Thrice Continues to Rock and Roll With The Times
Cover Photo: Fanart.tv
Thrice has been a staple in alternative music for almost two decades. Call them what you want; modern, post-modern, melodic hardcore, or even an experimental alt-rock group; Thrice is an ever-evolving agent of change, whose sound and genres have bent as much as the strings they play. After a brief departure in 2012, including a farewell tour that graced ATL’s own Masquerade, fans faced the possibility that Thrice was permanently disbanding. However, the group returned from a five-year hiatus with a brand new album in 2016. But why have they been able to survive in a shifting musical climate where others have completely fallen away?
The short answer is, they’ve changed with the times. Originally from Irvine, California, Thrice formed as a rock band in 1998, but materialized on the punk/emo scene in 2003 with their album The Artist and the Ambulance, which peaked at number 16 on the US Billboard 200. The album produced a popular song of the same name, garnering huge amounts of radio play, as well as the hit single "All That's Left," which reached number 24 on Billboard’s US Modern Rock Tracks.
That would have been the end of the road for many bands from the time period, but Thrice did not allow themselves to be lumped in with countless other screamo “legends” that quite frankly were a flash in the pan and will not be mentioned for brevity’s sake (okay, okay… Hawthorne Heights, Taking Back Sunday… you get the idea). Taking a departure from what would become a repetitive musical recipe, the group released Vheissu in 2005, signaling a complete shift from screaming and sometimes (arguably) overly distorted guitars to melodic heartfelt riffs and introspective lyrics, questions about God, morality, relationships and family, but all in a very mature, un-whiney way rarely found in the musical climate surrounding them.
More albums were to follow, most notably 2011’s Major/Minor, which continued in the vein of Vheissu but threw in some grunge elements and even a few ballads that inspired acoustic performances and live albums (Anthology is a favorite of mine). The group disbanded for a few years to pursue other projects but shortly returned thereafter in 2016 to release To Be Everywhere is to be Nowhere, their ninth (yes, you read that correct) studio album mastered by Ted Jensen, the engineer behind many hit musical staples including Green Day’s American Idiot, and Hotel California by the Eagles. To Be Everywhere peaked at number one on US Vinyl albums (Billboard) and fifteen on the Billboard 200. It touched on political and cultural themes regarding technology ("Whistleblower," for instance, was an ode to Edward Snowden, the US Congress, and a general distrust of big government at large). The album also explored themes of love, loss, and solace in times of adversity.
Today the band continues to tour, soon finishing a round of shows in Europe, with plans to return to the US and more dates that follow this Summer. In short, there are many bands that crop up in alternative music each year, but few have stood the test of time as fiercely and vehemently as this four-piece ensemble. What will be their next move? Poets, philosophers, and hardcore thrashers; whatever their venture, Thrice will no doubt continue to impress.