With the Illusion of Safety, released in 2002 on Sub City, the members of Thrice established themselves and gained respect from those involved in metal, hardcore and punk rock. They also attracted some people’s attention from higher up in the music industry, and The Artist in the Ambulance, released on Island/Def Jam, is set to shoot them to the forefront of a genre already starting to rule the airwaves.
Misnamed "screamo" by "music" magazines that forgot about the ’90s, Gravity Records, and a whole slew of bands from just about everywhere, bands such as Thrice and label-mates Thursday are bringing the loud, angry, melodic aggression and emotion that "defines" the genre to malls everywhere. The members of Thrice bring a twist, though, incorporating social and political issues and even donating portions of their sales from each release to different charities.
With this release, Thrice has moved on from the writing style used in The Illusion of Safety. In that album, vicious progressions and time signatures would only be seen once in a song, leaving you begging to hear that riff again. Now, you will instead hear parts repeating, giving structure and something to hold on to as the songs blast by.
And you will hold on. The album itself is actually a surprisingly well-blended mix of West Coast-style pop punk, hardcore and metal a la Metallica, Pantera and Maiden. Singer Dustin Kensrue’s melodies flow over guitar player Teppei Teranishi’s unique and complicated leads, while brothers Riley and Eddie Breckenridge make up a pounding and intelligent rhythm section.
"All That’s Left," the first single off The Artist in the Ambulance, demonstrates a division on the album between the more melodic songs ready to storm the radio, such as "Stare at the Sun" and the title track, and songs ready to tear up a mosh pit. Each song on the album still manages to convey an intensity not always seen when bands
suddenly have a larger budget to work with.
Regardless of what you think of the music, the members of Thrice are showing young and old alike that they are going to use music the way it should be used: to show that they have a voice and that they are not afraid to use it in hopes that it will help bring about change.