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 Thrice - Vheissu
Post-Hardcore outfit Thrice (consisting of guitarist and lead vocalist Dustin Kensrue, guitarist Teppei Teranishi, bassist Eddie Breckenridge and drummer Riley Brenkenridge) have at all times seemed to me to be some what of a dark horse, a band that at first recommendation I gave little attention to, somehow without me realising became a personal favourite. Each of the three previous albums, ‘Identity Crisis’, ‘Illusion Of Safety’ in 2001 and ‘The Artist In The Ambulance’ in 2003 had been excellent in their own right, with each showing signs of a band developing their sound and matured with each album and each becoming an instant favourite, so it was with bated breath that I waited for Vheissu to be released.

With Vheissu, its not to difficult to tell that Thrice were being ambitious, the title itself comes from Thomas Pynchon's novel ‘V’, a word that had no meaning as to allow the listener to attach there own, this continues into the music, the morse code introduction (spelling out the albums name) brings in the march like drum beat of opening track ‘Image Of The Invisible’, with anthemic (sic) chants of ‘we are the image of the invisible throughout the track make it sound like a call to arms. Now after a track like, another hard-hitting track to follow up the message would be expected, instead Thrice calm down proceedings, coming as somewhat of a surprise (something that happens a lot with this album) with the haunting yet quite up beat ‘Between The End And Where We Lie’ a track that makes use of the more melodic based sound, with instrument experimentation taking over from the obvious guitar riffs. With the beginning of ‘The Earth Will Shake’ one would expect the calmer mood of the previous track to continue instead Thrice switch styles once again, this time exploding into crunching guitar riff that I had so craved, however this time it is different, the emphasis is placed more on creating a melodic atmosphere as opposed to a heaviness for the sake of heaviness, the chain-gang vocals in the middle and to this atmosphere. Tracks such ‘Hold Fast Hope’, ‘Like Moth To Flame’ and ‘Music Box’ continue this atmosphere, as tracks that have the heavier and expansive guitar work remain melodic.

In tracks such as ‘Atlantic’ and ‘Red Sky’, Thrice demonstrate the more chilled out side of their matured sound, these are the tracks that make the listener feel, its hard to describe what, but these are honest heart-warming songs. Tracks such as ‘For Miles’, ‘Of Dust And Nations’ and ‘Stand And Feel Your Worth’ are in essence the middle ground, containing elements from both the heavier and more chilled out sides of the record, which show the bands willingness to develop. ‘Of Dust And Nations’ I feel deserves a special mention as have one of the most, if not the most beautiful and haunting guitar riffs I have ever heard.

Another important factor in the feel of the album is the predominate vocal talent of Dustin Kensrue, who in this album as opted to sing more so than previous albums, this means that when he does choose to scream, its in the right places and it feels like it should be there, a rare skill compared to other post-hardcore outfits who’s attitude seems to be lets scream because we can. This can be been heard in ‘Like Moth To Flame’ where he sings over an aggressive chorus or in ‘For Miles’ where the aggression come bursting out towards the end.

When I’d first listened to the sample on the bands Myspace and to be honest I was disappointed, the samples sounded not at all like the hard-hitting guitars of tracks such as ‘Deadbolt’ and ‘To Awake And Avenge The Dead’. With Vheissu I’d expected a similar standard as previous efforts, an album that I loved from the moment I put it into the CD player, with crunching guitar riffs and gut wrenching screams. I didn’t get that, instead what I received at first few listen surprised me, then it captivated me, after that l feel in love with it. I have no doubt that this is an album that will alienate some old fans, who like me expected a repeat performance. But I also have no doubt that this album has set the benchmark for others to follow, as to do something as ambitious and as different as this deserves credit, and credit to Thrice, Vheissu is an album that can take the listener from a calm moment to heat-felt emotion to a powerful epic in just one song. But before I rate this album and despite the praise there is one drawback, even as a fan it did take me a while to get into it and at first it can sometimes felt like I would never find that hook that would make me like the album, however it’s more than worth the effort, Vheissu is a dark horse and in a word – brilliant

9.5 out of 10

Buy Thrice - Vheissu now at Play.com
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