Thrice have had an unusual development over the last few years; their debut Identity Crisis was indeed just that, 2002’s The Illusion Of Safety displayed some of their strongest material—a thrashy, technical, hardcore-influenced epic, and their most recent effort, The Artist In The Ambulance was a conceptual, but incompletely realized, emo-targeted release. Despite all this variance, it was apparent that Thrice were good at what they did, whatever it was.
So Vheissu is an expected turning point, as all their records have been. And so it is, incorporating the cleaner, more mainstream aspects of Artist In The Ambulance with Illusion Of Safety’s premeditated approach.
But this doesn’t sound like either album. Opening with “Image Of The Invincible,” a rather intimidating but relentlessly catchy anthem, Thrice start shifting gears immediately. The cerebral “Between The End And Where We Lie” and the forceful “The Earth Will Shake” follow in swift succession and Thrice’s recent reinvention becomes more noticeable.
The band’s dynamics have always been a point of contention, having implemented them early on in their career with mixed success. But Vheissu’s almost unthinkable transitions are so well-calculated and dynamically fruitful without sounding hokey, that it seems the band has finally reconciled their tribulations with varied tones.
“For Miles” begins with an inspired piano arrangement that is taken up by the band, built to a melodic height, drawn back and then transformed into exothermic post-hardcore with unforeseen seamlessness. The compositions are full without being over- produced and the band’s recently perfected dynamics are well- complemented.
This is the album that points, more than any other, to Thrice’s maturity as songwriters and musicians, working without a scene to impress or an audience to win over. Now, sans pretension, they impress themselves.