Sound — 10
Since their very first release Waiting, Thursday's once-raw and chaotic post-heardcore sound has become increasingly tamed and produced with each album. The appeal in the sound of Kill The House Lights is that it retains all of the band's early fury in the loud, surprisingly low-fi recording of a live show at New Jersey's Starland Ballrooom. From the first shouted note of "At This Velocity", Thursday launch into one of the barest, grittiest and most personal set to be recorded by a mainstream band in the twenty-first century. Thursday's sound is one that has influenced a generation of post-hardcore groups, but which retains all of it's individuality in it's refusal to pull and punches. Not once do Thursday fall back on the easy sing-scream-sing-scream dynamic adopted by countless post-hardcore bands from The Used to The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. Rather, they deliver a barrage of furious but precise noise, with Tom Keeley and Steve Pedulla's duelling guitars and Tucker Rule's mathematical drumming providing a diverse, colorful background to Geoff Rickley's mad, structureless vocal style. While Thursday may sound tamer on record, Kill The House Lights shows that their live sound has remained true to it's roots.
Content — 8
Kill The House Lights is a CD/DVD combo. The CD is surprisingly interesting; rather than simply putting the live show to CD, Thursday chose to include a number of demos, remixes, and even a handful of brand new tracks, making it essential to any Thursday fan's collection. The main feature of the DVD is a documentary about the band's career since their very first days. It's a nice feature which adds a certain personal dimension to the DVD, but which is a one-watch sort of deal. The show itself is of great quality, but the set is a little short and they neglect several of their better-known songs to play the more obscure material from their second and third albums. The bonus features include recordings of three Thursday songs from their early days. The audio quality is terrible, but they offer a very enjoyable glimpse into the band's past.
Production Quality — 7
As stated above, the production quality is surprisingly low-fi, with the sound audibly cracking up on several occasions. The mix tends to be a little strange as well, but all of this only adds to the edgy, amateurish, aggressive feel of this DVD. The editing techniques are pretty typical of a post-hardcore band of Thursday's rank, keeping to the basics but also focusing on the energy of the show through closeups of the band members' antics and playing.
Overall Impression — 8
Out of all of the live DVDs that emerged from the emocore/post-hardcore revival that swamped MTV for the past few years, this is one of the most satisfying and thoroughly fan-friendly releases. Kill The House Lights avoids the incessant repetition that plagued other DVDs of this period, includes enough interesting extras to compensate for the short setlist, and provides for an interesting and entertaining look at the band and their music. In comparison to some DVDs that were released in other genres, Kill The House Lights is nothing special. But within the context of the flash-in-the-pan post-hardcore genre that spawned it, this is an exceptionally well-made release that repeatedly chooses art and accuracy over artifice.