Threshold shine in the live environment but samey songs mar their performance

Despite suffering from the same sort of sound problems that plagued many of the acts at ProgPower UK, British progressive metallers Threshold managed to play a (slightly shortened) set that was, on the whole, impressive.

While over-loud drums and fuzzy guitars did slightly mar the experience, the festival attendees seemed largely to greet the band with a rapturous reception. Impromptu sing alongs, fists in the air, and deafening cheers all helped to suggest that there were plenty of Threshold fans there, new and old. This warm reception was no doubt due at least to some extent to front man Mac's impressive stage presence. The bekilted vocalist used the time between songs to answer the odd question, scream "WHAT?!" following one fan's request, and forget the title of 'Pressure'. Mid performance he was just as charismatic, striking poses for photographs. The other band members tended to just stand there and play, but with a relaxed and at ease demeanour that made their performance look effortless.

But for all their undeniable talent as a live band, Threshold seemed to lack the quality songs needed to make the most of their ability. While the alternation of euphorically heavy choruses with understated verses (heavily emphasising the intricacies of the guitar playing), and the subtle displays of virtuosity worked very well, the songs were overall rather samey, with the band, for all their progressive metal credentials, sticking to a fairly conservative and repetitive formula much of the time. Also, is it really necessary to repeat the chorus more than three times in a row, in almost every single song?

Overall though, Threshold played an enjoyable and ear pleasing set. Songs such as 'Pressure', with its vast and oddly malevolent riffs punctuated by frantic, industrial influenced keyboards, was excellent, and showed that Threshold can write great songs when they want to. For all the underwhelming and, dare I say, dull moments, there were many others that brought a smile to my face, and, judging by the volume of the applause, had a similar effect on the rest of the audience, too.