Thrice: The Alchemy Index, Vol. I-II

Once part of the post-hardcore genre that has now become mostly inundated with unoriginality, Irvine-based Thrice has been keen to separate itself from the pack with a unique sound that retains its heaviness but still explores new directions. On ‘The Alchemy Index: Volumes I & II: Fire and Water,’ the first two volumes of its element-inspired four volume album set, Thrice takes its sound to a new level, leaving off where its last album, ‘Vheissu,’ ended.
Despite the commercial disappointment of the ambitious and experimental-sounding ‘Vheissu,’ it established Thrice’s musical credibility as a band looking to push its musical boundaries rather than play it safe with surefire radio hits.
This shift in musical direction eventually led Thrice to part with major-label Island Records and sign with indie-based Vagrant Records, giving Thrice more artistic freedom.
It is a move that has paid off well, as Thrice has delivered a record that has everything from hard, heavy rockers bordering on progressive-rock (‘Fire’) to softer, more ethereal numbers (‘Water’), creating a sonic landscape. Dustin Krensue’s incredible vocals can be fierce, soaring, melodic and poignant all at the same time.
The ‘Fire’ disc kicks off with ‘Firebreather,’ a scorching, hard-hitting track that lays it down thick and heavy with baritone guitars and pounding drums that cascade over the yearning refrain ‘Tell me, are you free?’
A song ready to make your room rumble, it is arguably the most epic song on the ‘Fire’ disc, complemented by the sounds of sirens and Teppei Teranishi’s textured, yet melodic guitar work.
For fans of Krensue’s screaming vocals harkening back to Thrice’s early days, ‘The Messenger’ will definitely satisfy. The song shows an abrasive side of Thrice that is mosh-pit ready while ‘The Arsonist’ remains bold and aggressive throughout, retaining more of a metal edge with its furious fretwork, throbbing bass and Riley Breckenridge’s complex drum patterns.
Whereas the ‘Fire’ disc represents the heavier, more traditional side of Thrice, the ‘Water’ disc is a far different musical experience.
It is here Thrice really spreads its wings, using the sounds of the piano, keyboard and a m