Sound — 8
Whether or not you'll like this album depends heavily on whether you cared for 2005's release, 'Vheissu.' A lot of The Alchemy Index's sound is very similar. Starting out on the Fire disc with the immense and heavy, "Firebreather" you'll notice some similarities between this and songs like "Image of the Invisible" and "Hold Fast Hope". Moving on to the Water disc, the sounds here resemble songs more like "The Earth Will Shake" and "Atlantic". Not that the similarity is anything to be worried about, especially if you enjoyed Vheissu; you'll be glad to hear how the sound itself has evolved yet stuck to the formula. My only problem is just how much they used the concept of the "elements" in their songs. They could've displayed a little more, freedom? in their sound instead of sticking to the Fire/Water theme so strong.
Lyrics — 7
Dustin Kensrue has a great voice and a real way with words, but as stated above with the whole elements theme, they really needed some subtlety. Almost every Fire disc song has some synonym or fire or flame and Water is hardly any different. The lyrics are great, don't get me wrong. But it doesn't fully display how poetic, deep and at times, diverse, Dustin's lyrics can be.
Overall Impression — 8
Whether this is to be hailed as Thrice's finest is up to you. Despite the flaws and nitpicking shown above, this is my personal album favorite of Thrice. I love a lot about the album. The evolution of the sound itself, how they've musically "matured" if you will. But my biggest problem is what I've been droning on and on about in the above paragraphs; just how much they actually drove the concept into the music. A little too much if you ask me, but any Thrice fan (including me) can easily look past this and enjoy this album to the full.