Threshold - Hypothetical Inside Out Music America - 2001 By Rodrigo /images/covers/Threshold_hypothetical.jpg Hypothetical is the newest album by Threshold and it is actually the first time that I have ever heard of them and this album is an excellent introduction to a great progressive metal band. With Hypothetical, Threshold is able to showcase the best qualities of this genre but also making them very accessible. Guitarists Karl Groom and Nick Midson have come up with music that is full of heavy guitar riffs, intricate melodies and excellent solos and leads. Richard Wests keyboards are atmospheric and he has no problem taking the lead or staying in the background. All this music is tied up very nicely by the unique singing of Andrew "Mac" McDermott. He has an excellent range, he sings with a lot of passion and features plenty of beautiful vocal melodies. A unique aspect of the music of Hypothetical is how each song builds up slowly creating the mood for the song and immediately then going into hyper-drive with excellent driving music. "The Ravages of Time" which is a song that is over 10 minutes long (and one of the best of the album) is one of the best examples of what I am talking about. It starts off slowly with the ticking of a clock as well as dark and mysterious sounding synthesizer sounds and then some truly heavy guitar riffs blow into the speaker, which actually reminds me of Nevermore. Another aspect of the song that I simply love is the darker instrumental section that features very cool guitar playing and excellent synth leads. "Light and Space" is another excellent tune. It is the first song of the album and it is a driving speedy song. There are a couple of parts during the song where the acoustic guitars take over with some beautiful and tranquil keyboard and vocal melodies that just fit perfectly with the faster pace. Also, some of the best guitar and keyboard solos are present in this song. This is without a doubt my favorite song from Hypothetical. "Narcissus" is the longest song of the album (just over 11 minutes) and this is another strong effort by the band. Unlike the rest of the album, this song starts off fast right of the bat and it is loaded with a wide array of impressive melodies, leads and solos. It also features flawless tempo changes from heavier passages to calmer ones. The chorus features excellent vocal melodies and has a grand epic feel to it. Another song with a very cool and catchy chorus is "Oceanbound". Of note in this song is the outstanding bass work of Jon Jeary. Just as they can come up with heavier songs, Threshold is also able to come out with softer sound especially in the ballad "Keep My Head". It almost seems out of place, it really has an "oldies" type of feel, but it is well done. Threshold has come out with another excellent prog metal album for 2001. If you are not convinced that this band is for you then you need to have your head examined. This is top-notch stuff and I command you to go and buy it!