The first Thrice song I ever heard was on the Atticus: …dragging the lake, Vol. 2 compilation. When I first heard To Awake and Avenge the Dead, I was in my car alone and I must have listened to it five times on repeat. I had discovered Thrice, and I immediately knew that they were a band to watch.
Writing a review of an album over six years after its initial release allows a certain unique retrospective into the music, but it also presents some issues, especially when the group’s later material has evolved so greatly from their origins. However, this album is a classic, and every time I listen to it the music evokes the feelings of those high school years during which I first had the joy of hearing Thrice. The Illusion of Safety opens with a quiet but frantically discordant guitar. The song swells, and Dustin Kensrue ironically begs for his life to end in order to escape the violence of this world. The sad state of the world and its inhabitants is a theme that runs throughout this album, manifesting itself as commentary on friendship in Trust and The Beltsville Crucible, or a lament concerning the decay of morals in A Subtle Dagger. Sings Kensrue:
We extend our claws to grasp at shadows of the ideals we have, lost causalities of a subtle dagger
The songs never lose their intensity but the order in which they are presented to the listener shows their dynamic. The minor chord solos of A Subtle Dagger give way to almost poppy rhythms in See You In The Shallows. The 6/8 waltz feel of Trust gives way to brutal breakdowns in To Awake and Avenge the Dead. The songs can be brutal, but they all have an underlying passion that shines through the riffs and lyrics.
After hearing this album, I quickly sought out Thrice’s debut release, Identity Crisis, and found that the group was currently writing songs for their next release, The Artist in the Ambulance. Needless to say, I was very excited to find such a dynamic and colorful band that is still actively writing and creating music.