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Thrice - The Alchemy Index Vols. III &... Album Cover

Thrice - The Alchemy Index Vols. III &...

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ThriceThe Alchemy Index Volumes III & IV: Air & Earth
Release Date: April 15th, 2008
Record Label: Vagrant Records


The double disc album can be a pitfall for many bands. The girth of a release sometimes outweighs the overall vision and flow of the effort. Such is not the case with this 4-disc opus (ok, it’s technically a two release 24 song opus that could fit on two discs, but who’s counting?). I never thought I’d say it, but with the release of the second half of The Alchemy Index, Thrice has succeeded in creating a relevant multi-disc album that not only stands as a testament to the success of the format but also maintains a fairly even level of quality throughout. Though it is not without its slip-ups, the release stands as an excellent departure and display of tremendous growth from a band once pigeon holed as “screamo”.

Expanding upon the dramatic echoes of the Water EP, the Air portion of The Alchemy Index contains some of the most powerful songs Thrice has written to date. Dustin Kensrue’s voice is the star of this disc. It’s incredible to look back on the bands early work and see just how far his voice has come, not just in terms of technical ability, but the vast leaps it has made in sincerity. The light tones are a gentle transition from the days of The Illusion Of Safety, yet contain all the passion of the screams found on the Fire EP. The believability of Kensrue’s voice on tracks like “The Sky Is Falling” leave Chicken Little crapping himself to find a new shtick. There is certainly no lack of references to the title element, but Thrice finds ways to expand upon the topic and, interestingly enough, creating a disc that musically embodies something that itself has very little physical representation. The set takes all elements (no pun intended) of Thrice and mashes them together. From the crashing heavy sections (“Broken Lungs”) to the beautiful barely there subtlety of Kensrue’s vocals (“Silver Wings”, “A Song For Milly Michaelson”), the disc is a fitting high point for the band and is a step closer to achieving the potential we know they are capable of.

Unfortunately the Earth disc shares little in common with the evocative Air EP. Instead of being the rising denouement to the Air EP’s climax that I was hoping for, it shares more in common with one of the five endings to the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy; excellent and important to the overall vision, but some parts could probably have been left for the director’s cut. Not that there aren’t moments of sheer brilliance found here (“Come All You Weary”, “The Lion And The Wolf”, “Moving Mountains”), there just isn’t anything that sticks as much as the other sections of The Alchemy Index. While the disc shows an interesting facet of the band and is a good listen while it is happening, Earth just doesn’t have the staying power of the other elemental EPs. The band experiments with a stripped down instrumentation to keep with the theme of the record and is successful for the most part, but some tracks (“The Earth Isn’t Humming”) suffer from the lack of variation. There are no really bad parts to the disc; it is just that the lack of moving parts is magnified by the quality of its elemental counterparts.

Thrice has created something on a grander scale than even they could probably predicted in their early days. The Alchemy Index Volumes III and IV concludes the epic effort, and more importantly, delivers on what the band promised when they first announced plans for the album. This is a perfect example of how such a massive undertaking can be done with style, grace and unmatched quality. While there are sections that are not as good as the others and some songs that seem to end before they have time to reach their peak, there is really something for everyone here. From the symbiosis of Fire and Water to the lightness of Air and Earth, The Alchemy Index represents an all-encompassing achievement for Thrice. The only problem is, when you have done something this large, how do you surpass it?

Tracklisting1. Broken Lungs
2. The Sky Is Falling
3. A Song For Milly Michaelson
4. Daedalus
5. As The Crow Flies
6. Silver Wings
7. Moving Mountains
8. Digging My Own Grave
9. The Earth Isn’t Humming
10. The Lion And The Wolf
11. Come All You Weary
12. Child Of Dust
Listen to ThriceAP.net Profile | Myspace | Purevolume | Vagrant Records Site
This review is a user submitted review from Tom Good. You can see all of Tom Good's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 155
01:59 PM on 04/20/08
#2
Adrian Villagomez
My Little Runaway
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Tom Good delivers!
02:20 PM on 04/20/08
#3
thatwasamoment
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Delivers the Goods?
02:22 PM on 04/20/08
#4
ZeRoLiMiTz
...giggity
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awesome review of an almost perfect 4-disc masterpiece, i love it
02:34 PM on 04/20/08
#5
Tom Good
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haha oh I see what you did there
03:05 PM on 04/20/08
#6
lilRIPsta
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totally wrong about Earth. this release was almost flawless. I enjoyed it better than fire and water but that doesnt make it any more important to the whole thing
03:05 PM on 04/20/08
#7
LilRyan732
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They're either gonna release Vheissu 2, which I wouldn't mind, or find a new dynamic to play with.

Edit: haha I just hit 1337 posts...I may never post again!
03:43 PM on 04/20/08
#8
Rich Duncan
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Great review Tom. I might have to check this out, I haven't listened to Thrice in a very long time
03:51 PM on 04/20/08
#9
flash_gorton
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I can't pick a favorite Volume, I like them all for what they are, equally.
04:24 PM on 04/20/08
Tom Good
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totally wrong about Earth. this release was almost flawless. I enjoyed it better than fire and water but that doesnt make it any more important to the whole thing
Totally respect your opinion. It just didn't hit me as hard I guess. I almost wish this was released in the fall or winter. I feel weird listening to it with the Sun blazing.
06:02 PM on 04/20/08
Blakebear
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Totally respect your opinion. It just didn't hit me as hard I guess. I almost wish this was released in the fall or winter. I feel weird listening to it with the Sun blazing.

Great review.

I disagree with your opinion of Earth. I think it is quite good. The reason it doesn't have the effect on you that the other elements does is probably because its just not your type of music. I personally like a stripped down folk song from time to time and Earth does a very good job with that.

Air is phenomenal as well. They have both restored my faith in one of my favorite bands-- I was a little let down by Fire and Water.
06:48 PM on 04/20/08
cereal4life
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Still need to get my hands on this badboy!
06:48 PM on 04/20/08
Parocks
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totally agree air was incredible.

earth was also pretty well done.
06:51 PM on 04/20/08
blinvisible
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I would say that Air blew me away, but i'm not up for pun induced suicide just yet.
07:06 PM on 04/20/08
Tom Good
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Great review.

I disagree with your opinion of Earth. I think it is quite good. The reason it doesn't have the effect on you that the other elements does is probably because its just not your type of music. I personally like a stripped down folk song from time to time and Earth does a very good job with that.

Air is phenomenal as well. They have both restored my faith in one of my favorite bands-- I was a little let down by Fire and Water.
thats actually not true. I do enjoy folk and stripped down music in general. I just think that it has been done better. Its good, just not amazing.

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