I’ll admit I’m not one who usually listens to hardcore/alt-rock music, but when asked to review this album, I thought, Eh why not, I’ll give it a listen. I thought the concept of a completely live anthology album was pretty unique, and the appropriately titled “Anthology” is indeed a raw, unedited, two-CD collection of 24 songs, all captured during Thrice’s most recent tour. This album includes more recent songs as well as tracks dating back to their first album—which was released over thirteen years ago. And with the members announcing an indefinite hiatus for their successful and influential band, I was intrigued to listen to their live album send-off.
The first thing I noticed about Thrice on this album was their insane energy. Once the applause that starts off the first song, Yellow Belly, dies down, the energy of the band ignites instantly. There’s a killer, driving drumbeat by drummer Riley Breckenridge and gritty guitar tones bursting from the amps. Singer Dustin Kensrue seems to be screaming more than singing on this track. Once again, not really my thing, but then again I guess that’s a befitting and effective vocal style of this genre.
Thrice played some of their most popular songs, like Image Of The Invisible and The Artist In The Ambulance that had the audience clapping and singing along. What stood out to me was In Exile, which somewhat moved away from the typical power chord style and showcased Kensrue’s throaty growl. The instrumentation’s a bit softer and more melodic, and the end of the song features a wailing “Whoa -oh -oh” à la Kings of Leon. (Did I just compare Thrice to Kings of Leon?) Other tender moments: Daedalus, Red Sky, and Digital Sea.
“Anthology” then returns to Thrice’s signature loud and fast sound. Deadbolt contains some cool high-speed guitar fills in the beginning. To Awake and Avenge the Dead features chugging guitars and more screaming vocals. Another one of Thrice’s popular numbers is Stare At The Sun, saved for the second CD in the set. It has a catchy, anthem-like chorus that I found myself really getting into. The fans are into it, the band is clearly into it, and I, myself, was getting sucked into the energy that Thrice translates so well through this album. In some of the other songs, the screaming vocals and dirty guitars did get a little repetitive, so I found myself getting bored at a certain point.
My ears were refreshed when the album took a turn with some slow jams, a few which are real gems. Beggars falls into a relaxed, deep groove that I really enjoyed. The vocals are soulful and raspy, the guitar/bass lulling and soothing. It’s probably my favorite song on this album. Anthology, the title track, finishes off this album with what seems to be the most recent sound cultivated by Thrice—a little less heaviness, a little less yelling and a more modern, clean touch. You can definitely hear their slight shift in sound over the years as represented by the different songs written at different times. “Anthology” is a farewell of sorts for Thrice, and even though this type of music isn’t really my style, I can’t deny that this is an impressive collection of songs that showcases their evolution and influence as a band.
Final Rating: 7.5/10
If you’re cheap: The Artist In The Ambulance, In Exile, Stare At The Sun, Beggars