thriceThrice is a band where all the parts contribute, but clearly Dustin Kensrue is at the helm.

Artist: Thrice
(c)2011 Vagrant Records

Having absorbed this band only starting with the 2004 Vheissu, my history doesn't follow nearly as close as the rabid faithful fan might. Thrice is a band where all the parts contribute, but clearly Dustin Kensrue is at the helm. Unfortunately, as a touring band, they appear to be taking an indefinite hiatus, as a couple members of the band have young family pressure facing them. Unfortunately, I have never seen them. I hear they put on a killer show.

"Major/Minor" is a veteran modern rock montage that envelopes the listener with a passionate vocal paired perfectly with the backing instruments. Kudos to the production crew. Right out of the gate, the in-your-face rocker "Yellow Belly" addresses the abusive father figure with "You were built for blessing, but you only make them bleed, but you don't care//And bruises are but shadows of the blackness that you breed, but you don't care." "Promises" gives a nod to the book of Romans in referring to the deceitfulness of man's heart: "Our word is so faint and feeble//Broken by the slightest breeze or breath//Our hearts are, they're so deceitful//Sick and filled with lies that lead to death".

"Cataracts" is like a modern day Psalm lyrically. David, when fearing for his life from Saul, called out to God from his depths as a man. Very similarly, Kensrue despairingly pleas "Pin me down and take away//This heart of stone//Wind and sound//Awake my old dry bones//Cut these thorns and kick these stones//And keep those birds at bay//Plant deep and dark//And help my heart perceive the light of day". It was hard to pick a favorite from the mix; that's how fluid this release is to me. "Treading Paper" has an intoxicating rhythm that blends well with vocals and melody, hence getting my vote. Right up there, "Words In The Water" is a song where the darkening and despair of the heart bleeds through to the music. They even include stripped-down acoustic versions of "Yellow Belly" and "Promises". The high intensity of this release is a reminder how strong Kensrue is as a writer and visionary. Here's to hoping the itch to write music still burns within Dustin Kensrue, as fatherhood now takes hold of his attention.

January 2012