This wasn't my design
There must have been an error
There must have been some grave mistake"
One Word Review: Benevolent
I find it impressive, that a band can go through as many lead singer changes, as Threshold has, and still keep the essence of the band intact.
Taking over from Damian Wilson is Glynn Morgan, who also sang on Psychedelicatessen, released back in 1994. While I would have found it highly interesting to hear Damian sing this album, Glynn does a remarkable job and suits the album perfectly, as he brings its vivid story to life through a smooth, emotional voice and an impressive feel for when to hold back, and when to let it rip.
As a concept album, Legends of The Shires stands out for being intriguing and complex, and for capturing a wide range of subjects along the way.
The lyrics embrace political, social and environmental themes and tie these together with a personal story based on dreams, pride, doubt, wishes and reflection.
Altogether, this is a deep and thoughtful narrative, and I was impressed by the way the band draws clear parallels to modern culture and deliver a relevant commentary.
Musically, is where the album shines even brighter, and brings it all together, in a challenging and thoroughly enjoyable journey. Right from the get-go, I found myself drawn into the album, by its atmospheric opening, where it hits an interesting emotional note, from the moment Glynn starts singing. Small Dark Lines provides an aggressive, opening blast, with a chorus that immediately reminded me that no matter who fronts the band, Threshold is back.
Musical themes re-appear through songs and the album feels like one long symphony. In that respect, it is a plus that the songs both stand on their own and work together, in this special unity.
My favorite song is the grand, and absolutely fantastic, The Man Who Saw Through Time. This is a shining example of the band’s strength and it encompasses everything I love about Threshold; Melody, emotion, technical chops, a special flow and a way of making a song feel complete.
With so many singular moments of perfection in the song, the first of which arrives at 1:35, I am most impressed about its coherent flow, and in spite of a running time of close to 12 minutes, I never felt a second was wasted. The way the song builds in intensity is amazing, and when the second momentum, at around 2:30, is reached, as first the vocals peak and then the guitar continues and builds on this, is quite profound and a wonderful experience with each listen. I simply love that ebb and flow feeling the song has, all the while keeping everything in tight focus. As the song speeds up and the "He watched his life unfolding"-line arrives at 4:52, a chilling sensation arrives. This is one of those fist-clenching moments that makes me smile. For me, the song is like a sea of chills with the aforementioned moments, along with "Ripples on the tide" at 7:05 and the way the beginning of the final chorus is amped up at 9:30, being standout moments, in a song that is an instant classic in my book.
Aside from this magnificent beast of a song, other personal highlights include the hugely atmospheric Stars and Satelites, where I was reminded of a movies like Interstellar and Contact, as I recognized some of the same atmopshere and feeling, I got from those, Snowblind , which delivers an impactful burst of energy and Subliminal Freeways, where a wonderful chorus and flow, aided by an expressive touch of keyboard, really adds to the atmosphere.
I could pull out moments from pretty much every song, but in the end, I will just mention Lost In Translation, which has an incredible sense of desperation and it resembles The Man Who Saw Through Time by its superb sense of coherency. It is yet another magnificent song, which goes from one end of the emotional spectrum (desperation), to the other (hope), within its 10 minutes and I feel in awe while listening to it.
Everything about the album just works, and the bottom line is, that Legends of The Shires is the most satisfying album, I have experienced in a long time. It is a symphony for the ages and comes highly recommended.
Written By Steen
Online: Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Small Dark Lines
Stars And Satellites
Lost In Translation