Throughout their 17-year career and eight (soon to be nine) studio albums, Thrice has always been a band willing to evolve, but on their own terms.
Their first two records were circle pit inspiring metal and punk influenced post-hardcore. Thrice followed up their most commercially successful and mainstream-ish album, The Artist In The Ambulance, with the complex Vheissu, regarded by many as their best record and one that features some of their heaviest tunes. They went completely experimental with the Alchemy Index series and added post-rock and indie influences on 2009’s Beggars and 2011’s Major/Minor. Thrice have never stagnated, but they also haven’t changed so drastically as to lose sight of who they are. It’s a fine line the band has been able to walk and a big reason why their return is so highly anticipated by their fans.
After a three year hiatus, Thrice’s next chapter begins May 27 with the release of To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere, but before that let’s take a look back at Thrice’s 10 best songs.
10. “The Weight”
Leave it to Thrice to write a heavy song about marriage. “The Weight” is groovy, headbanging and heartfelt, all at the same time.
For their Alchemy Index project, Thrice committed to writing four EPs each based on a different element – fire, water, earth and air. “Firebreather” gets the project off to a crashing, apocalyptic start, and really sets the tone for the entire Alchemy Index to succeed. Plus, it closes on one of the all-time great, live Thirce sing-a-long moments.
Another track from the Alchemy Index, this one from the Air side of things, “Daedalus” epicly tells the tragic tale of Icarus flying too close to the sun. At six minutes, the song is one of Thrice’s longer tracks and it uses that space to create an atmospheric build, riding an intricate lead guitar to a big crescendo at the end.
7. “To Awake And Avenge The Dead”
Metal riffing, guttural screams and blistering drums – “To Awake And Avenge The Dead” is Thrice at their most breakneck and raw. After two and a half minutes of all out assault, the track finally takes a breath during its chugging, hardcore breakdown, only for Dustin Kenrue’s bellowing vocals to come down even harder at the end.
6. “Red Sky”
Beautiful is the first word to that comes to mind when describing “Red Sky.” From the opening piano notes, guitarist Teppei Teranishi’s sweeping riff, and Kenrue’s hopeful lyrics, “Red Sky” triumphantly rises in a swell of emotion that makes it one of Thrice’s best album closing songs.
Where “Red Sky” was beautiful, “Silhouette” is brutal. Thrice songs in this era had a bit more polish than they had previously, but that doesn’t stop Riley Breckenridge’s double bass drum blasts and Kensrue’s soaring screams from being any less powerful on “Silhoutte.” It’s introspective lyrics and quick tempo changes bring the song to a hard hitting other level – blink and it’ll be over.
If you have ever been to a Thrice show, there has probably been someone in your near vicinity yelling for the band to play “Deadbolt” throughout the entire show. And for good reason, “Deadbolt” is the quintessential early era Thrice song. A tailor made sing along chorus combined with pit inducing instrumentals and an iconic riff, “Deadbolt” grabs the listener by the balls and doesn’t let up for 2 and a half frantic minutes.
3. “In Exile”
The 2009 release of Beggars saw Thrice fully embracing new styles and influences. I hear a lot of mid-tempo Radiohead on “In Exile,” a band that shared very little in common with Thrice in their early days. But what makes the song work is that it is still distinctly Thrice, just played through a different prism. At this point in their careers, Thrice weren’t afraid to take risks and “In Exile” is one of the band’s great triumphs showing they didn’t need blistering guitar and screams to write a powerful song.
2. “The Earth Will Shake”
Thrice took their brand of heavy to another dimension with the dynamic “The Earth Will Shake.” The song is about breaking out of jail (metaphorically) and features a haunting bridge, dissonantly shouted by a chain gang, until exploding into one of the band’s most visceral endings. Thrice are never heavy just for the sake of being heavy, and always find a way to bring a new element to the table. “The Earth Will Shake” mixes in just the right buildup and pays it off with a truly mosh worthy conclusion that has left a lot of rooms sweaty since its 2005 release.
If there’s ever a Thrice documentary, this will be the song that plays over the last few scenes with the career spanning montage (starting with the crappy footage that has the date in the corner) and candid footage of the band laughing. “Anthology” perfectly encapsulates what Thrice is about and is written as much as a thank you letter to the fans and is it to the band members themselves. It’s cathartic in a way that only Thrice can be and calls back to all the things that make Thrice who they are. It’s like a greatest hits album in one song and that’s why we consider it their best.