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Welcome to Issue Eleven…

Welcome back!!!

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The March Of Progress is over for now but you won’t have to wait long! Fresh tour dates are almost upon us and there’s more to come even later in the year.

We’ve got a few stories from the recent tour dates and as many snippets from the band as we can muster so probably best to get started. It won’t be long until the gigging begins again.



We’ve got two new photo contributors this issue - you can see their watermarks in the corners of the pics. Please note we have got permission to use these!!! Thanks to Daniel Horlbogen and Marleen den Brok.



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Holland

We at Beyond managed our very own little trip to see the band. Circumstances, flights and bad timing on our part meant we had to skip the tour’s start in London but we were down the front for nights two and three, Helmond and Rotterdam.

After a full day in Amsterdam the day before, Saturday saw a lazy start and a catch up with the first of many friends for the day. Meeting many, many people you know seems somehow synonymous with a Threshold show!

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Soon enough we were off to Lakei at Helmond. Cryptex opened and provided a lot of fun and what can only be described as a proper warm up, really getting the audience ready. Their singer, pianist, bassist, harmonica player Simon was a delight as he led the way through a varied set of progressive folk rock. (and we catch up with Simon later)

The UK’s Enochian Theory then took things in a slightly different direction. Still progressive but quite a different approach. Being at the show for the main band it’s no surprise their set really came to life for me during the heavier passages of which there were fortunately plenty.

So onto Threshold. It had been a while since the Night Of The Prog show at Loreley, our and their last outing before this tour. Since then the new album has arrived and it was intriguing to know which new songs would make the set.

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They opened up with a confident “Mission Profile” and with no acoustic section this tour it was foot to the floor the whole way. Dead Reckoning favourites “Hollow”, “Pilot In The Sky Of Dreams” and “Slipstream” jostled with “Part Of The Chaos”, “Long Way Home” and the welcome return of “Angels”.

But it’s the new songs that deserve the most attention. At Helmond they were great but did sound new, the epic “The Rubicon” aside. But by the second of our nights they all sounded like they had been integral parts of the set for years whilst remaining fresh as songs off a new album should.

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Coda”, Pete Morten’s first composition for the band, was aggressive and quirky all at once, the lead part delivered by the writer with skill. “Don’t Look Down” maybe slightly surprised me although the album certainly goes down as one where the whole thing could be played.


Colophon” made perfect sense, gently progressing in a familiar way, the music complex throughout.

The two “singles”, “Ashes” and “Staring At The Sun”, both flew along but centre stage has to go to the epic lavishness that is “The Rubicon”. It tries to tell the story of the band and is so immense it sounds like they have been playing it for years.

All the band appeared to be having a ball both nights. Pete Morten looked a little apprehensive in Helmond as he started “Coda”, no doubt due to some technical glitches the night before, but he needn’t have worried.

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Highlights are difficult to pick as the whole set was played to a superb standard. Perhaps the new songs “Coda” and “The Rubicon”, definitely the closing “Slipstream”, but probably everything else in between!

Awesome!


(This first appeared at therocktologist.com at the start of April)



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Cryptex

Always trying to find someone new to talk to, we stumbled into Cryptex front man Simon Moskon in the corridors at Helmond…

So Simon, could you introduce yourself?

Hi folks, I’m Simon Moskon from the progressive folk rock band called Cryptex.

It’s only the second night on tour with Threshold so are there any venues you are looking forward to?

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Well, yes, Aschaffenburg, the Colos Saal, it’s a really great venue and we were there last year with Pain Of Salvation. And the Markthalle in Hamburg is pretty cool. But it’s going well so far and every venue is great.

Playing at the Underworld yesterday in London, how was that?

We’ve played there before, last year in February, again with Pain Of Salvation through the UK. It was really great in London.

Beyond is of course all about Threshold - did you know the band’s music before coming on the tour?

Unfortunately no! The first song I heard was “Narcissus”, a fantastic song and I would have loved to have heard it played live! It’s some great hooky lines. But it’s been great hearing the band play.

Just a quick chat but always nice to speak to new people!

Looking forward, Cryptex then had a set of dates to come through April, their first headlining club tour. We’ve heard they’ve been having a fun time and they certainly have enough uniqueness to stay on the progressive radar for a while to come!



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Poland

Towards the end of the first half of the tour the band stopped off in Warsaw and played at Progresja. It seems that a small group got together to head to the show and we heard from Lukasz Jakubiak, part of the group and also a contributor to progrock.org

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The concert was great - extraordinarily energetic. The setlist was good, tracks from “March of Progress” perform exceptionally well on gigs. About the older tracks… I was very happy when I heard “Hollow" and "Part Of The Chaos" but I missed not having "Paradox" and "Innocent"… You can’t have everything!!!

Threshold is not just an ordinary band. The first time I heard them was the Critical Mass album and that’s when I heard the amazing “Echoes Of Life”. This though was my first concert withThreshold in Poland and …. what can I say … it was outstanding! We went to the concert with quite a big party (Greetings to “Polska Progiem stoi” team). The sound system might not have been perfect, but that’s the charm of clubs.

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Songs such as “Hollow”, “Part Of The Chaos”, “Mission Profile” and the fantastic as usual “Light And Space” were great. After the concert we took photos with the musicians and had some time with them. It was another event in my life which I will remember very warmly and will go back to it not only by looking at photos.

Thanks to Lukasz - Poland is definitely one country that the Beyond team want to visit. Maybe next time!



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Karl Groom

Whilst we got a few bits and pieces from all the band, we also took some proper time to catch up with Karl Groom. Who better to give us a few thoughts on the tour and especially the set list?

With "Ashes" in the set, and "Slipstream", both big opening numbers, why did you choose to open with "Mission Profile"?

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It’s more to do with the range for the voice. For Damian to come in and sing something as high as “Ashes" at the beginning, we tried it in rehearsal but he needs to warm up for those high notes. It’s not that he can’t reach the high notes but it’s consistently high all through the chorus. We’d thought we’d try something else and leave "Ashes" until mid-set.

Obviously it’s a tour for a fairly new album. Songs like “Ashes "and "Staring At The Sun”, as “singles”, maybe pick themselves for the set. What were the reasons for picking the other new songs you played?

Staring At The Sun" wasn’t initially in the set list but when it got released as a second single we added it, late on. We were always going to play (The) Rubicon, because of what it means to Rich and I when we were writing it. It holds that special memory of the whole history of the band over the years, and the fans, everything that happened with Jon and Nick and through to the current line up.

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We had to pick “Coda”, Pete’s first song and it’s never been played live, we couldn’t leave that out. It turned out to be a really great choice and really inspiring to start rehearsing to. What else did we play that was new?

Colophon!

Well, that’s my favourite song that Richard’s ever written. I love the way this song feels from beginning to end, it never really feels like it is repeating itself. Maybe there are sections but they are constantly adjusting as it goes through. It has a natural build right until the end when it comes right down to nothing again.

I really love the structure of that song. That was a definite for me.

If you take the middle section out, it’s the first time we have written a real pop song which is “Don’t Look Down”. So we’d thought we’d have a go at that! My life’s changed quite a lot in the last few years, being happy as opposed to constantly miserable, without going into detail, and it’s changed my outlook on life. Sometimes that comes out in the song writing. That was one particular song that caught that atmosphere.

It was great to hear an older track like “Angels”, that some fans might not know as it’s from Clone. Were there others like that up for selection?

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Clone was a special case and was never re-released on Inside Out, getting stuck on GEP for contractual reasons so it wan’t available. It also undersold everything else. Whenever I’m in Holland especially I get asked about Clone and end up making promises to play tracks from it so we chose one. Damian did such a great job that I don’t know why he was nervous about singing anything from that album. We should do some more.

I was going to pick “Choices" from Critical Mass but we also needed space for new songs. I particularly like that track but I suppose we did do it on the DVD shoot which was only ten years ago!

Incidentally Steve is celebrating ten years since he joined Threshold.

The other one from the current album we wanted to do was “That’s Why We Came" but it needs an acoustic for just half a song. With three bands on the bus and all the gear on stage we didn’t want to get it damaged! We dropped that one but if we do a slightly more relaxed tour later in the year we might bring that in. It’s a really good track.

Ah yes, more dates.

Well the band have some Summer festivals lined up with Celebr8 at Kingston (London) 11th May, Rock Hard at Gelsenkirchen 19th May, Sweden Rock at Solvesborg 5th June and Metalfest Loreley 22nd June.

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As well as the new ProgPower in Norway in November, there’s also a good rumour of a UK tour at the end of 2013 or soon after, so it would make a change for us at Beyond to welcome all of you to the band’s home country!

Twenty years on from Wounded Land this would be the first time the band has done a proper UK tour so we have everything crossed!!!

Fancy coming to see us?



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Closing

That brief mention of more gig dates brings us nicely to the end. When we were in Holland seeing the band we did try and find out as many things as we could.

Pete let us know that My Soliloquy are very much a real band now and building on a host of rave reviews for the album he intends to get some live dates played.

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Johanne told us that he has an album of material ready for recording but since then Kyrbgrinder have decided to bring things to a close. Hopefully those songs will see light somewhere as the last album was a joy!




But the most exciting thing is that both Richard and Karl confirmed that a large amount of material is already progressed for a new album. We’ve also heard that a new fan CD is probably coming too with a follow up to the acoustic Wireless likely and a second DVD is also being mentioned.

Exciting times!

Going to see the band in the next set of dates? We’d love to hear YOUR story or see your pictures. We also want to get our hands on your pictures of any set lists you grab as well as carrying on our quest to get a picture of every venue the band has ever played!!!

See you on the road.

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Welcome to Issue Ten…

Welcome back!!!

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Well here we are again - a new album still spinning in the background and a tour about to start.

When we started Beyond we didn’t really expect to still be going this far down the road so a big thank you goes out to everyone that has read Beyond, to all of you that have contributed and most importantly the band and all those others with various connections that have given us the material to share!!!

Group hug out of the way, what can you expect from issue ten? We’ve got a main feature this issue that gives some extra information about the video for “Staring At The Sun”. Then we will be looking forward to the first wave of the tour and having a look at the summer festivals.

We’ve of course got a couple of tracks to put in the spotlight including one special guest contributor and we’ll be having a think about the new vinyl re-releases. We’ve also got a new review of an old album!!!

We’ll also have a bit of a band member round up…


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Achim Bieler

Who? Well back when March Of Progress was released it was announced that the song “Staring At The Sun" would be the subject of video competition. And one Mr Bieler came up with a stunning video which we hope you have all seen (there’s a link at the end of the article)

Always wanting to bring you that little something extra we tracked him down and he does like a good chat…

Hi Justin, Hi everyone. Today is the perfect day to answer some questions. It’s raining outside and that somehow reminds me of “Staring At The Sun

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Did you know the band’s music before doing the video?

I first got in touch with Threshold’s Music when Wounded Land was published (1993). So there it was, a new supposed to be heavy prog band with Damian Wilson (who I had heard singing for Landmarq on Solitary Witness), and Karl Groom

(who I just had seen on stage with the Shadowland “Ring of Roses“ Tour ). How heavy might this be? I thought to myself. I put the disc into the player and couldn’t stop listening to “Mother Earth and “Siege Of Baghdad”.


Years passed by, and I lost track of Threshold. Well, there was a time without the World-Wide-Web-Information-Overkill. You actually had to know someone, who knows someone, who just stumbled across a CD in a music-store. Prog Rock CDs in German Music Stores is a story by itself.

But then it happened: Hypothetical was my companion during long trips and lonely hours. Isn’t “Narcissus" amazing? Since then I kept my eyes wide open for every Threshold release. Thanks to my best friend, who firstly introduced me to the beautiful world of Progressive Rock, I managed to never lose track again.

Believe it or not, I’ve never been to a Threshold concert. Living in a small town at the edge of Germany, far away from where the fun is happening, isn’t very fulfilling. But next year’s tour won’t happen without me visiting their show!

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Is this your first video and if not what else have you done?

It’s only my second one. In 2009 I helped Benjamin (director of photography on the “Staring At The Sun" video) with a small music video project he was planning with a local band (a rock band with blind band members called Blind Sensation). So I plotted a story and directed it. It was a "No-Budget-Lot-Of-Enthusiasm" project.

If you ask me about videos in general, yes I did quite a few, mostly short movies. I’m working at the Athanor Akademie, which is an Academy for actors and directors. I have classes with director students and teach them how to develop their theatrical performances. And I have camera acting classes with the actors too.

Working with directors and students from script to post production on movie projects is a challenging and rewarding job. Over the years (besides my daytime involvement in dramatic arts) I mostly directed theatre productions, but managed to do some short movie projects too.

So you can call it a professionalised hobby. I love to work with Benjamin. He is an excellent director of photography. Unfortunately we haven’t managed to earn money with the projects we do together. We just do it for fun, I guess. Whenever he feels the need to film something more artistic, and whenever I can’t watch a student trying to ruin Shakespeare ;-) we meet for a day and start shooting.

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And could you tell us a little more about the others involved?

So you heard from Benjamin, you have seen his work. What’s more to know? Let’s start with my beautiful wife Ulrike.

She is a gifted actress with a talent in front and behind a camera. I won’t tell you the story about how a professional relationship started to be a private one!


Ulrike can be a fabulous assistant director and second camera operator and of course: a very emotional face on screen. Karina and Johanna are both actor students of mine, in the second year of their education. They never heard of Threshold before and liked it from the start (another way to gain new fans).

Since Johanna has a good technical skill and interest in stuff like that, she was willing to help behind camera. Karina was my first choice for someone looking somehow familiar to Ulrike and she did wonderful work.

Where did your concept come from?

From a weird mind, I guess. I heard the song and read the lyrics several times and was asking myself: who is he talking to? Who could represent the “You” in the text and what character traits should he have. It sounds like an argument between someone wanting someone else not to give up, to fight for rights, for life, for hope, for light.

To rebel and not surrender. To plot a big rebellion, of course would have been impossible without a proper budget. So I thought of writing a very intimate, small, psychological fight (somehow an inner-view). One character constantly living in her “darkest hour”, wanting to end her life, and the other confronting her and pulling her back into “light”.

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I needed to have different situations that somehow carry this dynamic inside. But on the other hand, I didn’t want to actually have someone jumping off a bridge or cutting herself with the knife. It should be symbolic to represent a

state of mind more than a specific action. That’s why it ended up being so cryptic.


Once you play with the inner-mind of someone troubled, you discover the thin line between reality and vision, fear and hope, act and wish. Well, it turned out to be more psychedelic, than I firstly intended. I heard really interesting interpretations of the story, and they all contain the simple truth of what I was trying to tell. And of course - I was verbally attacked for “killing my wife” ;-)

Haven’t seen the video yet? Well here is your chance! We’ve left the link longhand and will be back with Achim later. This is Achim’s original competition entry. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toHqQIz6oow

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This March - A MARCH Of Progress

So Achim mentions he’ll be catching up with Threshold on the road this year. We hope you are too and with that in mind we have a request. If you are going to a show we want to see your pictures. We like to get a picture of EVERY venue that Threshold plays so take one on the outside! (include yourself if you want!)

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If you are lucky enough to get your hands on one of the setlists then we want to see a picture of that too! And don’t forget any pictures of the live show itself or with the band if you get to catch up with them.

The tour kicks off (1st March) in London at a venue that has become a bit of a must do for many

bands. From there they make the short trip over the water to play in Holland at Helmond (2nd) and Rotterdam (3rd). We’ll be there so say hi if you see us!

Then it’s off to Germany for the first pair of seven dates, with Hamburg (4th) and Berlin (5th) before the band heads east to Poland and Warsaw (6th). That’s followed by trips to three more countries with Kufstein in Austria (8th) followed by Aarau, Switzerland (9th) and Ljubljana in Slovenia (11th).

The band then return to Germany for five straight dates with the 12th to 16th seeing them appear in Augsburg, Aschaffenburg, Ludwigsberg, Essen and Osnabruck. Then they head home stopping off in Belgium and Vosselaar (17th).

For full tour details and ticket links check out the Threshold tour page http://www.thresh.net/touring.htm There’s a few new venues this time around so we really want pictures of those venues!!!

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The band are joined on the road by show openers Cryptex from Germany and then main support, fellow British band, Enochian Theory.

We did manage to ask Richard what he was hoping for this time around,

I’m really looking forward to the tour, especially after not doing any shows last year. I’ve been keeping myself busy on the Threshold front though, I’ve got a number of new songs under development.

Is that a next album teaser???

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Vinyl

Well following the great success of issuing the mighty March Of Progress on vinyl as well as the usual 21st Century formats, came the news that the pre nuclear Blast back catalogue would get the same treatment. First up is the very recent double release of Wounded Land and Psychedelicatessen.

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We remembered reading that Jon Jeary had said, way back when, that Threshold would only be a real band when they released a vinyl album and having waited about twenty years there’s suddenly no stopping them since March Of Progress! If you haven’t got your copy of the first two to be re-released, here’s Karl to let you know what to expect.

Of course, the Threshold release of vinyl is some kind lifelong ambition for Jon, but we are all thrilled to see artwork like Wounded Land

featuring on an LP. We went right back to the original mixes for remastering on this album so it would have the best sound for the format.


I have heard the master, but not seen the cover results as yet and look forward to this more than any product in recent times. Both Wounded Land and Psychedelicatessen will be double gatefold and are on heavy vinyl, so the result will be of the same quality that March of Progress was when it came out in September.

Got them? What do you think? What’s your favourite colour? let us know, beyond@thresh.net

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Round Up

Time for a breath! Not that many of the band members have been taking one…

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Damian has continued to pop up all over the place with various releases, recordings and live performances with all sorts of bands. We’re particularly looking forward to the Maiden United world tour of Lancashire that’s planned for April this year with quite a few more this summer.

Johanne and Kyrbgrinder had a very busy 2012 and we’ve heard they have a few plans for this year too.

It just has to be time for a third album from them, doesn’t it? We’ve caught up with them on the road a number of times and never been disappointed.

Richard has already developed the League Of Lights project, and we hope there’ll be more soon, but he’s also involved in Alpha Flood. For once he’ll “just” be a band member and we’re really looking forward to what direction this project takes.

Karl has no doubt been busy in the studio with the vinyl reissues no doubt taking a bit of time to work on. Whilst they are eagerly anticipated it’s a shame that there’s not been a Shadowland tour for a while. But then a certain Mr Nolan has also been a little busy too!

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And you may have noticed that the long awaited My Soliloquy album, the Interpreter, with Pete Morten at the helm is with us. It’s received some great early reviews and pictures have emerged of a band line up. Tour, anyone?

And Steve…

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Summer And More

We almost forgot. There are already a few summer shows in place with festival headlining at Celebr8 (Kingston, May) and the Rock Hard festival (also May, Gelsenkirchen). June sees an appearance at the very large Sweden Rock Festival before Metalfest later the same month (Loreley, where the sound is unbelievably good). We’re hoping there might be a few shows in between to keep us fully topped up!

Later in the year there is also a new country being conquered with top billing at ProgPower in Oslo. Still thinking about that one as a possible trip…

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Achim Returns

Here’s the second half of our chat with “Staring At The Sun" video competition winner Achim Bieler.

What did you do to prepare for the shoot?

When you think of a story, normally you already have pictures in mind. You have a sense of what the action could look like and how it should be filmed. My next step is to look for locations. I knew the corridor in the basement (by the way, it’s the basement of the Athanor Akademie right in the centre of the castle of Burghausen. Not much medieval look left in that building, I know). And I knew the small wooden chapel, which is on the area of the local Youth Hostel.

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On my search for a nice riverbank, I drove down the Salzach found it, turned around and looked at a small stoney lookout tower on top of a hill. Once I stood inside it, I knew, it had to be part of the video. Next step is to think of how the action could take place in that certain area and write down some notes of where we should place the Camera.




Usually I don’t draw storyboards, but I draw a top view of the set and mark where the camera positions are, related to the movement of the actors. Then I have a list of camera positions and shots. A location always gives you new ideas.

If you think of the stones being painted by Ulrike – well, when I visited the chapel, I saw lots of painted stones inside. They must have been a project of some Youth Hostel visitors, maybe years ago. At that time I knew, I wanted Ulrike to paint herself in colors to express her dark self destructive side. And I was afraid someone could see the red paint and take it for a bad movie-blood-trick, instead of what it should be: just a symbol of blood, and real paint.

So I was looking for an action that would define the colour as a real paint, not as fake blood. The stones were the solution. With both, the locations and the story line, I did a script in which I simply wrote down the actions for each location. I knew, where to edit it compared to the lyrics, so some moments had to be timed while shooting, but most actions could have had their own timing and expression.

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What’s your favourite part?

Let’s start with the less favourite part: The Basement. Unfortunately it is a very narrow place and left us no space to put light. We had to deal with what was there. And Benny and I still wish we had had more time to create a better look. The jumping between Basement and Nature could have been better.


I do like the moment, when Ulrike is opening the door and is stepping into the forest. And everything Ulrike and Karina did at the chapel (not to mention getting rid of the paint afterwards) was a gift.


Thanks to Benny it also looks good.

So, what’s next?

Filming “March of Progress” as a whole ;-) Joking aside - but it would be fun, wouldn’t it? - well, there are so many other Prog Rock Bands who might be interested in a video too.

And then there was a development…

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We all know how good the band likes to make everything look whether its the design of a CD booklet, the addition of producer notes or the superb Paradox box collection of a few years ago. So to decide to ask Achim to shoot some extra footage with Damian is probably the best compliment that could be paid to Achim and his team.



As you will have seen Richard posted some photos I sent him from our shoot with Damian and the new video is now out. It was amazing. He was actually staying only three hours away from Burghausen. So we could invite him to shoot extra footage at the original locations.

And everything turned out perfectly. I would like to write a second part, telling you all about the shoot with Damian. And of course, I can provide some photos too. We had a stills photographer on set (I’m waiting for his footage), and I shot some behind the scenes movie footage. So there is now a new version of the music video with Damian singing. And I am trying to edit a making of too.

So you’ve seen the first version, here is the second!!! (fully Damianed up!) Again we have left it long hand and it is accessed via the excellent Prog Rock Magazine site http://www.progrockmag.com/news/video-premiere-threshold-staring-at-the-sun/

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Rewind

So with new videos, tonnes of other projects on the go and a tour almost upon us what better way to celebrate than with a review of an album from a while ago! Well, more of a story really…

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Having ventured into the world of progressive rock at a very tender age purely by accident, my exposure to the genre remained quite limited for a long while. Remember that this was a time when not everyone had internet and information was pretty scarce if you did have it. I basically discovered music by word of mouth or by discovering artists that were connected to the bands I already knew.



So this was the state of affair in my early twenties. I was regurgitating all my Genesis albums and slowly getting my feet wet with other progressive acts like Yes, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, Marillion, IQ and so on. I had known about progressive metal for a while and was a fan of early works by Dream Theater and Queensryche, however both had disappointed me and I was slowly giving up hope for progressive metal, or, to put it better, that I would ever feel the same as I did when I first heard Images and Words or Operation Mindcrime, or even Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, for that matter.

It was a time of great turmoil in my life. I had just failed my first year at University and was going through a great crisis. I was going to the same classes as the year before, wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt, showering when I felt my own odours taking me to the brink of unconsciousness and pretty much being indifferent to everything and everyone. Except music, of course! That has always been one of the passions which has been able to save me even in the darkest of moments.

So, after visiting those classes for the second year in a row and feeling no smarter, I would usually make my way to the local record and CD shops, gazing at the shelves full of music, unable to really buy anything due to lack of funds, but salivating nonetheless over the treasures I might never hear. It happened one day that I was browsing through the metal section and I accidentally picked up a CD by this band called Threshold. It was Hypothetical, their 2001 release. The sticker on the front said »RockHard album of the month«. I have never put much stock in such blatant promotional tactics, but I took a gamble even though the album was quite expensive for a financially struggling student.

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From the first moments that I put the CD on, I knew that this would be something I would come back to many times. From the sheer power of Light and Space to the dramatic developments of Ravages of Time and Narcissus and even to the catchy pop sensibilities of Keep My Head – this band was clicking for me on all fronts. Further listens kept revealing new depths and intricacies in the music, which was both technically challenging, but at the same time full of melodies that you could actually hum.

The lyrics were also something I could relate to, containing both the fantasy element to be expected in progressive music and personal insights as well.


Naturally, I investigated their catalogue further and while there was much to enjoy, Hypothetical seemed a step ahead and still holds a special place in my heart. I don’t know if it was a matter of finding me at such a moment in my life, or if the music here was just otherworldly and it would affect me regardless of my state of mind.

In a way, Threshold and in particular the album Hypothetical restored my hope in progressive metal and convinced me that it wasn’t all about how quickly you can play, but about elegance of delivery and style as well. And Threshold have heaps of that! Not only that, Threshold also helped me make it through times of great personal hardship and pieces like Narcissus actually made me take stock and reassess my life, which wasn’t so bad after all and there was hope for me in this world. The elastic band in my sweatpants was proof of that!

Hypothetical will forever hold a special place in my heart and I consider it one of the best albums in progressive metal. The genre hasn’t become my favourite in progressive music, but when I have the desire for it, Threshold and especially Hypothetical satisfy those urges quite nicely. Well done lads!

Thanks to Rok for his thoughts - of course the album has just been re-released as a “Definitive Edition”. Rok is the founder of The Rocktologist website that features daily news as well as a monthly webzine that includes a specific progressive section - and he’ll be catching up with the band when they visit Slovenia this year!

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Two Tracks

Just space for a couple in the spotlight this time round - and it’s one from each of the first two vinyl re-releases, plus a special guest!

Mother Earth

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This has always been a song that thrusts me back to places and times past. Karl tells us a bit more,

Although this one comes on Threshold’s debut album Wounded Land, the song first appeared on our second audio cassette demo release and was sold at our gigs in The Compasses. The band had gone from just playing covers, to integrating our own material into the set list. Mother Earth joined Paradox as one of the two songs written before the band were signed.

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Ah - The Compasses, 1980something or other and a song that introduced me to the word “interstices”. The rather grubby t shirt pictured comes from those heady days and was sold at about the same time as that cassette. Karl continues,



This song was largely put together from something Jon Jeary had written on acoustic with a folk tuning. I remember Jon liked Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin (due probably to his parents’ influence) and had been exploring his alternative guitar tunings. The track remains mostly as it was originally played on acoustic, with the addition of a middle section once adapted for the full band recording.

Will To Give

As promised here’s our guest contributor! But rather than us tell you about Jon Jeary’s pulsating bass and the song’s story we’ll hand over to Glynn Morgan, singer on the album.

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As far as I remember this was the second of the songs to be chosen from the three or four that I put forward to Karl and the guys to be considered for the album, not being the heaviest of the ideas, that was “Fist of Tongues" but I think the most interesting dynamically. I was more than pleased to say the least that a couple of my songs were going to be on the next Threshold album!!

Fist Of Tongues" was one of the excellent "new" songs to appear on the superb Paradox boxset a few years ago with Glynn coming in to record the vocals.

As like most of the stuff I wrote around that time I came up with the main riff and then built the track around that, bringing it in and out and also using it for the chorus. I love the idea of trying to get different textures to create the mood, so starting it off with a solid racing bass line then fold in the (backed off) guitars, add a pretty grooving drum part that together with the bass line creates momentum and the feel that will be carried through the song, then, a pinch of keyboard for extra atmosphere and simmer gently until, Smack!! The riff!!

That’s about it, the song drifts in and out of these two main parts adding some clean guitars in the verses to complement the melody. Variations of the main riff appear throughout, with the whole thing being wrapped around the bass line. Obviously Richard was responsible for the keyboard parts and Karl the final arrangement, Karl also adding the solo and the harmony guitar parts that really lift the track towards the end.

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Music aside, what of the lyrics?

Oscar Wilde quoted ‘ I can resist everything except temptation ’ and I for one have been guilty of that on more than one occasion and have to live with the consequences whether I like it or not. In the track I encroach on this subject hopefully, without giving too much away, leaving the listener to decide and perhaps relate to something that may have happened in their life.

It’s human nature to do things we know may be wrong, but we do them anyway,’ lead us not into temptation’, but many are willing to give you something you find hard to resist!


All the songs I put forward were put together on my old Vestafire 4 track portastudio, I Remember lending it to Jon Jeary, I don’t remember getting it back…

Many thanks to Glynn for taking the time to give us such a comprehensive back story to the song!

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Post Script

And that’s it for issue ten. We are hoping to catch up with Achim again to find out a bit more about his behind the scenes film and of course can’t wait to see the band hit the road again.

With that in mind don’t forget to send us your pictures of set lists, the band and of course the venues! beyond@thresh.net We also want to hear your stories so we can share them!

To help express why we are so looking forward to the live shows we caught up with Jon Patrick (we have spoken to him before when we told you a little more about the venue he is involved with, The Peel) to ask why Threshold were chosen for the second edition of Celebr8 this year.

Celebr8.2 is a major line up. Having worked with Threshold many times as well as Damian’s various projects (including Maiden United), and with the long awaited and fantastic new Threshold album released it was an obvious choice.

Enough said!

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Well it’s about time we gathered together the various pictures we have been sent. Here are some more venues. The Peel, de Pul and Biebob including a fairly infamous penguin.

Do we need to remind everyone?

Well just in case - we want a picture of EVERY venue Threshold has ever played. It could be a picture you took at the time or it could be a venue you happen to be at from the past.

But we want your picture not just some random one from the net!

Thanks to all the contributors - and sorry we’ve been soooooo slow to post these!!! Beyond Issue TEN is almost here!


Welcome to Issue Nine…


Welcome back!!!



It’s been a while. In fact it’s been a year!

Issue Eight saw us cover the last few tour dates associated with Dead Reckoning and for Threshold there’s been plenty to do since. New album anyone?

Add to that more from Kyrbgrinder, League Of Lights, My Soliloquy and pretty much everything Damian is linked too, it’s been busy.

This issue aims to bring you up to date and more importantly let you know just a little bit more about what is coming…


The trailer


You have hopefully feasted your eyes and ears on the album trailer that came out earlier this month. We sneaked a few questions into Karl after we had confirmed that the song you can hear is album opener “Ashes”. We’re loving that riff that starts as Karl speaks which now it’s out as a radio edit you will be able to hear clearly!!!

If you have no idea what we are talking about then check out the official trailer here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AH4EWifqLk (long hand so it’s easy to paste!)

Over to Karl…



So where did you get your photo shoot done this time?

The photos were taken near to where Damian’s boat used to be on the River Wey, Guildford.

And the van movie?

That is taken on Steve’s phone when we were late for Metal Camp in Slovenia. They picked us up from Venice airport and drove like crazy to the show.

Our flight (captained by Paddy Barrett who is Nick’s brother from Pendragon) was delayed because of flooding at Heathrow. We ended up 10 minutes late for stage, jumped out of the van and started playing.

We always try to bring you that bit of extra information you won’t find in a regular interview!

And what about the gig footage?

That’s at de Boerderij from the balcony by someone called Vladan!

In the crowd at that show? If you spot yourself let us know beyond@thresh.net


Karl


Let’s stick with the man that is so important to so much that we love about Threshold.

Mr Groom has of course been right at the heart of the new album, recorded as it was at Thin Ice. It’s a fairly prolific studio so it’s probably just as well that he hasn’t been out on the road with Shadowland for a while. We caught up with him very briefly to pose a couple of questions about March Of Progress…

Recent albums have been composed by you and Richard - so how was it this time with some of the others joining the writing team?

One of the main differences on this record is that there are five writers. Hopefully this brings some extra variation to the album, because we have 75 minutes of music after such a break. Steve worked with Richard, with Damian and Pete writing their own compositions. I think the time between releases allowed some new ideas and the additional writers was good too.



Looking at the packages being created can you tell us anything about them? For example will there be “producer notes” as have featured in the past releases?

There are two different versions of the CD. The special edition will include a bonus track, liner notes and extra content. I am still not sure exactly how it looks because nobody in the band has seen the final cover as yet.

Also there will be a very special double gatefold vinyl edition of the album. Jon always said we couldn’t consider ourselves properly signed until we had an LP!


Of the new songs are there any you are particularly looking forward to live?

I will be glad to play anything live. It’s always hard to co-ordinate everyone’s schedule, but hopefully the beginning of next year will see a tour.



Dead Reckoning was toured extensively so do you envisage similar schedules or is it too early to say?

We enjoyed touring during that period after Dead Reckoning and it helped shape this lineup well. Everything will depend on what comes up and who is available as usual. Personally I also hope to make our tenth studio album as a priority, so not such a long tour as last time.



Do you think that counts as an exclusive?

Rather than have the normal eclectic mix of articles we thought we’d do something different. No set lists, live reviews, tour stories and not even any tracks in the spotlight. You’re probably only interested in the new album so we don’t want to spoil the surprise!

Instead we’ve tried to throw a few questions at everyone else in the band. Here’s how we got on…

Steve


About all we knew about Steve’s activities can be seen in the album trailer!

So of course we tracked him down too.

The last issue of Beyond was a year ago - so what have you been up to since?



Goodness me, that means it’s been about a year since the band last got together to play some live shows ! Time does indeed fly.

Well, since then, I guess the new Threshold album has been my main musical focus. I got the demos for the new album back in the Autumn last year.




I like to spend a bit of time just listening, absorbing the flavour, bonding with the tracks before diving right in. Once I’ve taken in the tracks, then comes the challenge of getting some of the more technical parts of the songs under my fingers. I guess I spent a fair chunk of time doing that! There’s always a few challenging surprises!

I try to be quite conscientious when it comes to learning all the material upfront and having some ideas ready when I go into the studio; it always makes things go smoother.

I put down the bass with Rich in his studio last December around Christmas time. We managed to get everything recorded in three days! That was hard work, but Rich is a very patient calm producer which always makes the whole process very comfortable. We also had some rather tasty homemade soup.

Other than Threshold, I’ve also been working with Trevor Wells, a fine guitarist, on a new Jazz Fusion, project called Jigsaw which he’s putting together with his writing partner Caroline Rawlinson. This kind of music will always be one of my big passions and so I was really happy that Trevor asked me to get involved (you can check out some of the material on, www.jigsawontheweb.com). There are all sorts of influences in the music coming from funk, latin, rock and prog all cleverly fused together.

How free were you to add your own mark on the songs for the new Threshold album?

I do always get the freedom to add or expand ideas with new Threshold songs. Initially, I spend some time just listening to the demos and begin to create rhythmic and melodic ideas in my head. Then I sit down and work out a few of those ideas on the bass. Usually, the riff based lines and more complex parts of the songs are played as written, but I often might adapt a groove to sit more comfortably under my fingers.


I guess the sound and style of the band members is also in mind when new songs are written; on a couple of songs Karl wrote in space for some solo bass parts. He came up with some parts which I adapted and I added a few of my own too.

Early last year I sent a few riff ideas to Rich one of which he weaved into the “The Hours”, so it’s great to have made a small writing contribution to this album !

A lot of ideas also get created spontaneously in the studio and it’s always nice to hear how they work in the finished track. I hadn’t heard any of what Johanne had put down until I recorded the bass with Rich, so all of the runs I play with the drums were all created spontaneously during the session. I love doing that, although they all usually change when we play it all live !

So are there any songs you are particularly looking forward to playing live?

Well I can’t really give too much away, but there are a few which are going to be fun and challenging to play live such as "Liberty Complacency Dependency" which is really epic and atmospheric and "Staring at the Sun" which is complex and melodic. I thought Pete’s and Damian’s songs also turned out great so looking forward to playing those too and of course I must say “The Hours”, but I guess I’m a little biased there!

Pete


So on to Pete “many bands” Morten! We are yet to find any evidence that Pete sleeps day to day and in fact we believe he actually goes on tour for a rest. Somehow we managed to pin him down to get a very quick catch up…

The last issue of Beyond was a year ago - so what have you been up to since?



Hi Justin. hmmm, apart from moving house yet again you mean ha ha.. well, as you know I’ve been very busy writing for and contributing to the new Threshold album, as well as finishing up the new My Soliloquy album. I’ve also been in the studio with Nightmare World laying down more vocals for our as yet untitled debut album.




How free were you to add your own mark on the songs for the new Threshold album? (as in the ones you didn’t compose)

Well regarding the rest of the Threshold album, my part was relatively small, I was invited to write 3 main guitar solos for songs that Karl and Rich had written. But I had no input on song structure etc etc for their songs, as they were already fully realized before I got to them. Much like how I presented my songs to the rest of the band. So yea, their songs were completed, and just needed my solos to finish them off.

And anything you can share about the ones that have a full writing credit for you?

The two songs I’ve written for March of Progress are ‘Coda' and 'Divinity’. Even though I purposely tailored my somewhat quirky writing style to fit more in keeping with the Threshold sound, it was still nice to see my songs take shape as the other members added their stamp, thus, further still, cementing them into the Threshold signature sound.



For weeks all I was listening to were my demo versions of the tracks, which I’d sung on, so by the time I heard Damian’s take on them, it was a little strange at first. I had to take my ‘demo head’ off so to speak, and look at the final recordings from a new perspective. But the more I heard, the more I liked what I was hearing.

I think, save for a few minor points with regards to certain inflections on some words or how certain lines were expressed by Damian, I was actually pleased with his interpretation of my lyrics. “Coda" has a homage to Mac in the lyrics too, see if you can spot it when you hear it!

We keep getting little snippets about My Soliloquy - what’s the latest?

The latest on the My Soliloquy album is that IT IS DONE!!!!!! ha ha. All that’s left is the final mix and mastering to do, which I started on the 16th of July. Man, it’s been two years of hard slog. I’ve written, arranged, and recorded everything myself, save for the drums of course, but I still overlooked the composition and recording of them at every stage to make sure they were right and how I wanted them.

Making an album is a huge undertaking even for a whole band, but for one person, hmm, I wouldn’t advise it, particularly if you value your sanity. It’s just nice to have come out the other side and to have something I’m really happy with to show for it. Unless you’ve made an album like this, and over such a long period of time, it’s hard to comprehend what it’s like to live with something as intensive as making an album, day-in/day-out for two years.

It just consumed nearly every waking and sleeping thought, as I agonised over every little detail of every instrument, lyric and vocal line. Then add to the mix, rendering the artwork which I laboured over with the same degree of intensity. So with all that and figuring out how I was going to pay for it all, is it any wonder I have a few extra grey hairs now ha ha.

However, it was worth it as I’m very happy with how it sounds, and feel it is my best work to date. I’m very proud of it and I look forward to sharing it with you all soon.

As ever some very extensive answers from Pete!

Johanne


Well you may have noticed that Johanne’s comments in the trailer were text only - and we’ve had the same problem getting in touch!



The man behind the Threshold drums was last seen asleep following the latest Kyrbgrinder show - have you seen their schedule in the last year?


They’ve got a few more ahead too so if you want to see where check the “Gigs coming up” page that will be in the panel on the right of this page. Maybe we can find something about Johanne later…






Richard


League Of Lights have been the big story in the last year for Richard. A debut gig, which saw a unique combination of the Salvation Army band with choir and guest vocals from Glynn Morgan, vocalist for Threshold’s second release, Psychedelicatessen.

The gig was in Staines (a town name recently changed to Staines Upon Thames!) which isn’t far from the Threshold stomping ground of yesteryear.

And since? Well on 9th July this year they released the single “Forever" with Glynn again guesting. We caught up with Richard to ask him a couple of things…

Looking back over the last year there has been some League Of Lights activity - a live show and a new single. So can we expect more shows and a second album?



I really hope so. Our new single is hopefully a taste of more things to come. Glynn sounds great on it and we’re hoping to do more recordings and shows with him. (if you haven’t checked it out yet you can find the video and order details here)

It’s one of many acts that Threshold band members have been busy with so how has it been trying to arrange everyone’s schedules for recording?

I think everyone was mostly available when needed so I don’t think it caused any problems!

Recent albums have seen you and Karl take on the writing so how was it having so many new contributors?



It felt a bit more like Psychedelicatessen, lots of different writers and combinations. Most of March of Progress is still Groom/West though, so there’s quite a lot of continuity from our last two albums. But all the other guys have done a great job fitting in to the Threshold way of things.

Dead Reckoning was toured extensively so do you envisage a similar long schedule of shows?

I hope so, I’m looking forward to it.



Damian


Who have we forgotten? Well forgotten isn’t quite the right word is it? To complete the set we also caught up with Threshold’s front man ahead of his third studio album with the band.

We know you have been kept fairly busy since the last Threshold shows so could you give us a quick up date? How has recording new material with Maiden United gone?

The Maiden United album ‘Across the Seven Seas’ is sounding fantastic! I can’t believe I’m actually so excited about my ‘Dutch metal-acoustic cover band’. I love the guys, they are the dog’s, I could hang out with them all the nights of the week but I never expected us to be producing music I like doing as much as this.

And of course Headspace - what do you think of the reception to the album so far?



So far so good. I think the album is great and the musicianship exceptional. It has a lot of me in it, and I am looking forward to getting my teeth into the live work and next album.

You’ve also managed a few solo shows - what’s ahead? Any chance of a return to the DWB touring?

Although I have an album’s worth of material ready, I am writing a fresh

album as we speak working on a different approach. Many plans ahead. I’d really like to get a band out again on the road with the solo material.


Coming back to Threshold, how did this recording compare with your last album with the band?

Many flash backs, but very different with all our experiences over the past 15 years.

Thinking of the songs are there any in particular you are looking forward to playing live?

To be honest, I am more fearful than looking forward to playing them live. I thought Headspace was testing but this is going to be a lot of work and expertise to represent live. Come watch us do it!

Damian - fearful? Surely not!


For the next issue we want to hear from YOU - show us your copies of March Of Progress, tell us what you think, which songs you want to hear live and if you have written a review send us a link.

We’ll then share it with the whole Threshold world!!! beyond@thresh.net


Something extra…


We did say earlier that we wouldn’t have any of the usual mixed bag of articles but we’ve got space for a couple to give you a flavour of the sort of things we like to find out and then share. Over to Astrid de Ronde who has helped us out before!

Many of our readers will be well aware of Damian’s various releases recently and one of those was a compilation album of his solo work, “I Thought The World Was Listening”. And Astrid added her part too…

Last year I got a message from Mark van den Hoven from Blacklake. (responsible for the sleeve design and more). He said he liked the pictures of Damian I’d posted and asked if he could use some of them for the booklet of Damian’s then still forthcoming compilation album.



I was completely blown away by this, I mean, what a great honour to be asked, isn’t it? A couple of weeks later he asked me to send the files of a few pictures and then I didn’t hear from him again for a little while, until the magic e-mail came. He was going to use one of the pictures for the CD and it would also be used for the tour poster!

I was over the moon! At this moment in time I didn’t know which of the pictures it would be, so I was very curious. About a week before the release I saw the poster so I sent Mark an e-mail to thank him and tell him what a great job Blacklake had done on the picture, as the original looks okay, but not as wonderful as on the poster.

To my surprise he told me that not only was this picture going to be used for the inlay of the CD and the tour poster, but also for the re-release of ‘Live in rehearsal’! I think you can imagine how proud I was when I was given a copy of the CD. So unbelievably cool!! Not bad for an amateur eh?

Not bad at all. And to think Astrid’s photos first got published here! Probably.


And another something extra!


Astrid also saw her photography in demand for another band associated with Threshold, Kyrbgrinder. So whilst we haven’t managed to catch up with Johanne we do at least have a recent picture!

I had a trip booked to London back in April and a few weeks before the trip I heard that Kyrbgrinder was going to play in Southampton. I’d seen them there before, I knew where it was, I love Kyrbgrinder, I had a mission!

Anyway, for a while I had been nagging Kyrbgrinder’s manager Nick Preece about the band’s promo pictures so Nick challenged me. He said he could do with new updated promo pictures and would like me to take them when I was in Southampton. I was honoured, but also very nervous.



The only time I’d done a photoshoot was with a few kids and that had been a while. But I did take this task seriously and so I wanted to prepare myself and practice first. A week before I went to the UK I caught up with Steve, who lives in Holland, and lucky me, he had some family members over and I’d brought my camera!

It was great fun to have this kind of practice. The pictures I took were not very good at all, but I learned a lot from this experience and was glad I was at least a little bit prepared.

The first thing I did when I arrived at The Firehouse was trying to find a good location for the photo shoot. The alley next to the venue seemed to do the trick. Then all I had to do was to get the band there. Lucky there’s only three of them!

Even though one of them is constantly hungry, they were very cooperative and patient with me, this nervous wreck. I tried different poses, including the boy band pose. All lots of fun and a great experience.

I took about 80 pictures and must admit I’m not overly excited about all of them. Nick said he only needed one picture, he was happy. It ended up as Kyrbgrinder’s profile picture on Reverbnation.

Well we’ve got our hands on one of those pictures - who wants to see some more?

Post Script


That’s it for our returning issue. The radio edit version of “Ashes" is out and about and it really isn’t long to wait for the whole album. Once you get your hands and ears on it we want to hear from you!!!

We want to see pictures of you with your copy of March Of Progress. We want to know what you love about it and which songs you can’t wait to hear live. And anything else you can think of!

Until the next time, enjoy the album!


Beyond


The radio edit of album opener “Ashes" is now available. The long hand link to the label’s site is

http://www.nuclearblast.de/en/label/music/band/about/71049.threshold.html

where you can download this song for free!!!

You can also tune in to The Rock Show at Generate Radio from 8pm UK time today 26th July to hear it and more Threshold. (www.generateradio.com)

And don’t forget that the next issue of Beyond should be ready at the end of July!!!

The band have just released a trailer for MARCH OF PROGRESS, the new album due to reach us on 31st August. We’ve left the link long hand so you can share it more easily!!!



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AH4EWifqLk


New issue of Beyond!!!


Yes that’s right - all inspired by news of the album we will be working on a new issue very soon aiming for the end of July.

We need your input - pics, thoughts, ideas, reviews of old shows or albums, why you first listened to the band, anything! beyond@thresh.net

New album soon…


Hot off the press - the new album by THRESHOLD, March of Progress, will be with us 31st August.

You can check out the full story here http://www.thresh.net/index.htm

It’s Competition Time!!!


You’ll find the whole of issue 8 further down the page - if you can only find this then just click on the word “Beyond” at the very top and it will show you the whole rolling history, page after page! The following is an extract from that issue…

Before we go, do you remember the photo competition that happened a short while before Beyond was created? Well it’s definitely time for a new one. But this time with a difference…



Inspired by the interpretive dance of Johanne James and probably combined with too many hours travelling with not much else to do but think, comes the next Threshold competition - your picture of your interpretation of one of the band’s songs.



“Just what does that mean?” we hear you cry! Well we want you to send us ANY artistic interpretation of a Threshold song. It could be a simple photograph that literally shows the song title, or it could be a deeper interpretation of the song’s lyrics or its sentiment. Alternatively you might want to draw, paint or even sculpt! If you do we just want a picture of your work not the original item! In short send us a picture that has a caption that is a Threshold song title.

You can pick absolutely any Threshold song title from any of the albums and the Paradox box set as long as it was written by Threshold band members past or present. Then just get creative. Please remember nothing obscene, offensive or what would be against most forums in the normal world!

And the prize? We haven’t even worked how we will judge them yet let alone a prize! But we do hope to make it worth your effort! (but don’t spend any money!)

When you have something please send it to beyond@thresh.net DO NOT POST IT ANYWHERE ON THE INTERNET as we don’t want the judges to see it until the last moment! We probably need to limit this to three entries per person (unless you are very persuasive) and we will set the end of 2011 as the closing date.

Beyond

Welcome to Issue Eight…


Welcome back!!!



Every time we count the number of issues we are surprised - and as this issue shows we simply couldn’t do it without your support. So a big thank you but also a reminder - we want more, more, more!

We really enjoy trawling around looking for things but would love to have life a little easier. So if you have taken shots of the band let us know that we can use them, maybe send us a link. We also want to receive your stories about live shows, meeting the band or how you got into Threshold.

And please don’t forget we want photos of set lists and especially pics of the venues Threshold play or have played. We want yours though, not just some random one from the web! Sorry to keep banging that same old drum.

Talking of drums, we kick off with a short insight on the Johanne James kit. And trust us - it really is short of much insight! He’s almost as protective of the information as he is of that spare snare that we have once had the joy of guarding.

Next we are going to have a quick look at yet another amazing fan item. We’ve had two cars and some tattoos - now something else.



Then we have a few Threshold friends contributing various thoughts about the recent dates Threshold have played. These bring to a close the live life of Dead Reckoning as we all look forward to a new album. Then we take a closer look at one of Threshold’s newest venues.

To close - well of course some more tracks in the spotlight. We’ve given up on trying to do them randomly so have picked three from albums that haven’t been looked at for a while and then tried to tie in with the most recent setlist. Sort of. Well two of them!

Enjoy!

Beyond


(note - quotes or interviews are all in this colour and please remember that all pictures are the property of the person who took them so please ask for permission if you want to use them)


Johanne James…on drums


It seemed like the right time to catch up with Johanne and his drumkit. We all know the noise he makes but tucked away at the back, sometimes smothered in dry ice, just what exactly is in that engine room?



From pigeons to cymbals, doctors to monkeys, here is a little more from the Threshold noise machine! Please note, getting information from Johanne can be a bit like prising a limpet from a rock.

A stubborn limpet!

So Johanne, what’s your current kit?

I now use a black plastic wrap Premier kit. 20” bass drum, 10x6”,12x7” toms and a 16” floor tom. The snare drum is a Premier wood shell piccolo 14x4”.

I use whatever cymbals I can get hold of that are cheap and sound reasonably good.

They are mainly Stagg as I don’t see the point of spending hundreds of pounds on something I will inevitably break within a few months.


It’s an interesting point about the cymbals. Catch up with Johanne after a show and he’s also sure to tell you how many sticks he has got through. And how expensive they are! Presumably a Stagg endorsement won’t be on the cards as it would just cost them too much!



People regularly comment that it isn’t that big a kit so how did you go about selecting what you have?

Well my kit used to be huge. 27 piece. My brother and I would take ages setting it up. We discovered that not only did we waste so much time


assembling this monstrosity, it didn’t actually make me play any better, I just threw my arms in any direction and I was bound to hit something.

We literally stared at each other one evening and the connection was made. Get rid of it!! I ended up playing just four drums, three cymbals and two hi hats! I realized that in fact I played much better using less than I did when I had a kit that resembled something like an airplane cockpit!!

Johanne flying a plane? Interesting idea.

We’ve already (back in issue 3 I think) asked about influences and got a long list. But is there a drummer that you really noticed first, whether they became an influence or not?



I heard Ian Paice from Deep Purple and thought to myself. “Wow! I wanna do that” So I did. But, my parents wanted me to be a doctor!

The only trouble with that, is that I would have experimented with strange animals. You know attaching pigeons to monkeys to see if they would fly? Stuff like that! Best I stick to drums eh? At least the animal kingdom will be safe? For the time being anyway? Ha ha ha ha!!!

We’ll let that soak in for a few seconds.

Johanne’s jumbled animal creations do develop as a conversation with him progresses but for some reason they always come back to pigeon assisted flying monkeys.

But let’s get this back on track with one for the drum freaks - what is your favourite bit of kit and what is the most important?

For both that would be the snare drum, as you can solo on it all day long! If you know how, that is.



One final question - having watched a fellow drummer sit open mouthed in the wings as you played at Fused, do you have a word or two of advice for aspiring drummers?

No!

Ever generous…

Many thanks to Johanne for his revealing (?) answers! Perhaps it’s best that he stays behind his drum kit a while longer.



New fan item


We know a lot of you may have seen this on Facebook but we wanted to share this with the wider world - Iris Botz has just updated her ‘phone (no free advertising here!) and this is the result.



So how did you do it?

It was fairly easy to do as I still had the Threshold logo from the mugs I did some time ago, so I only had to make my mind up about the colours. Then I looked on the internet for a company where you can design your own phone case.

First I picked an American one but they didn’t want to do it because of copyright issues, then I found a German company and within a few days I got my Thresh-phone :D


Why did you pick that design?

As I don’t go anywhere without my phone I wanted to have a more personal cover not one that everybody else has too and Threshold is my favourite band, I have lots of great memories of Threshold gigs and many special moments, so for me it was an obvious choice.

And it was a good one, it makes me smile everytime I look at it!


Anything else you want to say now you are briefly in the spotlight?

I’m looking forward to many more gigs!

Well we can’t disagree with that!


On The Road…again


Well it would make sense to start in Derby just as the band did. But despite our best efforts no-one came forward to tell us all about it. We did manage to get our hands on a couple of set list shots but that’s it! And even though it was the nearest gig to Beyond HQ we didn’t make it either.



Next up was The Peel, a venue that has seen Threshold before as well as DWB and Kyrbgrinder. We covered it a few issues ago and know what a great venue it is. Damian certainly seems to like it!

Fortunately this is where the stories start to come in! First up is Astrid who seems to manage to do something to appear in nearly every issue! This time it was a trip over the water (or rather under) to see the band.





Astrid part one


Threshold’s gig at The Peel was a great excuse to treat myself to a trip to my favourite country and to see my favourite band. After a comfortable Eurostar trainride I arrived at St. Pancras early in the afternoon, a good friend was already waiting for me.



We travelled to Kingston-Upon-Thames together, checked into our hotel and headed for the nearest Real Ale pub where we were soon joined by the Beyond family. After a wonderful Druid’s Head meal we headed for The Peel.

On our way there we passed a restaurant and thought we saw some guys we knew. We were right! After saying hello to Johanne, Pete and Karl we got chucked out because we made too much noise and continued our journey to the venue. (note - I would say the owner looked worried and the rest of the customers confused!)

Of course not without a pubstop :) We arrived at The Peel about the same time as Johanne and Pete. We took some pictures of the lovely venue, admired Johanne’s ‘new’ car and went in. I had been told that The Peel was quite a small place, but it didn’t feel like that at all. It was fairly packed and there was a really nice atmosphere. I saw a lot of familiar faces, some I’d met before and some I met for the first time in real life.

It’s a growing theme and hopefully Beyond does its small part in helping to form that ever growing Threshold family!



We found a decent spot and what followed was a brilliant performance. How wonderful not to have to stand through a boring opening band, but just
THRESHOLD THRESHOLD THRESHOLD
It was so good to see them in their own country. But of course even two hours seems way too short when you’re enjoying yourself so much. I was happy I had another two gigs to look forward to, but this was definitely a brilliant start.


Well we’ll leave Astrid for now…


Conny


The UK was done for this mini tour with two dates to come in Uden, Holland (at de Pul, familiar Threshold territory) and on the Friday of the Night of The Prog festival at Loreley (Germany, a new one for Threshold but in its sixth edition). Conny Kopnick takes up the story…

On Monday 4th of July the Belgium show was cancelled and I was shocked. I had planned to go to the Loreley gig and stay the night in Belgium and had already booked the youth hostel and got a day off from work.



After a few minutes I began to think it over. Is it possible to get to Uden on July 7th? Actually I had to work but could I get a free day? I called my Thresh-friend Iris (presumably on her new ‘phone!) because she was planning to go to the Belgium show as well.



I was glad she didn’t have to work! So I managed to get another day off and arranged to stay at the same place as Iris for the night! Lucky me!


On Thursday I caught up with Iris early and we were soon heading for Uden :) Everything went fine and we had some time to spend in the little town of Uden. After lunch and a nice cup of coffee we went to de Pul and Threshold were already there. They were getting ready for the show and I had the chance to talk to the guys a bit.

The concert itself was amazing as is every Threshold gig :) Iris and I eventually got home safely and I had just about four hours of sleep!



So on friday I waited at Iris’ place for a letter with my ticket for the Loreley gig that I had got from eBay. It was cheap and the guy promised to send it via express mail. So I waited and tried to reach him. I was getting really afraid of not getting to the Loreley gig until an email from this eBay-guy reached me. He said he had no time to send the ticket. I was nearly freaking out! He sold it and he couldn’t send it? Come on! You can’t be serious!

After this shock I packed my things and left Iris’ with a pain in my stomach.

I was unsure if I would see the last Threshold gig before they break for the new album! So first I concentrated on driving to Loreley. First thing I found on the road? A huge traffic jam! I thought it couldn’t get worse. But it could… it took one hour to get through the traffic and I reached St.Goar just in time. For all that don’t know St.Goar it’s on the other side of the Rhine to Loreley and I had to drive south a few kilometres.




As I reached the bottom of this hill I recognised an awful smell. I tried to use my brakes and almost nothing happened! Had I lost my brakes? Well they were at least melted down and they began to smell! I really felt like crying a river…



Luckily I was able to call my dad and he kept on telling me that it will be alright soon. I should just stay calm and let the brakes get cold again. After a while the brakes worked again and I got on the ferry and drove up to the Loreley amphitheatre. But I still had no ticket. So I waited for my friend Pauline and I told her that I had no ticket. Somehow she arranged one for me and I was able to get in! Bless her!


I saw an amazing Threshold show again. Damian was jumping into the audience by the third song and everyone was surprised. Those who know Damian wasn’t…. ;) But he really reached nearly every person in the audience and this gig turned into a gigantic one. I really hope that there are a lot more Threshold fans now!



After saying good-bye to all my friends I got home safely. Happy and with brakes that worked!

So there are some thoughts from Uden and Loreley and it sounds like Conny, and a whole load more new fans at Loreley, had a great time with the band.

It was amazing to see a crowd that was quiet at the start of the gig really come to life - hard not to when Damian comes and stands next to you!

Time to return to Astrid…


Astrid part two


When it was announced that Threshold would play at the German Night Of The Prog festival I thought I just had to go there. The rest of the lineup didn’t appeal to me at all and I found it quite far and expensive for just one interesting band, but hey, we were talking about Threshold here! However when Threshold announced that they were also going to play in Uden and Tongeren the decision of skipping NOTP was more easily made.



Uden is not too far from where I live (well under two hours!), Tongeren quite a bit further, so I booked a hotel for the Beyonds and myself. And then the Tongeren gig was moved to As. Luckily I could cancel the reservation of the hotel and I booked us a new room a bit closer to the venue. And then, as we all know, the Belgian gig got cancelled.

After a couple of hours of panic and confusion and some e-mails, text messages and ‘phone calls things developed very quickly. Mister Beyond managed to get us passes for NOTP and Mrs Beyond booked us into a hotel not far from the festival site. Things were looking good again!

Justin, Liz and I arrived at De Pul in Uden early afternoon shortly after the band got there. We were welcomed by Steve, Johanne and Damian and before I knew it Johanne had sneaked into the driver’s seat and I was standing next to my own car! Something was wrong with that picture :) After the van was unloaded I got the very important job of helping Johanne set up his drumkit. I don’t think I was doing a very good job, but he was very patient and I was told to stop saying sorry! It was great fun to see what goes on before a show. You never realise that when you go and see a band, do you?



Anyway, after some sitting about, a walk, food and more food the time had finally come to install ourselves in front of the stage and all we had to do next was wait impatiently through the opening band. Then it was FINALLY time for Threshold.



They played the same setlist as at The Peel. The photographers amongst us will agree that it was almost impossible to take decent pictures of Richard and Johanne as they were completely in the dark most of the time.


Good thing we could hear them very well! The sound was superb and the band looked like they were having great fun. And so was the audience. It is a shame that this was their last full show the year, as the NOTP festival set would be slightly shorter.

After the gig there was plenty of time for everyone to get stuff signed, take pictures and just have a chat. And they were off!



The following day we had quite a drive ahead of us, but the scenery got more beautiful the closer we got to Loreley. You almost get the feeling that everyone in that area lives in a castle! We were at the Loreley Amphitheatre a short while before they opened the gates, picked up our passes and I did a happy dance for getting a photo pass (thank you!!!).

We were truly amazed by the beautiful amphitheatre, the stunning view and the fab weather.




Like I said before I wasn’t very keen on the lineup of this festival, but must admit that I quite liked the first band, Martigan from Germany. The second band was a different story, all I want to say is that we have Saturday’s ProgPower lunchbreak sorted! (sorry!) We got a little bit worried because there was no sign of the Threshold guys yet and Justin was on guitar duties again, so he needed to be backstage at some point.




Luckily they did arrive in plenty of time to set up their gear. I watched Threshold’s gig from the photo pit. It was just so wonderful! A very energetic performance, smiling faces all around and Damian got plenty of exercise running into the crowd several times.


I am sure that Threshold gained a lot more fans at Night of the Prog.


After the gig our “press” passes got Liz and me through to the backstage where we had (some wonderful) dinner with all the bands. What a fantastic end to a fantastic adventure. Thanks to everyone involved for making these the best days of 2011 for me!


Well before we can go forward we are just going to have to go backwards And I don’t mean to just a few weeks ago…

Liz


Two nights ago I was standing on the rail of the magnificent Loreley Amphitheatre watching the members of Threshold bustling across the stage setting up their instruments. As the ever-enthusiastic Damian took a pre-gig run through the photographers pit and up to the rail to greet the fans, it struck me as quite extraordinary that just a few years ago I’d have chosen to spend an evening watching paint dry over what I now know was certain to be another amazing night in the company of this tremendous band of musicians.



So, how does someone whose musical tastes have spent almost thirty years firmly rooted in New Jersey rock, folk rock and that more recent brand of American rock that’s dubiously referred to as ‘punk’ leap to the world of heavy progressive metal?



I first came across Threshold 18 years ago. Theirs were the cassettes, ancient T shirts and shards of cymbal that arrived at my flat when my husband moved in. These relics came from his teenage years following the first incarnation of the band playing grimy sounding pubs through the South East of England and arrived with tales of guitarists piggy-backing on singer’s shoulders, audiences standing on and sticking to pool tables and something to do with ceiling fans. All this washed over me and happily the cassettes were too precious to ever get any airplay.



My husband lost touch with the progress of the band but in the mid 90s, after a trip to the local record shop, he returned home gleefully clutching a couple of Threshold CDs. And so began years of what I considered to be interminable torture each time we took a lengthy car journey. Given that somewhere along the line we’d moved 400 miles from family and friends, lengthy car journeys were a frequent feature of our lives.

Our travel rule of ‘my CD, your CD’ became for me, ‘my CD, chance for a sleep’.



It would seem that I’d fall asleep on his CD only to wake up an hour later as the latest social commentary I’d dropped off to was still going on and on and on, oh, and on. I was firmly decided that progressive metal was not for me.


Despite all that and because I must have been a dutiful wife once, I eventually agreed to go along to a gig at The Peel in 2008. I didn’t really know a single song but something must have seeped into my brain on those endless car trips as I found myself singing along to snatches of songs and just a couple of days later I was caught singing the Slipstream chorus as I walked through the door.



And now, some 3 years later I’ve delighted in watching Threshold play in Holland, Germany, the UK and while I may not know every complex and thoughtful lyric, punch the air in perfect time with Johanne’s pounding drums or faultlessly air guitar to Karl and Pete’s sublime solos I now find myself bobbling (dancing would be too fine a word) and singing along to large swathes of every set.

Not being one to analyse why I like or dislike music I can’t explain why this change has come about. But I do know that at Loreley, as I watched Damian raging through the


crowd testing the limits of the wireless mic to the max, listened to his stunning voice soaring through that spectacular venue, caught Johanne and Steve’s eyes for a moment and was rewarded with beaming smiles, was carried away on another extraordinary guitar solo, delighted in seeing Richard play not obscured by a microphone and later chatted with some of my wonderful fellow Threshold fans and the band, I felt part of something very, very special.




So, that’s it, you’re now stuck with me as part of the Threshold family. To borrow shamelessly from my other family in New Jersey, I can’t resist saying that when the next tour is announced “I’ll meet you further on up the road”

Phew! Three great stories from very different perspectives and we hope you enjoyed them as much as we did. We are also grateful that we didn’t have to write our own diary this issue!


Venue spotlight


It’s already been mentioned three times in the tour stories above but we have to say something about the Loreley venue and any visitors to Night of the Prog or other events there would agree that it’s fantastic.



It’s set on the east side of the river Rhine but not exactly on the banks - rather many metres above the water as can clearly be seen. It’s a strange experience looking at that view one second and the stage of a rock festival the next (smoke from the giant grill permitting).



Better still is the stage and viewing area. The stage itself has projections similar to castle battlements that just lent themselves to the adventures of Pete and Karl but the seating area is something else altogether. It stretches back up a steep slope that first of all gives everyone a perfect view but secondly means the sound travels perfectly.



It was amazing to stand at the top and still feel like your ears were in the first few rows! And this sort of format meant that when Damian went for his several forays into the crowd the band could actually see him in the crowd for a change instead of just hear him!



We asked him about using a mic that far out from the stage…

Oh. I’m sure they normally work that far away. Didn’t someone check?

Well that would have meant someone knew he was going to go that far!

Loreley is the one of most astounding venues we’ve ever stood in and it’s a great addition to the Threshold list. Don’t forget that we want to get a pic (from you, not an anonymous web one) of EVERY venue Threshold has ever played. It can be an old venue that you have just taken a pic of or a photo taken at the time.


ThreeTracks


Now things are coming to a close it’s time for a little bit of focus on some of the music from albums past. We’ve got another three tracks in the spotlight.



First up is Angels from, of course, Clone, an album that for some inexplicable reason seems to be a well kept secret. But what of the song?

Well fitting the general theme of the album Angels seems to be a track that was a bit of a construct and an assembling of parts, as Richard explains,



Angels was a song that was started by Karl Groom. He’d written the beginnings of a song which included the verse and chorus riffs, and if I recall it also had a long atmospheric solo at the beginning which never made it to the final recording. Nick Midson had also written a number of riffs that helped to form the middle section of the song.



Karl concurs,

Angels was a rare collaboration in the early days between Nick, Rich and myself. I had started writing a song with a long solo at the beginning and never really found a suitable arrangement to complete it. The verse, pre chorus and chorus are as you hear them on the final version.

Then the whole slower mid section with solos was the material that Nick had for another incomplete song.




At this point we handed it all over to Richard and he put them together whilst writing the lyrics before it made the cut for Clone. The track was a live favourite for quite a long time and it would be good to play something again from Clone with Damian singing.


How we’d all love that!!! Rich further explains how he then gathered up those different parts,

I put the pieces together and added the melody and lyrics to be part of bassist Jon Jeary’s overall Clone story. Jon had put together a strong lyrical concept for the album on Freaks, The Latent Gene, Lovelorn, Life’s Too Good and Voyager II. I added a rather different thread to the story on the other songs which I hope didn’t blur his original concept too much.

Angels - Track 2 on Clone, 1998, at 6:42


Next we are going to come a lot more up to date with a track from Dead Reckoning and the one that fulfills our commitment to include something from the recent set list.

Again Richard explains how Hollow fits into the longer back story as well as being a great song in its own right.



Hollow was the third part of an unofficial trilogy of songs called The Uncertainty of Autumn. Part one was Flags and Footprints (from Subsurface), which talks about fading hopes and dreams and coming to terms with growing older. Part two gets a little darker with Static (also from Subsurface) where God’s trying to get through but I’m not hearing.

So what of Hollow's part in the story?


It wasn’t until a conversation a long time later that I realised I’d never concluded the trilogy, where hope is restored and the story resolved. So that became Hollow, complete with a reference to Flags and Footprints in verse two.

Hollow - Track 4 on Dead Reckoning, 2007, at 4:00


To close here’s another older song and another set list favourite that has been going down extremely well in the recent live shows.

Karl adds a little more to the story of The Ravages Of Time.



I still have the demo for Ravages of Time that Jon and I made. We thought at the time that this would be a great track and it seems to have lasted. Of course, the demo version of the track makes an appearance at the very end.

So how did you capture that atmospheric closing sound?



It was played through a portable stereo on a cassette tape with a microphone in front of it to get the lo-fi sound. My only regret for this one is that Damian is not on the studio recording, because he sounds quite amazing to my ears since we have been performing it live..

Couldn’t agree more with that - definitely one of a long list of songs that he has really made his own.

The Ravages Of Time - Track 3 on Hypothetical, 2001, at 10:17


It’s Competition Time!!!


Before we go, do you remember the photo competition that happened a short while before Beyond was created? Well it’s definitely time for a new one. But this time with a difference…



Inspired by the interpretive dance of Johanne James and probably combined with too many hours travelling with not much else to do but think, comes the next Threshold competition - your picture of your interpretation of one of the band’s songs.



“Just what does that mean?” we hear you cry! Well we want you to send us ANY artistic interpretation of a Threshold song. It could be a simple photograph that literally shows the song title, or it could be a deeper interpretation of the song’s lyrics or its sentiment. Alternatively you might want to draw, paint or even sculpt! If you do we just want a picture of your work not the original item! In short send us a picture that has a caption that is a Threshold song title.

You can pick absolutely any Threshold song title from any of the albums and the Paradox box set as long as it was written by Threshold band members past or present. Then just get creative. Please remember nothing obscene, offensive or what would be against most forums in the normal world!

And the prize? We haven’t even worked how we will judge them yet let alone a prize! But we do hope to make it worth your effort! (but don’t spend any money!)

When you have something please send it to beyond@thresh.net DO NOT POST IT ANYWHERE ON THE INTERNET as we don’t want the judges to see it until the last moment! We probably need to limit this to three entries per person (unless you are very persuasive) and we will set the end of 2011 as the closing date.

Until next time,

Sorry what’s that? New album? Best ask Richard…

I don’t know what to say except that it’s progressing well but there’s still a long way to go. We don’t have an official release date from Nuclear Blast but it should be out around spring 2012.

Beyond



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