Review Summary: Thursday seem to have realised what it takes to stand above the rest in Post-Hardcore and have really pushed themselves with this release.
Three years have passed since Thursday last released a full-length album and now they bring us their fifth full-length album; Common Existence. At first look, the cover seems to be displaying KKK members. However, they are really just people facing away from the camera who are wearing robes. I wasn't really expecting anything too far away from a usual Thursday album: Rough screams, thrashy post-hardcore guitars, and melodically sung lines. But after one listen, I was suprised at just how much they've matured and grown as a band since their first album; 'Waiting' (Released exactly ten years ago).
The band themselves seem to have realised just how hard it is to stand-out and be recognised within the Post-Hardcore genre that they are so familiar with and have adapted their music to these changes without changing themselves. This is something that is noticable within a few listens of the album. Another step forward is the introduction of more effects and sounds which have been added in at the mixing studio. Many bands have tried to expand on their music with this strategy and it usually ends up sounding over-done and just plain terrible whereas Thursday have actually managed to fulfill the intention (Without ruining it might I add). You'll find the best example of this point in the track 'You Were The Cancer'.
Another example of the added effects is that everything here seems quite distorted - Not just the guitars. All of the screams have an element of distortion added (which strangely reminds me of the zombie screams in the movies). The drums have been distorted too in places and it makes the drumming feel quite loose around the music but it fits in and works well without making this seem like 11 tracks of demo recordings.
The singing is just as bad as in all their previous recordings, but with Thursday, I feel that they are one of the only bands around that can pull off the feat of having a singer who really can't sing but can project his vocals into music rather than above it all and make it feel right with all the emotion he shows with his voice. Unlike most singers he blends with the music rather than trying to make the music what it is and it comes across as a complete piece of work here with Common Existence.
The guitars seem to be much more technical than in previous releases. Heavy examples are the guitar fills that are placed during the verses in the song 'Resuscitation of a Dead Man' and also in the bridges of that song. It's also noticeable in 'As He Climbed The Dark Mountain'. With these improvements and changes it shows that this album is bigger than previous releases in many ways.
The album from the beginning is a roller-coaster ride through some of their heaviest songs to date. The opening track 'Resuscitation of a Dead Man' opens with the word "Ambulance" yelled in a desperate and panicked way which allows the listener to speculate on just how this is going to sound all the way through. From the word go (Or "Ambulance") there is a sense of urgency here.
There is a theory that when people are put in troubled and urgent situations, they push the boundaries of human strengh and I think this is exactly what Thursday have tried to re-create here, just in the form of music by making this feel like an urgency rather than a rush. If this is what they were trying to do with this record, then they've succeded hands down.
Lead singer Geoff Rickly explained in an interview that many of the songs here are influenced by the words of some of his favourite poets and authors. For example, 'Resuscitation of a Dead Man' is influenced by Dennis Johnsons 'Resuscitation of a Hanged Man' Which gives me the impression that this is lyrically one of the bands most thought out albums.
There is nothing here on Common Existence that suggests that this was ever a half-hearted attempt to make an album just because they haven't released one for 3 years. 'Circuits of Fever' does seem more of a filler track to me and it really does remind me of Kasabian in a few places, hence this track seems to be one of the softest on the record.
I think that overall Thursday have made a superb album here and I'm hoping they will continue with this style on future recordings. They really seemed to enjoy themselves here and it's great to see a band really pushing themselves and their musical abilty whilst seeming comfortable with all that they are doing.
Overall Rating - 4.5/5
You Were The Cancer
Resuscitation of a Dead Man