The Artist in the Ambulance

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Before we get to the review let me give you a little information about Thrice. Thrice is a four piece outfit from California. The band as a whole does not confess Christianity but the singer Dustin does. He is also the lyricist; therefore, Christian themes run ramped throughout their music. Before releasing “The Artist in the Ambulance? Thrice put out 2 independent releases. The first of which was very poppy. The second release, “The Illusions of Safety,” is by far one of the best albums put out in a long time. If you do not already own this CD then you should go pick it up NOW!!!!!!

Thrice has since signed to Island Records and in the first week of sales shot to the number 16 spot on the Billboard Top 200. They are also playing the main stage of Warped Tour, so some of you may have been able to catch their act. Anyway that is enough background, so lets get to the review.

?The Artist in the Ambulance? starts off with “Cold Cash and Colder Hearts,” a song that follows a traditional punk layout. Thrice makes a stand on the opening song lyrically stating that we as Americans are cold hearted. The songs speaks of how we treat the middle east wrong because they are different then us. I really enjoyed this track but was a little disappointed. It did not have the same umph or complexity I was used to in Thrice songs. Not to mention the song seemed to be very radio friendly. Songs of this nature were not often found on “The Illusions of Safety,” but I ignored it and moved on.

?All That’s Left? is the current single for the album and is overall a good song. It has a mainstream feel to it, but leaves enough edge that this song will not cause Thrice to be seen everywhere you go.

The fourth song on the disk is a big disappointment? at first! The riff sounds very blah to start off, but as the song progresses the riff gets better, and the drum work on this song is very good; however, this song is the turning point for the album!

?Stare at the Sun? is very good lyrically. The song talks about Dustin’s struggles with beliefs. He states? “Do I trust my heart of my mind, Why is truth so hard to find in this world?? Sometimes it is hard to decide weather to trust science or your faith and Dustin explores this. Not only are the lyrics strong, but this is one of my favorite tracks on the album.
The bass line is great, the drums fit perfectly, and the guitar work is what we all have come to know from Thrice. This song could easily be their next single.

?Paper Tigers? is probably the hardest song on the album. It reminds me of a song that could have been on “The Illusions of Safety.” But once again that is a good thing. Dustin shows that he can still scream his lyrics with the best of them, while once again a great bass line is being played.

The next three songs are very good. They all take the heavy version of Thrice and mix it in with the new mainstream version to perfection. All three seem to flow nicely between screams and good clean vocals.

The title track is next and all I have to say is?WOW! This is what mainstream rock is supposed to sound like. The songs starts off with Dustin singing in front of a simple 4 chord progression, before kicking into a more complicated guitar riff. The drums play a simple beat, but it is perfect for the song. If any song on this disk is going to get them noticed it is
going to be this track.

The albums ends strong with 2 really good songs. The first of which, “The Abolition of Man,” takes Thrice back to “The Illusions of Safety.” Finally they end on a song that mixes their two styles again. On the final song they do say “If you’re a smart you’ll stay the hell away from love.” At first I was a little surprised by this line, but soon realized that it is not that big of a deal. Many of the “Christian? bands I listen to curse everyday, but are not brave enough to place it in their lyrics.

I know this review went long as I ran down almost every track? but this album is so good I felt I owned it to you all!!!! Thrice has become more mainstream then I would have liked, but they did it in a good way. Good are the days of old where Dustin scream for most of the album, but we now usher in the days of new where vocal harmonies intertwine with his screams in sheer beauty. The music has not lost its edge, save for a couple of songs, which were defiantly made thinking of radio play.

With all that aside this is a top notch album. If anything is going to get popular in the mainstream let it be Thrice! This is a great album with complicated guitaring, exceptional drumming, and beautiful vocals. A definite must for all!!!!!!

Guest Writer