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Thrice - Horizons/East (Album Review)

Thursday, 23 September 2021 Written by Matt Mills

Photo: Matt Vogel

It’s a tale as old as time: rock band reunites, fails to recapture the lofty highs of their youth. Kiss, System of a Down and Mötley Crüe are among the book’s infinite chapters. Yet, you can count on one hand the bands that have re-emerged from the abyss and outdone themselves. Thrice are one of them.

After 13 years of tender post-hardcore from an unchanged lineup—frontman Dustin Kensrue, guitarist Teppei Teranishi, bassist Eddie Breckenridge and drummer Riley Breckenridge—they stepped away from the limelight, citing family commitments. 

However, what they returned with—2016’s ‘To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere’—is frequently dubbed their magnum opus, housing 11 dusty rock anthems that were politically recusant yet bombastic.

The sonic diversity of follow up ‘Palms’ was lauded, too, for summarising the band’s journey to that point.

‘Horizons/East’ is another marvellously characterful outing, this time destined to go down as Thrice’s gentlest rock moment. Electronica and keyboards frequently bubble beneath this parade of ballads, framing every heavy crescendo.

Opener The Color of the Sky bubbles to life with synths, followed by delicate hums from Kensrue. “My first and foremost memory / Is staring up to wonder at the wall,” he reflects while a swaggering bassline builds the hard rock backbone for the rest of the song to cling to. The later Robot Soft Exorcism composes a funk groove with that same techno edge, and Unitive/East is a meditative conclusion, defined by booming pianos.

As a result, when the grittier rock highs emerge, they do so with a thunderous sense of triumph. The opening riff of Scavengers is a revving engine, eventually accelerating into an anthemic chorus. The Dreamer rants like Idles before giving way to a suitably hippie-esque refrain, wistful yet infectious. 

Then, the escalating aggression of penultimate cut Dandelion Wine makes it the de-facto climax; it culminates with screeching guitars and layered, shouted vocals that together become the mightiest of post-rock crescendos. Twenty two years, 11 albums and two stints in, ‘Horizons/East’ ensures there’s still no such thing as a bad Thrice album. If anything, the band’s continued evolution this deep into their career implies the best hasn’t even arrived yet.



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