Review Summary: A melting pot of different eras and genres, Thrice’s debut really ends up being more of an eccentric showcase of influences rather than a distinguished effort.
Whether you like Thrice or not, you have to respect their abilities to do what very little bands can: re-invent themselves from album to album while still staying fresh and creative. Starting from their humble beginnings as high school kids, the band has offered something a little different on every new album, transforming into better musicians as the years went on. But although the band has released some widely acclaimed albums, it all had to start somewhere: Identity Crisis
is the sound of a new band trying to find their bearings, and for better or worse, it shows completely.
Probably the most unique thing about Identity Crisis
is the band’s ability to meld all their favourite heavy genres into one distinct style. Although I would consider a lot of these songs to be melodic punk, there are heavy instances of post-hardcore leads and thrash metal mentalities, making every song sound like a melting pot of lots of different sounds and ideas. Songs like “A Torch To End All Torches” are even divided into three separate sections: the intro sounds like something from Metallica’s early days, before a short interlude morphs into a melodic section and finally ending with punk rock-type drive. It’s a commendable sound, and there are always several distinct parts of songs on Identity Crisis
that are enjoyable to listen to.
And while you’ll find yourself listening to several different genres from song to song, it seems like what the band does best on their debut album is melodic punk. California-tinged melodic punk songs like “Ultra Blue” and “T&C” don’t really offer a meld of genres like “A Torch To End All Torches” does, but they excel at catchy guitar leads and sing-a-long parts, and they stand-out as some of the album’s best songs. On the other hand, thrash metal darlings “As the Ruins Fall” and “Under Par” feature speedy guitar picking and are both pretty good in their own right. There’s obviously plenty of variety to be found on Identity Crisis
, and the guys seemingly try to do their best to make it all sound streamlined.
But, alas, Identity Crisis
’s biggest weak point and greatest strength, oddly enough, is the band’s utilization of several genres. While they do each genre well, this album suffers from a crippling case of schizophrenia, as every song sounds almost completely different. It’s painfully obvious that the band wears their influence on their sleeve, and it both adds and takes away to the quality of the album. It all boils down to personal preference: I can humbly acknowledge the band’s talent that is showcased here, but I’m too stricken by the straightforward genres switches and streamlined styles. When I think of other bands when I’m listening to one band’s music, that always a bad sign, and unfortunately Identity Crisis
plays out like a mirror held to other genres rather than it’s own unique showcase.
With Identity Crisis
, it’s obvious that the band knew how cluttered their style was at the time: standing back and listening to the obvious meld of genres they created, how could they not call this album anything but “Identity Crisis”? But like with all early albums, it was only a matter of time before these talented guys got a little less artificial with the utilization of their influences and created something all-their-own with their breakthrough follow up, The Illusion of Safety
. Their debut will always be a curiosity, and I know that a lot of people really enjoy the meld of genres and sounds, but in my eyes, Identity Crisis
is nothing more than a mixed-bag from a group of talented but under-developed musicians trying to find their voice.