Thrice
The Alchemy Index Vols. I & II


5.0
classic

Review

by Devon Longerbeam USER (11 Reviews)
October 14th, 2007 | 31 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: At the end of the day [i]The Alchemy Index: Volumes I & II[/i] is a contender for best concept album, if not album, of the year. But if you ask me, Thrice have already won.

The whole concept album idea tends to gets old, real quick. It's not that it's impossible to create a story; it's the fact that many bands can't actually make the album's feel, sound, and creativity click with the story. The chances of finding a record that does said thing, is becoming more minimal by each release. You look to Coheed And Cambria, which are among the few that are succesful with concept albums, to make the album that is cohesive and conceptual. Enter Thrice; a band that seems like a new wave Radiohead. They have gone through some slow, but strong, changes in their career. From The Illusion Of Safety to Vheissu, changes are quite apparent. The Illusion Of Safety is claimed to be a post-hardcore classic, contending with Glassjaw's Worship And Tribute, with The Artist In The Ambulance being a slow transition to the experimental Vheissu. You might be asking how would Thrice be brought into this whole conversation of concept albums; well, it's going as far to say that they are contending for another spot again, five years later.

Now nearing the end of the year, you have Thrice's The Alchemy Index: Volumes I & II and Coheed And Cambria's Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World For Tomorrow becoming some of the biggest concept albums coming out. The gripes I have with Coheed And Cambria is not the lack of creativity, or they're sound; it's just that it never really seems like a concept album beyond the lyrics. Maybe my opinions and how I back them up are weak, but besides the lyrics, it just doesn't feel like I am listening to an album that has a focus that of a concept album. Listening to Thrice's The Alchemy Index: Volumes I & II, I can actually feel everything each disc focuses on come alive.

The opener to the Fire disc, Firebreather, is a gritty, pounding song that perfectly fits what was said to be the Fire disc. It's rhythmic section compliments Kensrues lyrics perfectly; "Tell me are you free; in word, or thought, or deed". Firebreather, being a standout track of the Fire disc, ends in a similar, but welcome fashion likened to Red Sky from Vheissu. The boundaries Thrices have had are surely expanded, and Fire seems to be the perfect example of this. The Messenger is one of the most heaviest songs Thrice has created to this date. From it's textures that repeat in the background to Kensrue's frantic yelling to the band's relentless technicailty that reminds me that of Converge being more contemporary. Upon hearing Backdraft the listener is dragged into a weird 5/4 beat, with an eery acoustic part help keep the drive of the song strong. The chorus is probably one of the most impressive on the Fire disc lyrically and vocally; "Oh, swing the door right open, show me your jaded eyes; I will turn them red, drunk with vivid flame". In terms of brutality The Arsonist is as close as you'll get. It's downtuned riffage with some of the best yelling from Kensrue on the whole Fire disc makes for a great combination. Burn The Fleet seems best represented as the most positive peice while retaining it's driving force; the bridge's leadwork, drum fills, and one of the best choruses on the disc. Ending the Fire disc, quite well if I may include, is The Flame Deluge. Beginning with what seems to be a distorted piano lead slowly leading to Kensrue & Company hitting us with an epic, and almost scary, end to the album. Before it ends, though, comes in a calmer Kensrue singing a nice little melody along a piano line; a perfect ending that will be revisited.

The Water disc exstinguishes Fire quite quickly, and in more ways than one. By the end of Water, most might come to realize that this is the better, though not by much, and more experimental album of the two. A calm, but cold, sound is now being heard through your speakers and/or headphones; it's Water. Water's Digital Sea is a perfect opener just like Firebreather was for the Fire disc. Everything from the vocals to the drums leads you to believe you have just dived into a large, dark sea. The feel of is kept through most of the album. Open Water is probably a standout for both albums combined. The chorus is completely flawless. Kensrue's vocal arrangement makes you feel as if you have stumbled upon an underwater city of sorts; Atlantis, maybe. It's surely one of Thrice's best songs. It creates such a beautiful and emotional feel that should never be overlooked. By the time Lost Continent comes in you are ready for more of what Open Water had to offer; have no worries. It's another beautiful song that completely puts out a lot of Fire's moments. The simplicity of each instruments doesn't dissapoint, because it's better off being a simple song that is full of emotion. Vheissu had it's Isis moment, and so does the Water disc. It's all in good manor though. Night Diving is a six minute epic, which is more easier to digest than Isis, full of either heavy or watered down tones, a solid drum beat, and some delayed guitar leads following lightly behind. The bridge is quiet; a heartbeat is faintly heard, and it feels as if you are floating to a lighted around under water. Underwater creatures swimming around you, and a chorus of unknown underwater inhabitants. By the end you feel as if you have emerged to the surface in the night, alone and deserted. It's a song that completely soaks you in everything Water should be. The Whaler is probably the only other fast paced song. The chorus is solemn and pretty, with a familiar sense of Radiohead. It ends with a lovely a'capella sung by Kensrue & Company, with a wonderful texture. Ending the Water disc is Kings Upon The Main. It has a industrial-like sound composed of piano and drums. It gives a feel of work in an underwater city. It's epic, and almost sad. You begin to exit the disc with the instruments building up, but still industrialized. The end of the song is like the end of The Flame Deluge; keeping the same effect, and being just as breathe-taking.

The Alchemy Index: Volumes I & II is a concept album at it's best. When it's all over you feel as if you have been lit on fire, in anger and ferocity, then thrown into the cold abyss that is the Water disc. Each disc makes it easy for you to imagine yourself in it's concept; be it the intensity of Fire, or the calmness that is Water. It does what most concepts don't; drags you in, and makes you feel like you are apart of it. Thrice have struck gold, topped their past albums, and is up their with The Illusion Of Safety. They've become the ones that will pick up where Radiohead have left off. They will continue to expand and conquer genres until they are through. The Alchemy Index: Volumes I & II is a millstone in Thrices career, and a fine example of what a concept album should be. At the end of the day The Alchemy Index: Volumes I & II is a contender for best concept album, if not album, of the year. But if you ask me, Thrice have already won.

Stream: www.myspace.com/thrice



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user ratings (1877)
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3.9
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other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Bryan H. (4)
    A little bit of the old, and a little bit of the new. And then a little more of the new....

    BlindWriting (2.5)
    Thrice's ambitious 2007 release, though often interesting, is too musically and conceptual...

    camdizzle (2)
    The songs on Volumes I & II of the Alchemy index are not bad by themselves, but the album ...

    SoCalPunk21 (4.5)
    Thrice continue their experimental expansion and craft an impressive first entry in a powe...

  • Jeremy Price (3.5)
    Thrice dissect themselves and explore the core ideas of their music, with solid results ov...

    Tyler Fisher EMERITUS (4.5)
    A concept album that actually focuses on the betterment of the band as musicians and artis...

    Mixhail (4.5)
    Thrice dares to go where no band goes before: 4 uniquely sounding discs for the purpose of...

    Nick Greer EMERITUS (4.5)
    Thrice releases Kid A and the Infinite Sadness....


Comments:Add a Comment 
ToWhatEnd
October 14th 2007


3172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ah the coding! Fix. Use [ ] instead of < > and make sure all of the letters are lowercase.This Message Edited On 10.14.07

Otisbum
October 14th 2007


1912 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pretty nice review.

EDIT: I'll vote after the tags are fixed.This Message Edited On 10.14.07

StrizzMatik
October 14th 2007


3188 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Really good review for a first-timer. Welcome to the site.

Tyler
Emeritus
October 14th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

He has 7 reviews...

SpinLightTwo
October 14th 2007


1041 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

....This Message Edited On 07.29.08

Serpento
October 14th 2007


2351 Comments


*turtle moment*

Nice, I still need to make time to check this out.

Cesar
October 14th 2007


2732 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just in case u need the help... [i]Thrice[/ i]

do it like that, but without the space in between the / and i Edit: u fixed it already so thumbs up.

Review is decent, got a little too deep into the concept album thing, and also u are giving to much praise to the album and even though that is your opinion, some of your statemenst seemed like you where already leaning to give this a 5 even b4 listening to it. Also, writing that this already won album of the year when there is still almost 3 months left makes you look a tad close-minded, but that is ur opinion so its fine. This Message Edited On 10.14.07

Aficionado
October 14th 2007


1027 Comments


Who gave this a neg?

lunchforthesky
October 14th 2007


1039 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review but when half the album borrows so much from one particular album it shouldn't really be a classic imo, but I guess i'm just being snobby.

Cesar
October 14th 2007


2732 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Given the nature of my comment I feel i need to say "not me".

SpinLightTwo
October 14th 2007


1041 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, the neg is a little confusing.

Aficionado
October 14th 2007


1027 Comments


It was probably tribestros

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2007


16088 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

No I negged it obviously!

SpinLightTwo
October 14th 2007


1041 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

....This Message Edited On 07.29.08

Cesar
October 14th 2007


2732 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If u don't feel totally fulfilled by this then check out Illusion of Safety, if u don't like that then forget about it.

Edit: Although they changed a little for Vehissu, so I suggest u read the reviews and listen the one u think u'll like the most.This Message Edited On 10.14.07

SpinLightTwo
October 14th 2007


1041 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Illusion and Vheissu are good starts, but the latter may be a better gateway.

StrizzMatik
October 14th 2007


3188 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Mwahahaha, whoops. I feel like a dork. Either way good review.

SpinLightTwo
October 14th 2007


1041 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks man.

russianmak
October 14th 2007


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review.
Some grammatical errors, but I did enjoy your usage of examples to explain each song.

SpinLightTwo
October 14th 2007


1041 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

....This Message Edited On 07.29.08



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