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Critical Mass

ThresholdAudio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Just about everything that you’ve read before about Threshold will have classified them as a Progressive Metal group. Countless international reviewers and even their own press biographies have bandied around the term with no genuine fear of contradiction.

Ten albums into a career that began in London’s leafy suburbs back in 1989, it’s time this situation was ... Read more in Amazon's Threshold Store

Visit Amazon's Threshold Store
for 27 albums, 4 photos, 4 videos, and 1 full streaming song.

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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: #400,330 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a critical purchase, but still entertaining 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting better with each release! 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
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite Threshold album 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
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a phenomenon 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Consistency in the line-up shows 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars more rock than prog
don't like it
Published 5 months ago by Kevin William Finn
5.0 out of 5 stars Prog metal at it's best
Is there a place for progressive metal in the world today? The answer is surely yes and this album proves it! Threshold has always made good albums and this isn't an exception. Read more
Published on December 20, 2009 by Markus Olander
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good album
I enjoy listening to this album by Threshold. The CD is full of dynamic songs that go from slow to fast. Most of the songs are enjoyable for me. Read more
Published on June 26, 2009 by AMAR PAWAR
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT Prog/Metal album - highly recommended!
Hypothetical was the first Threshold CD I heard, and while I also consider it a 5-star release (Narcissus is nothing short of a prog/metal masterpiece) I'm honestly beginning to... Read more
Published on March 25, 2009 by JP
5.0 out of 5 stars Threshold - Critically Good
After the excellent "Hypothetical" released in 2001 it was going to be difficult for this band to come up with a follow up, but with "Critical Mass" they put out another really... Read more
Published on May 13, 2008 by Steven Sly
5.0 out of 5 stars Best for Threshold
I own 4 Threshold CDs, this one is far and above the rest and an excellent progressive metal band. They have been through 3 lead vocalists and I even have another by the same... Read more
Published on July 26, 2007 by trainer
4.0 out of 5 stars Reminds me a lot of Enchant...
Good rock with some prog tinges that reminds me of the band Enchant. And, that's a good thing. The vocalist is powerful but at times delivers some weak performances. Read more
Published on March 24, 2007 by NEOPROG RAN
5.0 out of 5 stars I expected it to be good- but not quite this astounding!
'And when the stars come crashing down, it's a phenomenon...'

These are the last lines of the chorus of the first song, phenomenon- and this, I feel, is representative... Read more
Published on March 22, 2005 by Matt Craig
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than Subsurface... so far
I like Threshold a lot. They're all great musicians that know how to create beautiful progressive music without adopting any existing ''recipe'' -- in other words, without cloning... Read more
Published on October 14, 2004 by Marcio Silva
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacking a bit of everything.
This is the second album from Threshold that i sample and i was surprised. This album is actually trying to move to a more progressive rock sound, which is somewhat different from... Read more
Published on March 29, 2004 by Guillaume Pelletier
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