Review Summary: The reason I eat, breathe, and sleep music
Music is my obsession. If I have any free time you can bet that there's a good chance that I will either be writing it, listening to it, or searching for it. It has become the glue that, along with my friends and family, holds me together. My journey in becoming the elitist, asshole of a music snob that I am today would have never gotten off the ground if it wasn't for Thrice. When I started middle school, I, like just about every other kid out there whose brain had been morphed and over-saturated by modern rock radio, was enamored by the likes of Linkin Park, Metallica, and Blink 182, but in 2002 I was introduced to Thrice and never looked back. Thrice sparked a fire in my heart that still burns brightly to this day. Not only did The Illusion of Safety
get the ball rolling on the pathway to music nerd-dom, it was the inspiring force for me to pick up a guitar, and through shared connection helped establish some of my longest running friendships.
The Illusion of Safety
is the perfect post-hardcore album. For proof of this just look at the thousands of bands that popped up after its release, trying in vain to capture the power and and majesty hidden within its thirty-eight minutes. The Illusion of Safety
perfectly blends harsh screams and blistering guitar work with clean vocals and addicting, hook filled melodies. One only needs to listen to “Deadbolt” to understand why. Teppei Teranishi's intro riff has become the genre's defining moment, not to mention when it resurfaces in the chorus under Dustin Kensrue's soaring vocals it sounds as though all the energy in the world is focused through your speakers and into your being. But not all of The Illusion of Safety
's power lies within its furious side. “So Strange I Remember You” and “See You In the Shallows” showcase a perfected version of the melodic punk of Thrice's debut, Identity Crisis
, with resounding sing-a-long chants, punk beats, and fast power chords, making even the best songs from their debut sound like immature growing pains.
Dustin Kensrue's lyrics on The Illusion of Safety
are among his most personal. While still not as refined as what he would offer up on later releases, found within the literary references and religious allusions of his words, Kensrue's struggles with faith, dogma, and friendships are the backbone for his poetry on The Illusion of Safety
. Yet instead of the global existentialism of “we” that made Vheissu
so uplifting for its fans, Kensrue's struggles on Illusion
are his and his alone making it a much darker place, melding perfectly with the heavier instrumentation of the album.
It's strange looking back at an album like The Illusion of Safety
, as it was so pivotal in the construction of my musical DNA. Maybe its greatest legacy to me is that every time I listen to that closing refrain in “To Awake and Avenge the Dead” I still get the same chill down my spine as I did almost a decade ago when I listened to it for the first time, inspiring me to try my hardest to out do it, but like dogs running after a mechanical rabbit at a race track, all I can do is try, ever continuing to strive for perfection.