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Good - 85%

Insin, April 19th, 2015

Threshold has never been a band to disappoint, and Hypothetical marks the beginning of their upward climb from their solid, but not amazing 1990s work to their more impressive 2000s. This band is generally reliable in terms of quality, both between and within albums, and Hypothetical’s songs are similar, but distinguishable. Verses contain heavy riffing and choruses are catchy and upbeat, giving the album a power metal feel. Threshold’s style is easily recognizable, possibly more on Hypothetical than any other release.

The highlight is easily the first track, Light and Space. With soaring and infectious keyboards and catchy drumwork, the high-energy song transitions smoothly from grinding verses to melodic, softer choruses. The intro is also one of the best I’ve heard from the band; about thirty seconds of ambiance followed by spacey keys alternating with the sound of wind – listen to this part with headphones on. One of the band’s best songs and not to be missed.

The album boasts two lengthy tracks that pass ten minutes: Ravages of Time and Narcissus. While the latter explores different moods and varying levels of heaviness, transitions between these are sloppy or nonexistent, causing a serious disjointedness. Individually, the parts work well, but they don’t sound like they should be part of the same song. Ravages of Time is an improvement, while not as varied as Narcissus, it’s much more unified and it showcases a frenetic opening riff that helps convey the lyrical themes of the song.

Hypothetical has its faults as well, in the awkward lyrics of Turn On Tune In, portions of Ravages of Time, and Narcissus. As mentioned earlier, the last song suffers from serious disjointedness resulting poor transitions. And of course, the cheesy soft rock style ballad that is Keep My Head just shouldn’t be there. While Threshold has had some good ballads in the past (see songs like Under the Sun, or actually, all of the nineties ballads), Keep My Head oozes an overly upbeat mood, emphasized by the uber-melodic guitar solo and ridiculously happy vocals, complete with overwhelming harmonies.

Overall, a solid album with the exception of Keep My Head. Threshold are not the musical masturbators that Dream Theater are, with just the right amount of technicality to be impressive but not pretentious, and the solos and songwriting on the album show it. Groom and West spit out some great solos throughout the album. Hypothetical might be a good place to start with the band for a taste of their style, but there are higher peaks in the Threshold discography. Still, it’s not to be missed for any fan.