I’ve waited 22 years for this. Threshold has been one of my favorite bands for a LOT of years now but it was with Glynn Morgan on lead vocals that I became a fan. So much so that the lone studio album with him on lead vocals, 1994’s “Psychedelicatessen” is still my favorite Threshold album. To be clear, I do love the vocals of the late Andrew “Mac” McDermott but I still preferred Glynn. And I’ve never liked Damian Wilson so when I heard that he was fired from the band for the third time and replaced by Glynn, I was beside myself with joy.
“Legends of the Shires” is the first double studio album by Threshold and of course a concept album. The one downside to all of this is that my dear friend Pete Morten left the band but I think that given how great his band My Soliloquy sounds, it was best for him. What about the new/old Threshold though?
The rest of the band is back and sound…well like Threshold. The playing is tight, the solos are melodic and for me, “Legends of the Shires” sounds more like a classic Threshold album than anything they’ve done in a good 15 years! Glynn has lost nothing vocally and that was definitely a concern of mine going in. As a fan, you hope that the artist has everything they did before. But it’s been 22 years and he is a singer. Honestly, he sounds exactly as he used to sound and that is fucking awesome.
The album has more than a few epics on it including the first song released “Lost in Translation” plus the grandiose “The Man Who Saw Thru Time.” Each are well over 10 minutes and rival any epic that the band have ever done. Threshold have always written memorable songs with hummable riffs and singalong choruses. There are MANY on this album. Among my favorites are “Small Dark Lines” which is one of the best tracks the band has recorded, “Trust the Process” which lyrically questions following leaders blindly, “On the Edge” which kicks major ass, and “Shire (Part 2)” which is one of the best ballads they have ever recorded. The lyrics on this track are some of Richard West’s best: “This life is not for me!” It hits close to home.
And that is just the first half! “Lost in Translation” is near the end of the second half and is joined by the relentless “Snowblind” which has yet another classic Karl Groom riff. “Subliminal Freeways” is a slow grinding track and yes yet another favorite. I love the hooks on this album. In addition the use of echoes and repeating the main lines of the chorus just adds to the catchiness of the songs. “There’s nothing in my heart, there’s nothing in my heart” in “Subliminal Freeways” is a fine example.
Not only is Glynn back but the band also recruited original bassist Jon Jeary to supply the vocals on “The Shire (Part 3)” and it works great. It’s a short piece and is a nice fit for Jeary’s distinct vocals (he did backing vocals and live harmony vocals when he was in the band). “State of Independence” is another incredible ballad which has yet another amazing hook. I have no idea how West and Groom do it but they never run out of great songs. I felt the band was carried a bit by Pete’s songs on the last 2 albums so it’s nice that they are back to form here.
I waited 22 years for this and it was worth it. “Psychedelicatessen” WAS my favorite Threshold album. “Legends of the Shires” is now my favorite Threshold album. Welcome back, Glynn Morgan! I have missed you. This album will most likely be my favorite album of 2017 because not only is it a “comeback” for a favorite singer but checks all the boxes of what I love about music in general. This is a masterpiece.
1. The Shire (Part 1) (2:03)
2. Small Dark Lines (5:24)
3. The Man Who Saw Through Time (11:51)
4. Trust The Process (8:44 )
5. Stars And Satellites (7:20)
6. On The Edge (5:20)
7. The Shire (Part 2) (5:24)
8. Snowblind (7:03)
9. Subliminal Freeways (4:51)
10. State Of Independence (3:37)
11. Superior Machine (5:01)
12. The Shire (Part 3) (1:22)
13. Lost In Translation (10:20)
14. Swallowed (3:54)