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Vheissu

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★★★★☆
(163 Reviews)

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”Image of the Invisible,” the album’s first single, starts with the sound of Morse code, then shifts into a stuttery beat before being consumed by post-punk guitar clamor and clattering drums. Just as it reaches its most aggressive point, tuneful call-and-response vocals flow through the mix, counteracting the menacing vibe. Then there is ”Atlantic,” which features drifty, echoing keyboards and acoustic strumming and ”Like Moths To Flame,” a sonic see-saw filled with moody piano, marching drums and a visceral wall of guitars.”Our biggest goal was to make something different, even if we didn’t know at first exactly what that meant,” singer Dustin Kensrue says. ”We just knew we wanted it to be atmospheric and create a space you could kind of live in. Our records have been kind of flat and two dimensional in the past, so we definitely wanted to try to do something more open sounding.” ”I think I just got a little burned out on really aggressive, heavy music,” adds drummer Riley Breckenridge. ”Suddenly, the stuff that was moving me was not inspiring me to get all riled up and want to tear somebody’s head off, but something that had really dramatic dynamics and mood swings with the way the chords moved from verse to chorus.”Unlike their past albums, which were penned during downtime from touring, Thrice came up with many of the ideas for Vheissu while they were on the road supporting their 2003 record The Artist in the Ambulance. The extra time the band gained from writing in the bus gave them the ability to experiment without worrying about having to meet an impending deadline. ”In the beginning, we were actually swinging a lot further left than this record even is,” says Kensrue. ”We were writing really slow, really weird stuff, but I think it was good for us to be able to push our boundaries like that, then come back to a place where we were still pushing out, but at the same time doing something that was more of a logical step from the last record.”Even after the songs were streamlined a bit, the songs were still packed with startling, ingenious touches, like the chain gang chorus that cuts through the murky, multifaceted strains of ”The Earth Will Shake,” the sparse piano and underwater drum sounds of ”Of Dust And Nations” and the swelling oppressive guitars in ”For Miles,” which build like a sky full of dark clouds before erupting into a chaotic thunderstorm. One of the most alluring tracks is ”Music Box,” in which a haunting Japanese music box melody overlaps a procession of lumbering beats, crashing guitars, angular licks and acoustic jangle.

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  • I’m one of the old fans of Thrice, one of those blown away by “Identiy Crisis” and “Illusion of Safety”. Like the others said, these guys are very talented…but are now a completely different band. If you listen to the tracks and pretend that it is not the old Thrice, its not such a bad album.
    HOWEVER, for those of you old fans that were disturbed by the transformation that presented itself in “The Artist in the Ambulance”, that was the tip and “Vheissu” is the iceberg in its entirety. Teppei’s guitaring has been reduced to a BGM (this hurts the most as I am a guitarist), the drumming has become very mundane…the list goes on.

    In conclusion, if this is your first look at Thrice, go for it by all means. For old fans, lets just say that I’m demoting them to Twice.

    Posted on February 23, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Thrice has changed. There is no doubt in that. I found it amusing to read the one-star reviews on here from toughguy metalheads that want to do spinning kicks and windmills in the pit. Wake up, guys. Thrice changed, not for better OR for worse. They are just different.

    Songs like Red Sky or Atlantic are miles different from the old riff-ridden songs like Deadbolt or To Awake And Avenge The Dead, but to say that they suck would be incredibly stupid. Listen to Dust Of Nations and tell me the song sucks. It doesn’t. Same goes for the other 10 tracks on this CD.

    Song-by-song review:
    Image of the invisible (3/5): It’s good, it’s just a little repetitive. Excellent single choice though. The rating for this song when played live changes to 5/5.

    Between the end and where we lie (5/5): We are introduced to this new direction the guys are taking, and I could not be more happy with it. This song is awesome to sing along and relax to.

    The earth will shake (5/5): The heaviest song Thrice has ever written. No, heaviness is NOT about being fast, loud and playing a lot of incredible riffs, “heaviness” refers to the atmosphere a song can create. The atmosphere in this song is incredibly heavy. Sounds a lot like Isis. Awesome stuff.

    Atlantic (5/5): Beautiful. Pretty much ’nuff said. This is great stuff, and unlike the other “metal fans” on here, I’m not afraid to admit it.

    For miles (perfect): Best song on the album, and IMO the best song Thrice has ever written to date. The song keeps changing, keeps building, until all energy is released in the breathtaking outro. If I would be given a choice to take ONE song on an iPod with me to a deserted island, it’d be this one.

    Hold fast hope (5/5): Great. The most agressive song on the album, the intro just slaps you in the face.

    Music box (5/5): Second best song on the album. Nothing special about it, it’s just executed in a way that makes it irresistible. The music box that plays throughout the whole song makes me shiver, and the rest of the song fills me with happiness. If this CD had only For Miles and Music Box on it, I’d still have bought it.

    Like moths to flame (4/5): I’m giving this a 4 because I just can’t give every song on an album a 5. This just is a little less appealing than the other ones. Still way ahead anything the competition can throw at these guys.

    Of dust and nations (5/5): I’m repeating myself, but this is great stuff. The way the song starts will give anyone goosebumps. That’s a good thing.

    Stand and feel your worth (4/5): Just like “Like moths to flame”, this song is a little less good than the other ones. Great outro.

    Red sky (5/5): Best way to ever end an album. The end of this song will fill the coldest heart with joy.

    This CD, to me, is the best thing Thrice has ever done. Buy it, if you are dissapointed, you obviously do not have an open mind. The thing to do is sell it, not whine about it. And try again when you’re matured.

    Posted on February 23, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Let’s set the stage a little bit and put this album into perspective. At the peak of the popularity of nu-metal, the-genre leading Deftones released an album virtually 100% opposite of what anyone had expected in “The White Pony.” Fast-forward to 2005 and enter Thrice’s fourth studio album “Vheissu.” “Vheissu” is to post-hardcore as “The White Pony” was to nu-metal, very possibly the album to destroy a lot of the garbage on television and radio right now. Thrice saw a sinking ship in a sound they helped pioneer and have written a completely new, heavy, and all around excellent album at the same time-a true testament to their own artistic abilities.

    Is “Vheissu” my personal favorite album of theirs? No. But this is the most mature record they’ve ever written. The punk influence Thrice once had is virtually gone (except for a maybe a moment or two on “Between The End And Where We Lie”). And while at first this may come as a difficult adjustment to those use to early Thrice, upon repeated listens, listeners should be able to recognize the fact that there are parts on this album that are heavier than anything heard from Thrice before (The Earth Will Shake, Hold Fast Hope), parts that are more melodic than anything they’ve ever written (Atlantic, Music Box), and at other times are just downright haunting due to Dustin’s phenomenel vocals and the bands ability to texture these songs far more than ever before (Stand And Feel Your Worth, Red Sky).

    There’s a lot of really groundbreaking ideas be used here such as the chaingang chants on “The Earth Will Shake,”(which contains an undeniable blues feel to it as does “Stand And Feel Your Worth), the music box sound which is interlaced through the track “Music Box”(go figure), and the tremendously organic feel of the entire album. Thrice experiments a lot more with piano here on tracks such as “Atlantic,” “For Miles,” and “Stand And Feel Your Worth.” “Atlantic” is by far the mellowest song Thrice has ever written whereas “Hold Fast Hope” serves as the most consistently heavy track on the album. “For Miles” is a song that starts of melodic and slow and continues to build with each verse until exploding into one of the most aggressive parts on the entire album and is one of my personal favorites. Older listeners of Thrice will take note that the track lengths are considerably longer. No song clocks under 3:55, and everything else is above four minutes.

    Will you understand this album the whole way through the first time? Most likely not, I didn’t. But anyone who can’t recognize that “Vheissu” is pretty much entirely against the grain of anything thats remotely popular right now probably shouldn’t be listening to Thrice in the first place. Is there anything to complain about? Well, a few of the ladder tracks slow down to a pace that make them run into each other a bit, but once you familiarize yourself with all of the tracks this instantly turns into a fantastic album and one of the best of the year. Highly recommended. Highlight tracks include “The Earth Will Shake,” “For Miles,” “Red Sky,” and “Music Box.”

    Posted on February 23, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • So, basically, this album is amazing and certainly the best thing Thrice has done so far. It’s so EPIC and well-crafted and their songwriting is even better and it’s more experimental and eclectic and more condensed and concise and everything is there for a reason and the whole album is so WONDERFUL. The first track, “Image Of The Invisible” is catchy as all hell and so well-written. The second track is certainly a grower, with its electronic touches and more subdued atmosphere. To be honest, it’s my least favorite song on the album, but I have grown to enjoy it a lot more on multiple listens. And I don’t think it really fits with everything else on the album. But, after that, every song just gets BETTER and BETTER. The drumming is immense and the guitarwork is immense and the basswork is immense and the vocals are so f’ing good – Dustin has improved his vocal ability two-fold.

    It’s amazing how far this band has come – from a punk band with metal influences to a metal band with punk influences to a hardcore band with well-structured songs and experimental tendencies, and now to an experimental metal band with hardcore tendencies.

    If you’ve ever enjoyed Thrice, this is THE album to check out. I think this is the album of the year, even moreso than the new Ulver and Dredg releases (which I can’t stop listening to, either)

    SO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on February 23, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • When the band describes their past albums as two-dimensional, you kind of have to laugh. Anyone with ears can tell that Thrice have always been different. Thrice have always been above the competition, making music infinitely more challenging and satisfying than many of their peers. While bridging the gap between the Warped Tour and Ozzfest audiences, Thrice have put out three mature and lyrically profound albums, all while getting virtually no recognition from the mainstream. With “Vheissu,” all that is likely to change. Something this good is improssible to ignore.

    It’s taken me quite a while to absorb this album. To sit down and actually write a review. Albums like this one are tricky to describe, especially in this case, where the music can’t be categorized. I didn’t know what to expect when I picked up this album in October, but what I heard that night on the ride home was not what I was expecting. Thrice have thrown us through a loop. “Vheissu” is more focused on lyrics and dense, mesmerizing musical landscapes. Nearly gone are the punch-to-the-gut riffs of Teppei Teranishi, while frontman Dustin Kensrue is put front and center, as best evidenced by “The Earth Will Shake” and the massive closing number, “Red Sky.” Granted, “Hold Fast Hope” will feel like home, as will “Image Of The Invisible” and “Between The End And Where We Lie,” but most of this album will take the average Thrice listener by surprise. The liner notes do an excellent job of showing where the band is coming from. In the beginning, the band cites Radiohead’s “Kid A” and Deftones’ “White Pony” as major inspirations, and perhaps that can give you an idea of what to expect. Thrice are simply a band tired of playing the same old kinds of songs, so on “Vheissu” they have created a new style for themselves.

    You might not like it at first, but give it time. I promise no disappointment. If you discount this album, you’ll be sorry later. It’s quite simply a masterpiece. But then again, what did you expect from Thrice? They always deliver a hundred percent, above what is is expected. They blew away my expectations, and now I absolutely cannot wait to hear what these guys have in store for us next.

    Posted on February 23, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now