Sound — 7
The track from which this album draws its name is an ode to Thrice fans and their dedication to the band, filled with references to past work and heartfelt thanks; it couldn't be a more appropriate title. "Anthology" is the sad story of Thrice saying goodbye, at least for now, after 14 years of music. Their parting gift is a two-disc live collection that soundtracks their journey from teenage skaters to grown men and artists, with wives, families and sophisticated musical brains.
The diversity of the post-hardcore-cum-progressive-rock outfit is well accounted for by the fan-picked setlist, steering clear of their most eccentric tangents but offering a satisfying range of moods and textures. Among them are the break-neck pace of "Deadbolt", the rousing call of "Image Of The Invisible", the ambient pulse of "Digital Sea" and even the Iron Maiden-style guitar harmonies which featured on one of their very first songs, "T & C". That may seem silly now if this were a DVD you'd have seen the sheepish expressions on stage as they played it but it is a part of the band's history and, true to their word, they've played what fans asked for. Bound together by the familiar voice of frontman Dustin Kensrue, it's a fine collection of songs.
If there's a criticism to be had of the live show, it's that the organic, bare-bones ethos of the last two Thrice albums has started to find its way into some of the earlier material which thrived on being slick and polished. Their sound is a little looser now, a little more rock n roll, and while it suits "Yellow Belly" and "In Exile" down to the ground, "Silhouette" and "The Messenger" are a lot shakier than they were three or four years ago. Perhaps credit is due for achieving the electric, spontaneous vibe that classic live albums have and many contemporary efforts lack, but ultimately Thrice aren't the Ramones and will always struggle in that regard.
Lyrics — 8
While the music may have matured considerably over the years, Kensrue's gift as a lyricist has been apparent since day one and has only become more pronounced as he's gathered experience. Some of his finest works feature here, including "Beggars" and "The Artist In The Ambulance", a deeply moving story of a near-death experience that has long since earnt its place as a live staple. He can't quite scream like he used to but preserving his voice has allowed him to climb to higher registers on record and keep himself in good condition during long tours. Some of these recordings taken from shows on the US leg of the farewell tour reveal imperfections in his voice but rarely does this detract from proceedings.
Overall Impression — 7
The best live albums capture a moment in time. For those who went to a show on the tour this will be a nostalgic and potentially emotional listen, but for the rest it will serve as a sort of greatest hits', a reminder of what an accomplished and well-loved band we will be missing in the next few years. "Anthology", while far from perfect, is a logical, satisfying and well-executed end to this chapter in the band's history.