Sound — 6
Many might think these 4 "elemental" EPs to be Thrice's magnum opus. But "Fire and Water" each have their own personal flaws. Flaws that, perhaps if Thrice had a proper producer, might have been eliminated while in the studio. Fire. This is where almost all of Thrice's heavy ideas went. The tracks "Firebreather" and "Burn the Fleet" are the highlights here. Most of the other tracks feel incomplete. Like they are ideas, instead of songs. The sound involves a lot of distortion, and seems more like classic Thrice. Long time fans will most likely like this EP's sound more. Water. These songs seem more complete than the last EP, but still have one basic flaw. It doesn't sound like Thrice. The sound is incredibly ambient throughout the entire EP And I must say, Thrice is not all that good at Ambiance. Resulting in an overall boring set of songs. Not to say there aren't a few moments where the vocals manage to bring you back in, but it lacks the type of instrumentation we are used to from Thrice.
Lyrics — 4
The vocal melodies tend to work like past Thrice work. They work very well. Though some of the heavy vocals don't feel as strong. But then there is the frustrating part. The actual lyrics. I hate them with a passion. With the exception of a couple tracks, most lyrics feel forced out and some just stupid. For example: "Ten thousand men sleep down with Davy Jones; with stolen treasure they tithe. The open water chills me to my bones, but it's the only place that I feel alive. The ocean floor begins to disappear; I sense that terrible depth. The open water is my only fear, but I'll sail as long as I still have breath in me." Did you notice how often he references water. That gets annoying after a while. Especially since it's the same style for each track. It isn't quite as prominent in fire as in water, but it still will annoy you after a while.
Overall Impression — 6
In my opinion "Vheissu" was the band's magnum opus. And I happen to enjoy that album a lot more. The songs flow together better and the lyrics don't make me want to vomit after just one listen through. But there are a few keepers from the E.P.'s. "Firebreather," "Burn the Fleet," and "Lost Continent" are the best. The others just aren't up to par with Thrice's past work.