ROCKING IS ELEMENTAL
Posted September 29, 2008
You have to admire Thrice’s compulsion to push the envelope. Given the aggressive and progressive music of the band’s fine last effort, Vheissu, who could blame them for keeping things simple this time out. But the breadth and depth of The Alchemy Index, musically and conceptually, suggests this immanently modern rock quartet will continue display a grasp that exceeds its reach.
Vocalist and lyricist Dustin Kensrue put his faith in simple, straightforward terms in the solo singer/songwriter disc Please Come Home, but with Thrice he tends for the larger metaphorical question. No less spiritually insightful, Kensrue asks “Are you free?” as the Fire disc begins. In “the Arsonist” he explores a pyromaniac’s self-destructive urge in the assertion: “I love this city enough that I’ll set it ablaze.” Fire offers fierce examples of the band’s hardcore aggression (Isaiah never sounded more punk than the shouted response in “The Messenger”), while Water moves into the quieter, moody, more ethereal “Digital Sea,” where keyboards and computerized “ones and zeros” replace organic rock instrumentation.
Even as we anticipate Vols. III and IV: Earth & Air—already recorded and to be released in April—the first two chapters suggest a band with a big vision and the patience, commitment and creativity to achieve greatness. - Brian Quincy Newcomb
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