disc version, containing the music disc and a bonus 2nd disc containing 3 music tracks (an edit of "Phenomenon", and 2 new additional tracks totaling approximately 14 minutes), and a multimedia section for your PC (with a band documentary; in the studio/diary, personnel/bios, screen saver, backstage, and weblink). Included with the disc is an 18-page booklet containing song titles/credits/times, song lyrics, band photos, production notes from Groom/West on each track, and thank you's. Even track numbers written by Groom/Jeary; odd track numbers written by West. Recorded at Thin Ice Studios, Surrey, England (March - June 2002). Label - InsideOut.

COMMENTS: Though I own several Threshold discs, I've never been a hugely over-the-top rabid Threshold fan. "Hypothetical" (2001) was my 1st purchase years ago and is still probably the sentimental favorite. However, I firmly believe this "Critical Mass" double-disc edition is their most accomplished release. Polished, slick, mature (all aspects of the band firing on all cylinders)... and simply some great writing. I love the double guitar attack. Threshold fits nicely in the family of prog metal bands. I hear similarities to Dream Theater, Enchant, Fates Warning, etc... and if you're into this genre of music - I see that as a compliment. Similarities, but never clones of any other band. Groom and Midson's guitar work is what intrigues me the most here.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eddie T. Head on October 13, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I will say just one thing, I like it. I like it a lot. They still making great progressive metal that isn't played at light speed with million notes per second.They made a great album, even though I thought that they couldn't top Hypothetical, this is just as good. My favourite tracks are Phenomenon, Falling Away, Echoes Of Life and the title song Critical Mass(you don't get to many songs (and bands) that use terms like neutrons, protons and gluons these days ;))
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Murat Batmaz on September 28, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Critical Mass, the sixth studio album of British prog metallers Threshold, is the first album ever that features the same line-up with its predecessor, and that is a big plus. Threshold has gone through many changes in their line-up, especially with their vocalists and drummers. They've had three different singers (Damian Wilson, Glynn Morgan and the current Mac), and five different drummers (Tony Grinham, Nick Harradence, Jay Micciche, Mark Heaney, and the current drummer Johanne James). While all of these musicians are very talented in their own way, these changes have affected the band's style to a certain extent and made it somewhat difficult for Karl Groom and Richard West to define the real Threshold sound.
So, Critical Mass is the first album that features the same line-up with the previous album Hypothetical, which to many Threshold fans is considered the peak of the band. Hypothetical was an amazing disc in many respects, and Critical Mass is a very good follow-up. However there are slight differences in the approach to songwriting mainly because of Nick Midson's contributions. The last Threshold album where he had input to the compositions was 1994's Psychedelicatessen. And although that is a great album, I feel Critical Mass, compared to its amazing predecessor, somewhat suffers from lack of focused songwriting. While the Karl Groom and Richard West tracks on this CD have the Hypothetical vibe all over them, the other songs with Mac and Midson have a different feel. Not that they're bad, it's just they sound like they're all parts of one big song all arranged into several tracks. I could be wrong though, just my opinion.
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