The Alchemy Index Vols. III & IV Air and Earth
While the final installment of Thrice’s conceptual double album is the weaker half of The Alchemy Index, this is not to say that Vols. III & IV Air and Earth is without its moments of beauty. “The Sky is Falling,” “Moving Mountains,” and “Digging My Own Grave” are all sprawling songs with ambiance to spare, but where this album falters is in the lack of division between its two seemingly separate parts.
The four elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water) act as the inspiration for this ambitious undertaking, yet whereas on Vols. I & II Fire and Water the two parts are significantly different, the Air and Earth elements sound remarkably similar. The album, as a whole, is stripped bare, slowed down, and oftentimes quiet to the point of fading into the background.
The Earth side is the strongest of the two with an acoustic folk style that is close to frontman Dustin Kensrue’s solo work. The six songs placed under this heading would have stood out even more had they been juxtaposed against an Air side that sounding more developed. If they were going to go for soft and slow, maybe they should have taken it to an even further extreme. They could have made it instrumental, and really gone for otherworldly. Imagine a voiceless Thrice for six songs that suddenly dove into the porch ditty “Moving Mountains” as the opening of the Earth side.
Though it’s not as instantly accessible as Vols. I & II Fire and Water, this release is equally as important because it completes the band’s vision, and seals the achievement of a screamo band that has transformed into a group of respectable artists.