Review Summary: Much more accessible than their previous album but still packs the punch that their earlier albums had.
I always love it when bands make each album different from the last one. Which is why I love Thursday, each of their albums have been something different and something great. With that being said, their latest album, Common Existence is heavily influenced by their hardcore roots combined with the lighter approach of A City By The Light Divided. However, Common Existence is a lot more accessible than it's predecessor and it packs a much bigger punch. This album shows Thursday testing their limits even further and succeeding greatly.
Fresh off their split with Envy and Geoff's United Nations side project, Thursday release their heaviest and most technical album to date. Kicking off with the chaotic, "Resuscitation of a Dead Man" which hits you like a swift kick to the face when you listen to it. The tracks "Unintended Long Term Effects," "Last Call," and "As He Climbed The Dark Mountain" also have this fierce and aggressive feeling that was somewhat absent from their last album but have returned in full force this time around. There's also the more melodic "Friends In The Armed Forces," a song where singer Geoff Rickly vents about the frustration of his friends constantly leaving to go to war.
"When you're standing next to me / Friendship offers no relief / Stay with me now, just hear me out / Don't want to lose you to that great black cloud."
Keyboardist Andrew Everding has really stepped up his game on this album, too. His keyboard and synthesizer effects are absolutely marvelous as they help create a perfect atmosphere on the songs "Subway Funeral" and "Circuits of Fever." The latter also uses some spectacular vocal effects along with a thunderous bassline from Tim Payne. Rickly's voice has improved so much over the years and I feel it is at it's peak on this album. His screams, in particular are what has improved the most as they sound completely vicious and more powerful than they have before. Guitarists Tom Keeley and Steve Pedulla also have their moments in this sun, most notably the riff on "Resuscitation of a Dead Man," and the build-up of the closer, "You Were The Cancer." The only complaint I have is that the drums sound a bit too processed and unnatural, but it doesn't bother me too much.
The band also tries to experiment with a couple of lighter songs, one being the acoustic, "Time's Arrow." This song is very emotional and powerful and definitely a very moving song but it's seems a bit out of place since it's right in the middle of the album. The other is the beautiful, "Love Has Led Us Astray," another track where the effects come into play along with the lyrics;
"Can you even see what you're doing to me / You sleep in the leaves and I can't wake you up / You float like a reed in the river bank / If I dive too deep I can't hear you / But everyone else does / And love has led us astray / Love won't let us sleep."
The closer, "You Were The Cancer" is one of the best songs the band have ever done. The keyboards and building riff in the intro set the perfect tone of what's to come, the screams sound perfect, the bridge is epic and sends chills down your spine and the outro closes it magnificently. It's pretty much a perfect closing to Common Existence.
Those who had a hard time getting into A City By The Light Divided will be very pleased with this album and that the band has been able to stretch their limits without drifting into boring territory. Common Existence is about par with their sophomore album, Full Collapse. It's technical, emotional and just hits you like a kick to the jaw after you listen to it. I wouldn't say it's their best album but it's about par with Full Collapse in terms of lyrical and sound quality. The last three tracks are among some of the best that the band has ever recorded, too. This very well could help give Thursday their biggest success since War All The Time.
Favorite Tracks: Resuscitation of a Dead Man, Friends In The Armed Forces, Subway Funeral, You Were The Cancer
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