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.”