Threshold, Enochian Theory, Cryptex

March 2, 2013, Lakei, Helmond (NL)

To me it wasn't a surprise at all that the British progressive metal band Threshold would tour intensively to promote their latest album March Of Progress (2012, see review). But when I saw their touring dates, I knew this tour is going to be a tough one: a lot of gigs and hardly a day-off. I was surprised though that Threshold brought two support acts to warm up the audience. That I didn't expect and to be honest I would have been happier with just one support act and more additional time for the headliners. However, the manager of venue Lakei had decided to open the doors earlier in order to give the audience the opportunity to be present at the first notes of the opening band.


Simon Moskon
The German band Cryptex was the first band to perform. Their music contains a blend of prog rock, folk and some stoner metal. It was the first time I saw this band play live, and indeed it was even the first time that I got acquainted with their music. I was very impressed by the way frontman Simon Moskon played on the audience; it was like they were headlining a major festival. All credits go to this charismatic musician, who behaved very enthusiastically on stage. He played keyboards during the first few songs, changing to bass guitar in the more heavy pieces and he even played the blues harp during some acoustic passages. Unfortunately Cryptex' live sound wasn't quite optimal. Sometimes I even couldn't hear certain parts of guitarist Martin Linke ; it sometimes sounded as if he was switching the power of his guitar on and off. Just a shame, because the parts I could hear sounded pretty impressive. Their set was nicely built; keyboard orientated songs in the beginning with a spontaneous Led Zeppelin part, a nice acoustic interlude with drummer Ramon Fleig, playing the cajon as if his live was depending on it, and finishing with heavier songs. Vocalist Moskon even succeeded in letting the audience already sing along during the third piece. Normally half of the audience is still in hibernation at that point, but he managed to create a cooperating audience that seemed to like the live performance of Cryptex, just as I did.

Enochian Theory

Ben Harris Hayes
After a short break and a very swift change on the podium the British band Enochian Theory appeared on stage. This trio had the difficult task to beat the enthusiasm we just had experienced. Enochian Theory plays prog rock and metal covering the whole range. The first performed songs were smooth and soft with whispering vocals and guitar sounds in the vein of Camel, but also grunts derived from their death metal background. On stage they sounded the same as Cryptex; bass player Shaun Rayment was positioned more to the left of the podium. Although I saw many impressive finger exercises, I most of the time heard only a kind of deep dark rumble coming out of his bass. During their performance a tape was playing along in order to relive the band's studio sound. Sometimes it was a bit weird to hear two guitars or even a keyboard on stage while there was none. Unlike the singer of Cryptex, I wasn't quite impressed by vocalist Ben Harris Hayes. Even during the heavy grunt parts, I couldn't help to smile thinking whether this grunting stuff was really meant to be serious. I'm afraid he just did what he had to do, but this way he made sure that the audience wanted to see Threshold on the double.


Again in a minimum of time the stage was set for Threshold. First thing I noticed was that I could hear the guitars of both Pete Morten and Karl Groom equally well, but the overall sound could have been slightly better. I would have liked to hear Richard West's contributions on keyboards more prominently in the mix. Threshold played songs they recorded throughout their career, but a bit emphasized on the guitar driven, metal orientated pieces. Singer and frontman Damian Wilson is still one of the most charismatic people in the prog scene and I'll bet that he
Damian Wilson
personally knew about eighty percent of the people in the audience! His interaction with the audience is unmatched and he always responds to questions or remarks. I don't know if I should mention the 'beard issue', but it has grown a lot since the last time I saw him perform live with Maiden United. Let's just say that his beard suits the character of Captain Joseph Farrell in Clive Nolan's musical Alchemy.

The interaction between the musicians on stage was just the way the audience like to see. Groom and Morten were great together playing twin solos and powerful riffs as well as the more relaxed and melodic passages. The musicians didn't remain on the same spots on stage, so both guitarists could be seen on both sides of the podium often interacting with bass player Steve Andersen, whose fluent bass playing is yet a bit underestimated, although his solo parts prove his competence. Unfortunately Richard West sat in the background of the stage playing his flawless
Karl Groom and Pete Morten
keyboard parts, but as a backing vocalist he's great as well. Drummer Johanne James almost performed a show within a show; he's a tremendous and impressive drummer and a fine entertainer. He connects with the audience in his own special, humorous way and he plays the heaviest parts with a big smile on his face.

After a great set with stunning versions of Part Of The Chaos, Pilot In The Sky and Long Way Home, just to name a few highlights, Threshold ended their regular show with The Rubicon. The audience in Helmond just wanted an encore and soon Threshold returned to play two more songs. They finished with Slipstream during which Karl Groom's transmitter apparently refused to send signals to the amplifiers. During this small incident Groom remained unshakeable. He reached for a spare cable, plugged in and was right in time to play his final solo of the evening. When the show was over, Damian Wilson was eager to dive from the stage into the audience and despite a lot of people wanted to grab him, he ended upon the venue's floor! That's not the way you would like to end a concert I guess, but it was a hilarious action for the rest of the audience. Luckily the sympathetic vocalist wasn't harmed, although after the show he admitted that it really hurt when he fell on the floor...

Although this gig was only the second one of the tour, Threshold played like they were already on tour for weeks. Their podium presentation was perfect, but I have to credit Cryptex for their stage act and enthusiasm as well. All songs were greatly performed and it just felt like spending an evening among friends. However, it's to be hoped that if Damian decides to go stage diving again, there will be strong people in the audience to catch him...

Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Setlist Cryptex:

Hicksville, Habitus And Itchy Feet
Ribbon Tied Swing
Dance Of The Strange Folk
Camden Town
The knowledge Of Being
It's Mine
Romper Stomper
Most Lovable Monster
Grief And Despair

Pictures Cryptex by Henri Strik

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Cryptex:

(left to right)
Martin Linke:
guitars, sansula
Ramon Fleig:
drums, cajon
Simon Moskon:
vocals, keyboards, bass, blues harp

Setlist Enochian Theory:

This Aching Isolation
The Fire Around The Lotus

Pictures Enochian Theory by Henri Strik

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Enochian Theory:

(left to right)
Shaun Rayment:
Sam Street:
Ben Harris Hayes:
vocals, guitar

Setlist Threshold:

Mission Profile
Don't Look Down
Part Of The Chaos
Pilot In The Sky
Staring At The Sun
Long Way Home
The Rubicon
Light & Space

Pictures Threshold by Henri Strik

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Threshold:

Damian Wilson:
lead vocals
Karl Groom:
guitars, backing vocals
Pete Morten:
guitars, backing vocals

Steve Anderson:
Richard West:
keyboards, backing vocals
Johanne James:

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