Thrice Vheissu

Thrice Vheissu
"We’re more than carbon and chemicals,” front man Dustin Kensrue passionately articulates during the introductory moments of album opener "Image of the Invisible,” and it becomes blissfully clear within seconds that Thrice are a hell of a lot more than your average screamo or melodic hardcore band. The understanding of beauty, contrast and human emotion displayed over the course of Vheissu, their fourth release and second for Island, is truly astounding. From the urbanised pulse of "Between the End and Where We Lie” to the plaintive, tastefully anti-climatic dips and swells of "The Earth Will Shake,” Thrice have outdone themselves in almost every sense, despite the near-absence of the metal influence displayed on past releases. Certainly not as epic or energetic as 2003’s The Artist in the Ambulance, Vheissu instead relies on pure songwriting craft and expression through experimentation, a direction oft-overlooked by the group’s contemporaries. While tracks like "Music Box” and "Like Moths to Flame” utilise a chilling loud/soft dynamic and are vocally driven in a manner similar to Deftones, "Hold Fast Hope” staggers along at an aggressive, decidedly Botch-ish pace and keeps the record from becoming too downbeat in its midsection. Thrice truly understand the concept of a beginning, a middle and an end — the album is flawlessly structured, pitting angst against introspection, and weaving poignant lyrical webs of optimism in the face of heartbreak, disillusionment and disappointment. Vheissu is the crowning achievement of an already impressive career and the perfect album to complement the inevitability of another cold, draining winter season. (Island)