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4.4 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 20, 2001
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Light And Space
  2. Turn On Tune In
  3. The Ravages Of Time
  4. Sheltering Sky
  5. Oceanbound
  6. Long Way Home
  7. Keep My Head
  8. Narcissus

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 20, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Inside Out U.S.
  • ASIN: B00005ABLE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #209,825 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael P. Havens on January 18, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Threshold's 'Hypothetical' is from the start a great compositional CD. Each song is well crafted, the love of writing good melodic and harmonic (How about those lush, layered, harmonius vocals?) shining through each piece. Some will fault this reviewer for being "out to lunch", but in comparison, Mac's performances on these songs are in some ways reminescent of Steve Walsh's voacal contributions with Kansas. What I'm trying to say is that, in a world where R&B "divas" and hip looking, long-haired, throaty, three-octave Vagnerians, who have talent, but abuse it, Mac's abilities, though no doubt competent and able to produce this kind of vocal gymnastics, goes in another direction, that, in giving a song power by the drama of the piece and through the words and knowing not to go too far. Sometimes simple, subtle songs like 'Sheltering Sky', or the power of God speaking down upon humanity 'Light and Space', or even the disturbing, slipping grip of reality in 'Turn on Tune In', there is a story to be told, and in using another Kansas comparison, 'Song for America' (Kansas: 'Song for America'), tells it with beauty, grace, power, and sensitivity. Progressive-Metal doesn't have to be trite, it can reach an emotional chord, and Threshold does it in spades.

And even more impressive than the guitar work of Karl Groom and Nick Midson are Richard West's keyboards, who also displays a older school of Progressive music. Also, kudos to Johanne James on drums for not abusing the oft heard, tired cliches of the "quad" (Double bass/Snare/etc.) "dugga-dugga-dugga-dugga" that's been creeping up on a lot of material lately in so many songs. There is sensibility and variety in his drumming. More drummers need to explore more of their instrument.
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Format: Audio CD
2001's Hypothetical might have been album #5 from British progressive metallers Threshold, but I still see it as the first album where the "real" Threshold sound is in place. A lot of that has to do with the presence of vocalist Andrew "Mac" McDermott. This is his second album with the band, and he not only seems more comfortable with his role, he uses his voice as just an effective an instrument as Richard West's keyboards. The song Keep My Head is a great example of this, but he really shines on the entire album.

Musically, Hypothetical isn't that far removed from previous Threshold albums. The band's keyboard heavy, Dream Theater influenced progressive metal style is intact here; it's just more refined. The songwriting in particular took a big step forward with this album. Listening to this album after Wounded Land makes you seriously question whether this is the same band. The band just managed to find the perfect mix of lush instrumental work, captivating melodies, and compelling vocals that put them in the top tier of modern progressive metal bands.

Seven years after its original release date, Hypothetical remains my favorite Threshold album. The band just seemed to get everything right with this one. I can't see how any fan of Dream Theater, Vanden Plas, Symphony X, or any other modern prog metal band could come away from this album unimpressed. The song "Narcissus" alone should be enough to convert just about any unbeliever!

Edition Notes: There is also a Limited Edition of Hypothetical that comes in a neat digipack and features a bonus track. The bonus track is an acoustic version of the song "Life Flow," which was originally on the Extinct Instinct album.
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Format: Audio CD
I was in a record store one day when this album caught my eye. At that time, I had never even heard of Threshold; but, knowing that the store that I was parousing was quite lenient about returns should I decide to return something I didn't like, I bought 'Hypothetical' on a whim.
I took the album home, threw it in my CD player- and there it stayed for the next several months until I literally wore the poor thing out from too much play; wherein, I had to buy a second copy!
I hate to play the "better than Dream Theater card", because it seems that they are the progressive band that everyone gets compared to; but, when you're as melodically progressive as Threshold, that kind of has to go without saying.
Heavy bass lines and smooth, ambient keyboard work, similar to that of Kevin Moore's, opens the first track entitled 'Light And Space.' From there the album evolves into a powerful, haunting trance of progressive heavy metal. From the opening of the album, to 'Narcissus' (based on the myth of Echo and Narcissus), these guys remain true to unabashed, powerful, inspired and progressive heavy metal.
I believe someone mentioned that threshold focus as much on the lyrical side of the music as much as the composition of the music; I couldn't agree more. A lot of prog bands do tend to focus on the music and leave the lyrics to fall by the wayside. (ahem, Spiral Architect). This does not apply to threshold.
Lyrics such as, "you gave me sheltering sky but I reached for the stars, I said I don't believe in who you are, but it's only words" is so moving to me.
Needless to say, I now own every album Threshold has ever put out. While this band is unable to put out a less than amazing album, this is still one of my favorites by them- and one of my favorite albums, hands down. If you enjoy Dream Theater, you will LOVE Threshold!!!!
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