For Fans Of
thrown around in the last 2 years to describe Orange County’s Thrice.
Pretentious is one that I’ve heard a few times. Surely a bunch of OC
punks must be out of their minds to try and create a four part concept
record with the central themes of fire, water, earth and wind but Thrice
have well and truly silenced the detractors, because The Alchemy Index
Volume I and II is a masterpiece.
With the third and fourth chapters
of The Alchemy Index set to drop sometime in 2008, Volume I and II show
Thrice operating at the most extreme ends of the musical spectrum. While
the “Fire” disc is a natural progression (in my opinion anyway)
from 2005’s Vheissu, it’s the “Water” EP that is by far the most
experimental work the band has undertaken so far.
While the Isis comparisons
will be inevitable, “Firebreather” manages to sound dense and potentially
earth shattering without directly ripping off the Boston noise merchants.
The combination of crushing riffs and Dustin’s soaring vocals makes
the tune sound ominous but uplifting at the same time…. something
many bands try and fail dismally at. “The Messenger” is a short,
sharp burst of noise which again manages to merge the heavy with the
melodic without sounding cheesy and I think it’s safe to say
that the down tuned rumble of guitars at the end of the song is the
heaviest twenty seconds of music that Thrice have committed to record.
“Backdraft” has more of
an ambient vibe to it and while not as flashy as previous Thrice records,
Teppei’s lead guitar work makes the song as memorable as it is intricate.
The off kilter beat and disjointed guitar work of “The Arsonist”
actually reminded me of the Deftones but the song is somehow able to
make its way to another Dustin Kensrue vocal hook.
The “Fire” disc’s standout
track would have to be “Burn The Fleet”. Although it’s not as heavy
as the remainder of the CD it’s an epic tune that features one hell
of a chorus and shows that Thrice don’t need rapid fire drumming and
shredding guitars to make their music sound dynamic, as the dense layers
of drums, bass and guitars provide more than enough aural satisfaction.
“The Flame Deluge” is given the task of closing out this section
of the record and it sounds absolutely menacing… that is until it
fades out into a barely audible whisper which provides us with the perfect
introduction to the “Water” aspect of this recording.
earlier work and you refuse to accept the fact that they’re no longer
a punk band then you’ll enjoy the next six songs even less than the
first batch. The “Water” disc has more in common with bands like
Sigur Ros than it does with Metallica but rather than picking individual
tracks I suggest you listen to this EP as a whole (through headphones
is my tip) and lose yourself in the sound scape.
As I said earlier, if you want
to listen to a quality punk/metal hybrid then go and give The IllusionOf Safety a spin but if you’re prepared to embrace what Thrice have
become then this album will be one of the most satisfying listens of
- The Messenger
- The Arsonist
- Burn The Fleet
- The Flame Deluge
- Digital Sea