To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere review by Thrice

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  • Released: May 27, 2016
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.7 Good
  • Users' score: 8.8 (23 votes)
Thrice: To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere
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Sound — 8
As a long-standing name in the post-hardcore scene, Thrice have traveled a winding road in their catalog. From the revered likes of their chaotic and technical emocore albums (2002's "The Illusion of Safety" and 2003's "The Artist in the Ambulance"), they took a turn for the experimental in their 2005 magnum opus, "Vheissu," setting another impressive example of the artsy sophistication that post-hardcore was capable of. But that artsy initiative would jump the shark in Thrice's following concept double-album, the bloated "The Alchemy Series," and from there, Thrice would journey further away from their post-hardcore base with their 2009 album, the overly-reserved "Beggars," and the alt-rock initiative of 2011's "Major/Minor."

Shortly after "Major/Minor," Thrice went on hiatus, with each member tending to their respective solo/side-projects, but after frontman Dustin Kensrue and lead guitarist Teppei Teranishi got together at a Brand New show (another post-hardcore band currently working on their long-awaited comeback record), their longing for getting the band back together had them lift the hiatus in 2015 and work on a comeback record.

With this comeback record, "To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere," Thrice don't rehash the golden days of their fleeting post-hardcore years, but with more grit heard in their distortion, there's more bite to this album than their previous two. One can pick out the characteristics that call back to Thrice's previous albums that manifest here as well, whether it be "Wake Up" using the same low gear as nearly everything on "Beggars," the pretty guitar melodies in "Death From Above" harking back to the likes of "Vheissu," and the ethereal ender "Salt and Shadow" weaving a serene post-rock soundscape akin to the post-rock endeavors heard in "The Alchemy Series."

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But there are plenty of new flavors to be found in the album as well. Some doom-inspired moments in the slogging bridges of "Wake Up" and "The Long Defeat," Kensrue contorts his voice to a Citizen Cope-type of rugged soul in "Wake Up," and perhaps most ambivalently, Thrice venture further towards a mainstream rock sound with the uneventfully straightfoward "Blood on the Sand," and the organ-laced, Coldplay-esque uplifter "Stay With Me." While plenty of fans are bound to stick their tongues out at the pop overtones here, Thrice still keep their songwriting wits about them, and along with keeping up their penchant for odd measurements (like the 5/4 chorus in "Whistleblower" and the 7/8 verses in "The Window"), they deftly utilize a parallel key modulation in the end of "Hurricane" from a wistful F major to a darker F minor, which further appeals to the doom flavor of the album.

Lyrics — 7
Having dabbled with sociopolitical topics before in his lyrics, Kensrue's lyrics in "To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere" is by far the most concentrated effort in that realm of subject matter. Though the vague calls for revolutionary movement in "Wake Up" and "The Long Defeat" lack a compelling factor like any boilerplate "rise up" message, Kensrue gets direct as can be in the Edward Snowden-inspired "Whistleblower," and a drone pilot's moral reckoning in "Death From Above" ("No longer human beings, no longer people / Just targets on a screen, none of it's real"). And while Kensrue's direct criticism of xenophobic-influenced foreign policies in "Blood on the Sand" sounds like he stole a page from Tim McIlrath's lyric book, Kensrue gets more symbolic in "Black Honey," which alludes to military campaigns only being intended for acquiring foreign oil fields and how that's inspired terrorist attacks ("I see them coming after me / And they're following me across the sea / And now they're stinging my friends and family / And I don't know why this is happening").

Kensrue also flexes his symbolism muscles in other songs that break away from the political themes, like the curious tale told in "Stay With Me," where a love born out of crisis carries a lingering insecurity of hoping for perpetual crisis in order for that love to sustain ("And would your love for me grow colder / With no one left to fight?"), and the prison-esque imagery of "The Window" that illustrates the ongoing battle between faith and doubt ("There's no way I can prove / That there's a place / Beyond this room / But still, there's something in the way / A light comes shining through").

Overall Impression — 8
Despite the praise gained from critics, the steps that Thrice were taking forward in the sound of their previous albums were understandably polarizing for those who still wanted Thrice to be dishing out their dependable post-hardcore, whether in the visceral madness of "The Illusion of Safety" or the elegance of "Vheissu." And though some will always be waiting for Thrice to write a "The Illusion of Safety, Pt. II" type of album (which is very unlikely to happen), Thrice's output in "To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere" is a well-rounded offering for a comeback album, succeeding in both pushing things forward further for the band's sound, while also peppering in a solid amount of classic Thrice characteristics to keep that original appeal hand in hand with the change.

25 comments sorted by best / new / date

    vppark2
    This album is incredible. Definitely a solid 9/10 for me and best album out so far this year. The review is great, but for the love of God, stop calling post-hardcore music "emocore".
    OllieSevenfold
    such an incredible comeback, 10/10 for me too. Thrice are so so overlooked, and i'm so happy they are finally getting the attention they deserve here in the UK!
    marcopro84
    I dont care what anybody says but Thrice is the most underated band in the last 15 years.
    Karlsteel
    I'd have to go along with that - should really be on Foo Fighters' level, and headlining festivals left, right and centre.
    vppark2
    It's really strange. Rise Against went to a more rock oriented route a few albums ago, but it wasn't a drastic change to gain a lot more fans. But for some reason, Thrice seems to have either gained some fans or not really any at all from their change of sound. I personally prefer what they're doing nowadays even when compared to some of the great stuff that was found on TAITA.
    kmn842
    What a fantastic album. I never paid much attention to these guys, but I'm so glad I decided to give this a listen. Lyrically and musically this album just keeps on delivering. There's also something about the singer's voice that I love, I'm going to have to check out their older albums once I've worn this one out.
    vppark2
    Same here. I keep hearing different opinions, but from what I've heard a lot of people's favorite album from them is either Vheissu or Beggars.
    axeslinger0u812
    That's surprising. The majority of people I know, and who followed them since Identity Crisis prefer Illusion of Safety and Artist in the Ambulance by SIGNIFICANT margins. As in, "what the fuck happened" levels of preference. Those two are definitely my favorite, followed by Vheissu and then the Alchemy Index. In that respect, this review can go fuck itself with the "jumped the shark" and "bloated" comments about the Alchemy collection. That said, this is a fantastic album. A great, full album experience. A welcome return from one of the most under-appreciated bands of the last roughly 20 years.
    justtryme90
    I am solely in the Artist in the Ambulance is the best album they have group.
    axeslinger0u812
    Vheissu is definitely their Black album. Or their Sing the Sorrow. That one album where the styles changed, and divided many fans. I've stuck with them, because they have some gems on every album, but front to back, Illusion and Artist were masterpieces that I can listen to without skipping a single song. I actually really like some of their more experimental songs off the later albums, so I'm happy to see them back together and writing again. A band you never really know what to expect with each release. This band wrote Paper Tigers and Digging My Own Grave. That juxtaposition in styles is insane.
    RCA1186
    This is a spot on comment. I used to be really against Vhiessu, I got to liking most of the songs off that album eventually. I still can't stand the alchemy index, and I haven't given Beggars much of a listen to, but I enjoy a few off of Major/Minor. This album feels...idk, boring to me. It has its moments but to me falls flat. Whereas Illusion and Artist I can pretty much listen straight through and they don't miss a beat.
    eXperiment63
    It blows my mind how some people still come out of the woodwork to complain that it's nothing like artist, illusion, or identity. The newest of the three, artist, is 13 years old people. They haven't sounded like that, at all, in over ten years. They grew up and decided to go for more atmosphere, rather than rehash their youths. This album is AMAZING! Every album since Vheissu has had it's own unique identity. -Vheissu, their transition to rock -Alchemy Indexes, experimenting with sounds -Beggars, bluesy rock -Major/Minor, heavy blues rock mixed With grunge -To Be Everywhere... Straight ahead rock
    metaldalz
    AMAZING album!! It blew me away, the sounds, the guitars, the melody. Don't know if it's a Thrice fever that i have cuase of the come back, but i'll give it a 10/10! To me it's PERFECT!!
    joaorendon17
    I know Thrice since TAITA, because there was no music of them (I live in Peru). Then, when I found online "First Impressions", "The Illusion of Safety" and "Identity Crisis", I thought "wow, they are really really damn good". I listened to their 4 albums all day long and I even got to promote a listening party of their albums when I was like 17 years old. All of my friends liked them and TAITA was amazing. And "Vheissu" happened... I was amazed by the "Thrice sound": fast drumming, double bass madness, deep deep bass guitar, Teppei doing his thing and Dustin screaming like he was being stabbed in the face... And "Vheissu" came along and suddenly "Atlantic" and "For Miles" changed me, from the fast sound to the amazing sound of my favorite band through the years. "The Alchemy Index" showed me that you don't have to be hardcore or heavy to write beautiful music ("Digging My Own Grave", "A Song for Milly Michaelson", "Silver Wings", "Lost Continent", "The Lion and the Wolf", "Moving Mountains"), ubt it's always good to give respect to your roots ("Firebreather", "Broken Lungs", "The Flame Deluge"). The, "Beggars" killed me... It was hate at first sight... I hated it, I was so sad about this album, but I started to listen to it 24/7: in the bus, at work, at home, before going to sleep, and it really grew on me. "The Great Exchange" was kind of a turning point, because I was able to discover that the lyrics are trascendental to our own lives... At least, it happened to me... "Major/Minor" was sort of a wake-up call of what was happening in my life in that moment and, I must say, Thrice helped me to recover my marriage ("Promises", "Anthology"). I was in a really dark place of my life and listening to this album made me a better person. Now, I'm 30 years old and TBEITBN is the perfect evolution of life: from the skate California punk to the straight-ahead rock. From the adolescent voice in "Trust" to the more mature sound in "Black Honey", Thrice have reinvented themselves into a "Big Boys Rock Band". Great album, great music from the best band in the world, in my humble opinion... 10/10...
    Thrice Capades
    As a career-long Thrice fan, I am just blown away by this album. For all of the amazing experimentation they did throughout this years, to come back with a balls-out rock show like this...man...they never cease to amaze me.
    Angelicc
    I found all of the songs really boring, I mean I did not hear one lead or rhythm part that I liked, not really surprised though. They lost what made them enjoyable to me after AITA.
    RCA1186
    Same here. There are some "not bad" songs but I definitely prefer say Major/Minor over this. My brother feels the same and we like almost all their albums (minus the atrocious alchemy index)
    Thrice Capades
    The Alchemy Index was a work of sheer genius.
    vppark2
    They aren't easy to get into. I still can't get into them myself.
    joaorendon17
    If you want to know what The Alchemy Index is about, you have to listen to the 24 songs in a row... Maybe then you'll understand... They aren't easy though...
    bassgod101
    Respect their right for their sound to change and evolve, but this doesn't work for me like the AITA era. Feels too much like Dustin's solo stuff, which I love, but isn't Thrice to me. That said, solid album for what it is. Deserves critical success.
    Holoogamooga
    Stare at the Sun turned me on to these guys in ~2004, and they've been one of my favorites since. Each of their albums has its place, and this one's no exception - I don't think I like it as much as TAITA or Vheissu, but almost every song on here is still great.
    RCA1186
    This album feels boring to me. I still plan on giving it a few more listens to see if it finally hits home, but so far I don't find it that enjoyable of a listen. I will say the Beginning half is far better than the latter half. I'll give it a few more trys (listened through it about 5x now) but that's my initial impression.