Sound — 9
With the Alchemy Index Thricee once again evole and expand their sound, while maintaining the base elements (no pun intended) that make them the same band that they've been for the last 9 years. Both discs have a very unique and distinct sound, and listeners will easily be able to identify which element each track is meant to represent. The Fire disc (Vol I) is the hard hitter of the two, with loud guitar parts, great riffing and incredibly strong vocals, with Dustin's harshest screams to date. The Water disc (Vol II) is the mellow laid back disc, reminiscent of Atlantic from Vheissu. This disc is incredibly synth and piano heavy, with little noticable riffage.
Lyrics — 10
As the discs are written around the base elements of fire and water these elements are involved largely in the lyrics as well. Dustin has once again proved his abilities a lyricist, and has done an excellent job of encorporating the feel of the elements into the each songs individual lyrics. Lyrics on the fire disc deal with strength, power and destruction, which is what what fire is associated with. The lyrics on the water discs have a nautical tone, focusing more on the sea rather than water itself, with themes of loneliness and despair, yet manages to avoid a sense of depression. Dustin's vocals are as strong as ever, and certain tracks have an undeniable sing-a-long feel (especially the closing chants of Firebreather). Surprisingly the album's one instrumental track, Night Diver, is a highlight, which is strange given Thrice's reputation for strong lyrics and vocals.
Overall Impression — 9
The Alchemy Index Vols I & II is a great addition to the Thrice catalogue. It was a bold step, and one that some fans questioned, but in the end the band has proved their talent and have pulled off the conceppt with aplomb. Highlight tracks from Fire include The Arsonist and The Flame Deluge, the closing epic. From the Water disc include Digital Sea and the aformentioned instrumental Night Diver. This is not Thrice's strongest work, but it is still an exceptional album. If lost or stolen a replacement copy would be bought immediately, as this is one record that I am proud to own and couldn't stand not having.