I must admit that it has been a while since I last listened to progressive death metal. Of course I have always enjoyed such classics as Cynic or Atheist, but I rarely found myself listening to the newer bands, mainly because most of them just copying the sound of their idols. However, once in a while a new band emerges which reminds me of how much this genre has to offer. The latest such release happens to be “Facticity” by the German metallers – Over Your Threshold.
Over Your Threshold is a relatively new act to the scene, and the fact that their debut album is released under such a label as Metal Blade means that the band has something to offer, and that is amazing progressive death metal fused with various elements – black metal drumming, incredible guitar harmonics, acoustic parts and thrashy riffs. These Munich-based metalheads were formed in 2007 and in a short time they’ve managed to subdue an army of followers. Their first record was a self-released EP “Progress in Disbelief” and many have eagerly awaited to hear how their first LP would turn out.
When I first heard this album, “Death,” the crowned kings of this genre, first came to mind. And indeed, the influence they had on Over Your Threshold is enormous. Having said that, you know that you can expect a combination of raw aggression and technical precision. These guys indeed know how to mix the two – the arrangements are incredibly versatile and often you can hear a pure death metal riff break down into old-school guitar harmonics or, better yet, a beautiful acoustic piece, as in “Abdicated.” From the thrash metal influenced opening track “Cortical Blindness”, all the cards are on the table. The smooth sound of the fretless bass drives the entire album, along with superb drumming. A strong black metal influence is present throughout the album, but most evident in “Contextual Fluctuating” and “Obscure Mind Stasis.” The guitar work is remarkable; Lukas Spielberger and Kilian Lau are masters of the trade. “Self Exhibition” is the track where these guys’ musicianship is at its peak – the guitars, bass and the drums fight for dominance throughout the entire length. The vocals are very versatile and Ludwig Walter is a great replacement for long-time vocalist (and guitar player) Leonhard P. The production fits the music: it is clear yet raw enough so you wouldn’t forget you are listening to a death metal band after all. The only remark goes to the drum production, as they are sometimes too silent compared to the rest of the instruments.
No one can dispute that “Over Your Threshold” are outstanding musicians, however the one thing missing from the entire formula is a hook that would captivate new audience. Unlike Death, who mixed technical playing with catchy song structures, these guys seem to focus on technicality entirely. Although this might suit their most loyal fans it might make others give up after the first listen. Having said that, this album will surely launch Over Your Threshold right into the music players of many who crave this sound.