Beyond The Labyrinth & Threshold

May 1, 2009 - De Pul, Uden (NL)

During the 2001 edition of the annual Bospop festival, I saw Threshold, the best prog metal band from England, for the first time. That performance remained as a fond memory in my mind. Afterwards I got in contact with keyboard player Richard West. What followed was an online friendship for many years, because it took seven years before I saw the band and their great keyboard player again. Their performance at De Boerderij in Zoetermeer in 2008 proved once more that the band belongs to the premier league of heavy progressive rock music. I didnít expect the band to see that soon after this great gig, but a year later three shows were booked in The Netherlands and Belgium. One of the gigs took place very near to my hometown, so it would be very foolish not to attend this one. Besides, it was an opportunity for me to get in contact with the band again. Just before entering the venue, I bumped into Damian Wilson. He told me that singing in Threshold is a real joy and he would like to record a new album with the band. Richard West told me that they all love to perform live on stage so much. That is the reason why Threshold has hardly any time left to write and record new material.

Before enjoying another Threshold-performance, we first had to wait upon their support act Beyond The Labyrinth from Belgium. BTL has just released their second album Castles In The Sand and thus it was obvious that six of the eight songs performed came from that album. The band took only the last two pieces from their debut Signs. Just as the headliners, BTL plays a kind of prog metal, but frankly speaking, the compositions and the musicianship of our Belgium friends donít reach the same high level as those from Threshold. During the more relaxed pieces, when Danny Focke touched the keys, it all sounded quite well, but as soon as the fast drum beats from Bruno Goedhuys and the heavy guitar riffs from Gert Fieuw dominated the music, it all gets rawer and less melodic. However, this does not mean that the five musicians are not talented, not at all, but their music didnít capture my full attention during the set. The compositions are just too common, just too mediocre to grip oneís attention during the whole gig.

That was certainly not the case with the performance of Threshold. At De Boerderij in Zoetermeer one year earlier, they inserted a short acoustic intermission, very much appreciated by the audience. In fact, that is my only negative remark: the more metal related stuff of Threshold dominated a large part of the set. Neither a ballad, nor any acoustic intermission could be found on the set list this time. I hope the band will keep that in mind for their next tour. However, it didnít spoil my evening at all, because Thresholdís performance was very professional and they played with great musical skills. As far as I am concerned, Damian Wilson belongs without a doubt to the best singers in this genre. His way of singing differs a lot from the style of his predecessor Andrew Ď Mací McDermott. Therefore, it would it be a wise decision for Threshold to release a live album or a DVD with the current line-up. Many of the songs originally sung by Mac sounded fresh and dynamic again. Only the ones Damian sang when he just became a band member didnít change that much compared to the original album versions. Songs as Part Of The Chaos and Exposed are good examples. However, Damianís stage presentation reminded me a lot of Macís. He also used to act somewhat strange like jumping into the crowd or climbing up the balcony. During the gig, it became clear that all the band members love to show their talents on stage. I saw a two hours spectacular show and Threshold played two of my favourites: Light And Space and Pilot In The Sky Of Dreams. When they perform these two tracks, I have a perfect evening. I regard the two encore tracks Falling Away and This Your Life as a fine bonus: the cream on a heavy, but still delicious cake.

Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Setlist BTL:

Draining My Energy
Time To Fly
Beyond The Labyrinth
Castles In The Sand
Pure Sabotage
No Place For A Dreamer
Tomorrow Is Gone
In Flanders Fields

Line up BTL:

Jo De Boeck:
lead vocals
Gerry Verstreken:
bass guitar
Bruno Goedhuys:
Gert Fieuw:
Danny Focke:

Pictures by Henri Strik

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Beyond The Labyrinth

Setlist Threshold:

Days Of Dearth
The Ravage Of Time
Long Way Home
Part Of The Chaos
Light And Space
Pilot In The Sky Of Dreams
One Degree Down
Mission Profile

Falling Away
This Is Your Life


Line up Threshold:

(left to right)
Karl Groom:
guitars, backing vocals
Johanne James:
Steve Anderson:
bass guitar, backing vocals
Pete Morten:
guitars, backing vocals
Damian Wilson:
lead vocals
Richard West:

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