Most have already heard about Thrice on one way or another. If not, you should fill that educational gap... ;) 'The Artist in the Ambulance' is the third full lenght album by the band, and was released in 2003. Roughly the music of Thrice can be described as melodic Hardcore/Post-core.
Some general impressions:
Musically, I would have expected nothing less than showed here by Thrice. A for this genre absolut great bass player in combination with great drumming, dual guitar work on a high level, and good vocals. The singing got better on this one IMO, though it was not bad on the previous album for my likes. But the clean parts come over better, the screamed parts are on the same level as on the previous record. The only thing that could spoil the overall impression of the musical work is the simplified guitar work. Maybe simplified is not the right word, but what disapeared a bit here are the guitar leads that underlined and set the overall mood on 'The Illusion of Safety'. The guitars follow more ordinary patterns now, in a way.
A major thing I noticed is the general 'darker' mood of the record. Many passages of songs from 'The Illusion of Safety' marked something like a little sunrise in the overall feel of the album. On TAitA, the mood is much more melancholic. Don't think now you can await 'whiny emo lyrics' (like some would put it) though. The topics of the lyrics spread from social criticism ('Cold Cash and Colder Hearts' for example) to autobiographic material ('Stare at the Sun'). All on a high level IMO, with nteresting use of metaphors ('Melting point of Wax', for example, is using the picture of Icarus)
What was good:
Everytime I listen to this album, I'm suprised anew by the nice basslines. Use of octaves, unvonventional patterns, excellent fills. Good examples for that are 'Stare at the sun', 'The Melting point of wax' or the title track. The material is played very tight, and shows good energy. No real down points in the middle of the album. Nice is also the occasional use of strings etc in the background to set accents or underline certain moods. The end of 'The Abolition of Man' is absolute great speaking of guitar.
What was not so good:
But this is where the downsides kick in. More guitar work like on 'The Abolition of Man' would have been great. I really got the hang of it on 'The Illusion of Safety', and it is missed on some spots of the album. Apart from that, I have nothing more to 'mock' about.
If you'Re into this genre, 'The Artist in the Ambulance' is a album that won't leave many wishes open. I have this album since early 04, and it sneaks into my playlist again every now and then (as well as 'The Illusion of Safety'). This surely counts to one of my 'all time favorites' that gets played over and over again even after years.
The only let down is the somewhat drastic reduced lead guitar that was present on 'The Illusion of Safety'. Apart from that I would not know what could speak against this album (not counting personal preferences in). The musicianship is on a high level, the instrumental use as well as the lyrics. Still, I like the previous album just a tiny little bit better. So, in the end, I'll give out 4 stars.
Great review. I agree with you on the guitar parts, and i also feel the production was slightly lacking in some places, like 'Under A Killing Moon'. It just doesn't feel sharp enough, like it did on 'The Illusion Of Safety'. But a great album nonetheless.
LOL, dFelon, well put, this album is amazing in the regards the songs DO sound different, dustin is an amazing singer, eddie is a masterbasser. everyone listen to the intro of stare into the sun and here the bass line, its incredible and teppei still does good in the album even if hes not living up to the illusion of safety. dustin does great in lyrics and screaming, espec in paper tigers, thats the song i prac my screaming to. anyways this is THE post-hardcore band most bands try to live up to.
Yea, this album rocks. Hard. Definitely darker, i agree.
I miss those leads a lot, too. But i think the guitar work on this fits the album better, what with the melancholy all over the place.
As for their new stuff, I like the single and what I've heard off of the "podcasts" or whatever. Its a lot different from TAITA...and in a different way than "TAITA is different from IOS" Very experimental...but anyone who bought the DVD and heard the bootleg of So Strange I Remember should have seen something like this coming, IMO.
I find myself listening to this album alot lately and almost rediscovering my love for it. I always thought it was a good CD but didn't touch IOS. But lately, I find it to be one of those CDs that never grows old.