THRESHOLD – ‘Paradox – The Singles Collection’ (direct-to-fans release – www.thresh.net)
I do like things that come in a box. Maybe it’s a guy thing, but I do like things that come in a box, and I’m a real sucker for CD singles collections. So bring on Threshold’s ‘Paradox – The Singles Collection’, although, in truth it’s not really a singles collection per se; as guitarist Karl Groom explains in the booklet, “The idea behind this particular release is to present the lead track or single from each album. In addition there are two other tracks that are relevant to each album cycle. These include songs that didn’t quite fit the style, ‘B sides’, live performances and rare recordings.” So it’s not a singles collection in the same way as others have been (ie presenting a full 7” or 12” record on CD with replica slipcase – Motörhead, Deep Purple, Him, etc), and purists could argue that you could have stick the whole lot on one double CD for £13 rather than presenting it as eight three-track CDs each in a cardboard slipcase for £25.00. So ‘Paradox’ is just that, really. But it does come in a box, and it is pretty snappy too.
Things kick off with ‘Paradox’ (the best song White Sister never recorded), naturally enough, from 1993’s ‘Wounded Land’ and run through to the radio edit of ‘Pilot In The Sky Of Dreams’ from the most recent ‘Dead Reckoning’. Ignoring the ‘A-sides’ – given the complexities of the band’s material and the way the songs build and build the edits are akin to aural premature ejaculation (and despite what Groom thinks, the particular edit of ‘Mission Profile’ included in the set is, frankly, pants) – the highlight has to be the live cut of ‘The Ravages Of Time’, omitted from the ‘Surface To Stage’ album because of time constraints. Elsewhere, the acoustic take of ‘Safe To Fly’ is a dainty little thing, and vocalist Damien Wilson’s take on the Eastern-tinged ‘Conceal The Face’ and the ‘urban version’ of Voyager II are well worth having in any collection. And did I mention that it comes in a box? And that it is quite snappy?