Thursday
War All the Time


4.0
excellent

Review

by johnny of the Well USER (41 Reviews)
November 2nd, 2012 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Thursday strip down the hooks but remain strong

Having released their breakthrough album Full Collapse two years previously, Thursday quickly became one of the bands to listen to, and consequentially had a lot of hype to live up to with their follow-up. With War All the Time they made several important changes to their sound that resulted in an album that most fans appreciated but almost unanimously dubbed as inferior to its predecessor. Well, to cut the crap, War All the Time does not only maintain the high standard that Thursday set with Full Collapse, but it also surpasses it.

The emphasis here has changed from catchy hooks that infected the listener with instant nostalgia to more cohesive songwriting and a more polished overall sound. Don’t misunderstand the last point; Geoff Rickly’s beautifully strained and passionate vocals are still right at the forefront, perhaps even more so than before, since the amount of screaming has decreased significantly in favour of his cleans (a wise decision in my opinion, since the screaming on Full Collapse did very little for me), and the interesting post-hardcore instrumentation is still there, but it is all performed with a much slicker aesthetic. This is a mistake, since the rougher production style was a significant part of what made Full Collapse sound so passionate, and War All the Time is also a very much an emotionally-fueled album. However, the slight overproduction is more than made up for by the content of the songs themselves.

As I mentioned, the songs on War All the Time succeed not because of hooks (Geoff Rickly himself has described it as having “no hooks”) but because of their power and quality; they are concise and don’t waste a moment of their running time. A great example of this is Marches and Maneuvres, which features a clean intro, aggressive verses, a driving breakdown riff, and an extended clean bridge at the end; in short it has a lot of changing dynamics and maintains a chaotic vibe throughout without relying on a catchy melody or lick. Other key tracks include opener For the Workforce, Drowning, which crams a lot of ideas into a short running time and sounds all the better for it, conveying frantic desperation very well, the title track, which is a slower, more emotional song guaranteed to inflict maximum nostalgia, Signals Over the Air, features the only serious hook of the album (“They stole the love from our lives to put the sex on the radio”) and was a great choice of first single, Asleep in the Chapel, which is the only song reminiscent of Full Collapse, and the album’s only soft song This Song Brought to You By a Falling Bomb, which is a beautiful moment especially in contrast to the rest.

However, special mention must be given to the absolute highlight of the album, Steps Ascending. It is an excellent combination of an upbeat and a bleak sound that is maintained throughout the first half, with a furiously passionate chorus and powerful verses. However, the song really takes off in the bridge, where the song cuts out and then picks up quietly, building up over a beautifully desperate vocal delivery until it reaches the emotional climax of the album in the form of the repeated lyrics “Red roses”, and then the listener truly understands what makes the album work; it is so powerfully driven that it doesn't need to rely on hooks. I would highly recommend this song to anyone as one of the best of the genre.

Sadly, there are two sides to every coin and War All the Time is no exception; by cutting the majority of the catchiness from their sound, Thursday stripped away any potential that the weaker songs might have had. Certain songs on Full Collapse relied completely on hooks and would have been pretty mediocre without them (for example, A Hole in the World). M. Shepard, Between Rupture and Rupture, Division St. and Tomorrow I’ll Be You are not strong enough to make up for their lack of accessible moments and consequentially hold the album back from being the near-masterpiece that it could have been; they aren't bad songs, but they are extremely forgettable since they neither have sufficiently powerful moments or catchiness. Despite this, the better material on the album is easily enough to make it a rewarding listen and overpower the average songs enough to make this a better album than Full Collapse.

Pros
Inventive instrumentation
Passionate
Steps Ascending

Cons
Slightly overproduced
Several weaker tracks
Lack of hooks

Top 5
1. Steps Ascending
2. For the Workforce, Drowning
3. Marches and Maneuvers
4. War all the Time
5. Asleep in the Chapel



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Comments:Add a Comment 
johnnydeking29
November 2nd 2012


9436 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Negnegnegaway

Digging: Warren of Ohms - The Wolf and The Fox

FadedSun
November 2nd 2012


1302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I actually preferred this album to Full Collapse as well. Good review.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 2nd 2012


20063 Comments


pos'd hard man. this is my one and only thursday album. great review

Digging: Trophy Eyes - Mend, Move On

johnnydeking29
November 2nd 2012


9436 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers bro, check Full Collapse (even if I was mean in the review, it's still great)

IdiotequeCigar
November 2nd 2012


402 Comments


Rules like a bitch on speed

wacknizzle
November 2nd 2012


13601 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is really awesome imo, I've always loved it. Good review.

Digging: Redwood Hill - Collider

blastOFFitsPARTYtime
November 2nd 2012


1477 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice, man. Pos'd.

johnnydeking29
November 2nd 2012


9436 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers guys

minty901
November 2nd 2012


2080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

their best album.

followed by no devolucion.

followed by waiting.

followed by a city by the light divided.

followed by full collapse.

followed by common existence.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 2nd 2012


16112 Comments


nice review JD

Digging: H.P. Lovecraft - H.P. Lovecraft II

wacknizzle
November 2nd 2012


13601 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Lights out on division street
And all the hate that rises
Through the cracks in the pavement,
As the temperature falls.
THIS IS WHERE IT HITS THE GROUND!!!


Ecnalzen
November 2nd 2012


6775 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review.

This is the only album I have from these guys, but I don't remember liking much of it except for Signals Over the Air. The vocals kind of killed the album for me.

NorwichScene
November 2nd 2012


1498 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Waaaaar, all of the tiiiiime. Haven't listened to this in a while

Digging: From Indian Lakes - Able Bodies

wacknizzle
November 2nd 2012


13601 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah some people don't dig Geoff's vocals but I've always been a big fan about em, besides he's such a great lyricist.

Ecnalzen
November 2nd 2012


6775 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Geoff isn't terrible, but I can't stand the guy that does the back up vocals.

If I remember right, Thursday and Thrice were getting compared to each other a lot back when this came out and I was (and still pretty much am) obsessed with Thrice so I decided to check them out. I actually still have the album and am giving it another listen now.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
November 2nd 2012


4453 Comments


Good review, Johnny POS'd.

johnnydeking29
November 2nd 2012


9436 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks bro

suppatime
November 2nd 2012


445 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love this album so much

thekingofqueen
November 2nd 2012


16 Comments


It was swag

SCREAMorphine
November 3rd 2012


1761 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great album, great review.



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