I have a confession to make. For a long time, I was probably too closed-minded about the music I listened to. From some time in high school until about 2008, I would only listen to music if it was labeled as “Christian.” While there are certainly pluses to this approach, and I still have no desire to listen to filth, I undoubtedly passed by a few bands which were well worth my time. Thrice is one of those bands. Being a fan of alternative rock as I was, I had heard their name for a while. I assumed they were like any other post-hardcore band and sung about the same types of things. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
At the beginning of my senior year of college, I joined a band with some friends who had moved to Nashville in order to focus on their music. All of these guys were fans of this band, Thrice. We even covered a Thrice song at a show or two. It wasn’t until the following spring that I took a serious look at the band. What I discovered blew my mind.
I will note that the album featured in this Throwback Thursday was actually released in 2005. (I was a little behind the times.) Inspired by the song “Red Sky,” which was one of the songs we covered, I ordered Vheissu used from half.com. Upon the first listen, I was enthralled as track after track delved into deep philosophical and spiritual topics. Was that a… did he just quote the Bible? This song sounds like it’s about Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. This song is definitely about the betrayal of Christ. What on earth? Who are these guys? How is this not labeled a Christian band?
Turns out avoiding that label was a decision the band consciously made. The focus of the songs just happened to be what was close to the heart of front-man Dustin Kensrue. And the dude just happened to hold the same world view and intellectual struggles I did. So for that spring, Vheissu was in heavy rotation in my music library. The styles range from heavy and passionate to somber and longing. Each track is painstakingly crafted with a level of detail and complexity which I admire, and the lyrics are nothing short of amazing. One of my favorites is “Of Dust and Nations.”
So put your faith
In more than steel
Don’t store your treasures up
With moth and rust
Where thieves break in and steal
Pull the fangs
From out your heel
Oh we live in but a shadow of the real
Furthemore, the cohesion of the album is among the best I’ve ever heard as the band addresses the question, “Who are you?”, a true analysis of the human condition and why we are here. Even today this album is in my top ten. Every once in a while, I will be listening and suddenly be taken back to that fresh Nashville spring before I was launched into adulthood, the words of Thrice echoing in my ears. You can find this deep, post-hardcore masterpiece on Spotify or Amazon