As New Jersey's post-hardcore pioneers approach their tenth anniversary, they've dug deep to recapture their original fervor and present a cohesive, unique masterpiece that looks ahead to the next ten years. RIYL: Brand Ne... more »w, Taking Back Sunday, Thrice, Underoath.« less
As New Jersey's post-hardcore pioneers approach their tenth anniversary, they've dug deep to recapture their original fervor and present a cohesive, unique masterpiece that looks ahead to the next ten years. RIYL: Brand New, Taking Back Sunday, Thrice, Underoath.
A. Kohler | Louisville, KY | 02/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Some bands, if they've been around long enough and make enough music, eventually end up making an album that sounds like a conglomerate of all their previous albums. Over the course of the first 5 songs on Common Existence, it sounds like Thursday took the energy and bleakness of songs like "For the Workforce, Drowning" or "Jet Black New Year" and mixed it with some of the straight out rock from Full Collapse, specifically "Paris in Flames" and "Cross Out the Eyes." The atmosphere of War all the Time is there and the energy of Full Collapse is impossible to miss. Common Existence just sounds like a natural and welcome progression of the bands sound.
You can hear elements of the punk, hardcore and progressive rock that has always been a part of Thursdays sound since they first emerged from the basements of New Jersey. There are high-energy tracks destined to be concert favorites like "Resurrection of a Dead Man" and "Friends in the Armed Forces." I found myself singing "For The Workforce, Drowning" (one of, if not the best songs Thursday ever wrote) after I listened to "Resurrection of a Dead Man" for the first time. It's the perfect way to start off the album. From the beginning you get a shot of energy, a sense of urgency. The mixture of hardcore and punk is back and it's a little dirtier than before. Thursday has found a way to take the two genres and craft their own sound, again, just as they did with Full Collapse. A lot of these songs sound like they could have been recorded at the same time as one of the best songs the band has ever written, "Jet Black New Year."
"Beyond the Visible Spectrum," "Circuits of Fever" and "Subway Funeral" really standout as examples of the new life and sound Thursday has found. There's a fresh sound there, something that sounds so new and yet so familiar. The heavier use of the keyboards really stands out and gives the band a new dimension, something that never felt fully explored before. Listening to "Circuits of Fever" and "Beyond the Visible Spectrum" gives the listener a sense that the band has grown. And if you've been a Thursday fan and know any of their previous material, you know it's different but at the same time, you know it's Thursday.
There's a dirtiness to Common Existence that harkens all the way back to Thursdays first album, Waiting, released nearly 10 years ago. Part of the reason for the nostalgia is the production but there's also a sense that the band is less concerned with melody and focused more on rocking out. But they still somehow find the perfect balance between the two that made Full Collapse so amazing. But it's a different mixture. "As He Climbed the Dark Mountain" and "Last Call" are great examples of how well they are able to mix hardcore, emo, punk and straight rock and roll.
The biggest things that stand out on Common Existence are the vocals and the use of the keyboards. The vocals feel less prominent than before. Geoff just doesn't sound as loud, which could be a good thing for a lot of people. Geoff has a voice that is either loved or hated, there doesn't seem to be any middle ground. On previous albums the vocals seemed to soar above the music, rising up and taking center stage. Now they feel buried a little bit within the music. Rather than standing out, they melt into the songs, mixing better with the guitars and the drums. It works well.
But what really gives this album its uniqueness is the excellent use of the keyboards. They never felt fully utilized before - at least not consistently over the course of a whole album. On Common Existence they feel more prominent and it gives the album a real shot in the arm. It adds another element to the excellent hardcore/punk sound the band has crafted, or reinvented, depending on how you look at it.
As far as I was concerned, Thursday was a dead band. I lost track of them with "A City By the Light Divided" and after "Kill The House Lights," an album that felt like a goodbye release, they stunned me with their split on Temporary Residence with Envy and have again surprised me with the quality of Common Existence. After listening to their newest album, it feels like Thursday is a band resurrected. Common Existence feels like a breath of fresh air, almost more so for Thursday themselves rather than for the listener. It's not the same Thursday I used to love, but the energy is still there and it feels like they have found a second wind, a new life. "
Common Existence is anything but.
Aaron Warlock | Chicago, IL | 02/25/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There's a reason Thursday have outlasted most of their contemporaries and transcended the parameters of their genre. Every album they've released since their inception has been an artistic achievement, and Common Existence may be 2009's first truly flawless album. From start to finish, Existence is a tightly wound yet infinitely elegant display of emotionally charged art rock that defies conventions and expectations. In fact, the album so profound in its uniqueness and artistry that it's almost impossible to isolate and describe its elements individually for the sake of review. Common Existence functions as a singular work of art that really can't be dissected and objectified by any typical means of description. Simply put, it has to be heard to be understood. It's a post-rock masterpiece that's not only thoroughly excellent but ponderously cathartic as well, making you feel inexplicably less sad and angry after listening to it. Thursday operate on levels unreachable by any other band in their class, save for perhaps Brand New, and their latest album is one more example of how music can still be truly described as art even in 2009."
Thursday Returns With Full Force - Better than Ever
IcemanJ | Ohio, USA | 04/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the moment I heard "Understanding in a Car Crash" on MTV in the summer of 2001, I was completely hooked by Thursday. My friends thought I was crazy, and couldn't understand what my obsession with them was. They have always offered something different, something unique among similar bands. Even though my music taste back then was not very established yet, Thursday remains sort of a "black sheep" of my music taste, if you will. What I mean is I don't listen to many artists similar to them at all. The most similar I can think of is At the Drive-In. In fact, I generally don't even listen to popular artists that are being played on MTV or mainstream radio stations. Quite frankly, so many of them suck that it has become a waste of my time to even consider it. However, I think this solidifies the fact that Thursday have broken limits and became truly far-reaching within the music world.
Fast-forward 8 years. Here we are: Thursday's fifth full-length release. I enjoyed "War All the Time" and "A City by the Light Divided" about the same as "Full Collapse," but when I first popped this in, I was astounded. I don't think Thursday has changed THAT much. They're still doing what they always did best - being aggressive while maintaining good and interesting melodies, lyrics and song structures, all while pushing the boundaries.
"Resuscitation of a Dead Man" has done what the opening songs on every other album have done - start off with an instant blast of intense energy. This and the next three tracks easily sound like they could have been on Full Collapse or War all the Time; the only difference is maybe a tinge of keyboards filling out the sound. I think the keyboards really add a diverse element to the band that it was missing before. I love the short keyboard "solo" in "You Were the Cancer" and really can't say that it ruins any track.
"Time's Arrow" is Thursday's attempt at an acoustic semi-ballad. It marks a deviation from the rest of the record and seems like their most experimental song to date, with a psychedelic middle instrumental section with swirling vocals and "backwards" sounding acoustic strumming. I have to say, it's one of my least favorite songs on here, but it's still pretty good, and I like how the band is experimental with new approaches. It also provides some breathing room and time to get excited for the next rush of energy.
My personal favorite song on the album is "Beyond the Visible Spectrum." It adds a lot of keyboards to the main chorus line, which some people may puke at the thought of, but you have to hear it to really understand that it is very well done. It's a fast keyboard melody with all other instruments still remaining, and the verse builds up a perfect development to it. Another one of my favorite tracks is "Circuits of Fever," which has a bit slower pace than most of their songs and an irregular structure, but has a unique atmosphere with echoed vocals, and keyboards. I think my third favorite track is "As he Climbed the Dark Mountain," which blends a perfect amount of aggression (some screams still linger here) with great melody and atmosphere.
Most people are not going to agree with what I am about to say, and that's truly understandable, but, I think this is Thursday's best album so far. I loved Full Collapse, and "Understanding" had the sheer power to make me a dedicated fan from the start, but here I think they have further established their sound. There will always be people who will like nothing but Full Collapse, and always want another one. They're way beyond that now. Bands don't make the same album twice, and it's still there if you want to listen to it. I still think several songs on this album still have a Full Collapse tinge to them, but there are also several songs that assure the listener they have evolved, just like any band will do. All I know is I have been more addicted to this album than any previous one. I played almost nothing else for the first two weeks, and I think I've already listened to this more than "War" or "City". Thank you Thursday for a superb release and I hope there is more to come."
Getting Better and Better
C. McArthur | Los Angeles, CA United States | 10/22/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm new Thursday fan...I can't believe I didn't know about them until recently...but no matter. I saw them in LA a couple of weeks ago and I've listened to Common Existence start to finish 3 or 4 times now and I just gotta say...it keeps getting better and better...I love it when that happens. What's really weird is I don't normally listen to this kind of music...I'm more of a Radiohead, or White Stripes kind listener. Favorite songs...hard to choose, but Circuits of Fever, Friends in the Armed Forces, Resuscitation of a Dead Man, all are awesome...Great music...Great lyrics...Great passion!!! ROCK ON!!!"
Beyond the Visible Spectrum
symbolicacts | 02/21/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It has been well documented that Thursday have struggled over the past couple of years. "A City by the Light Divided" was not very well received, and they were dropped from their label. Many people still feel 2001's "Full Collapse" was the high water mark for this band. On the other hand, I enjoyed their previous two releases just as much if not more than "Full Collapse." Although "Full Collapse" was well executed stripped down post hardcore, Thursday have completely transcended that genre over the past couple years... and that is certainly something to be proud of.
Thursday have quite noticeably changed their approach to songwriting as of late. While the essence of the band is the same, they have added a lot more texture to their music. This should not have been surprising in the least as they made keyboardist Andrew Everding a full time member of the band before the last album. They utilized him well on songs like "Counting 5-4-3-2-1" and "We Will Overcome", and guess what, this CD is no exception. The songs are even more atmospheric. "As he climbed the dark mountain" is epic. The last minute and a half of "Beyond the Visible Spectrum" is almost ethereal. "Circuits of Fever" is also a standout in that respect, with the reverberated distant vocals. The atmosphere is ever present on "Common Existence."
The atmosphere is there, but what really makes this CD superior to its predecessors is the execution. Their other four CDs didn't have home run songs like "Resuscitation of a Dead Man" or "Subway Funeral." Thursday even brings things to a halt for the slow, acoustic "Time's Arrow" to keep things interesting. The album closer "You Were the Cancer" starts off slow, but quickly gains steam, and finishes the album off in a face melting manner. This album has everything that Thursday fans love about the band. The energy, the great lyrics, and songs to please fans of all their eras, perhaps save "Waiting."
This CD is well worth the listen, and at $7.99 at Bestbuy and apparently here, there is no excuse for not hearing it. Sure, there will always be the "Full Collapse" fans, but that is their loss. This is another excellent CD in which Thursday have tweaked their highly recognizable sound for the better. Highly recommended! "