The Alchemy Index: Vols I & II- Fire & Water
I said almost 2 years ago that there was more to Thrice than the post-hardcore barrage of screamo that their fans adore. I said that they had more depth than people have given them credit for. This depth was glimpsed, alongside hints of suppressed skill, during their set on the Rockstar Taste of Chaos tour in 2006. I saw shades of Radiohead in a band I had written off as just another temporary bit of popularity.
With the release of this first installment of a two-part conceptual album, The Alchemy Index: Vols I & II — Fire & Water, this California band allows the world to see their promise.
This package contains two EPs (though for EPs they’re pretty lengthy): one pulls inspiration from the element of Fire, and the other from Water. Obviously, the next installment will tackle Earth and Air. Making a concept album that’s broken into four parts and served up in two helpings is a lofty task, and Thrice may not have fully achieved monumental status with the resulting music, but they have attained a certain greatness. At the very least, it’s their best piece of work as a band.
The “Fire” songs are pretty heated and full of rage, but with a structured flow rather than just plain aggression. These songs are the closest to their prior work in spirit, but in composition they are above and beyond. My guess is that these songs were probably pretty difficult to come up with because they are so close to the sound that Thrice is known for. For a band looking to expand on their sound, this must have been like re-imagining who you have been and who you want to become. Of this first collection, “Firebreather” and “Burn the Fleet” are the strongest.
The “Water” interpretation is where Thrice really opens up. Kicking off with their best song since Vheissu‘s “Red Sky,” the band redefines themselves with “Digital Sea.” From there the great songs just keep coming. These songs are ethereal, they’re dreamy, they’re fluid, and they will yank Thrice into the world of respected musicians.
Vagrant Records: www.vagrant.com