Melodic post-hardcore act Thursday has had an interesting career. The group gained a massive following after releasing its earlier albums Waiting and Full Collapse, jumped to a major label and released two flawed, yet sophisticated albums: War All The Time and A City By The Light Divided, both featuring newly added keyboardist Andrew Everding. Now, after releasing Kill The Houselights, a concert DVD/retrospective documentary and a CD collecting their b-sides, Thursday has returned and more than ever shows its hardcore roots with Common Existence, its debut on Epitaph Records (that’s right, I said Epitaph). Some will probably argue that this latest album is severely flawed, but after giving it few listens, one will find that Thursdays growth has been marked by signs of equal parts maturity and explosions of aggression.
Taking cue a from At the Drive-In comes the opener “Resuscitation of a Dead Man”. It literally starts with the bang of drums and blistering harmonies as the guitar line plays like a piercing siren. Lyrically, this is not their best stuff, and it honestly seems a little pulled from a playbook. The key here is how explosively they open the album, and it doesn’t let up from here for a while. “Last Call” is one of the few songs most similar to their most successful and arguably tired formula: soft verse, hardcore chorus. Even so, this song is dark and there is a mounting tension all the way through.
“As He Climbed the Dark Mountain” again explodes with raw intensity and is by far one of the best songs on the album. I should point out that Common Existence has some of the most intense and epic choruses Thursday has ever written and “Dark Mountain” is a prime example. The pleading vocals and melodic guitars are a winning combination here. “Friends In the Armed Forces”, an obvious political tome, gives us more of Andrew Everding’s keyboard sounds.
Most of the rest of the songs get great use out of these ambient and haunting sounds, especially the dark and moody “Unintended Long Term Effects” and near (I use near loosely) poppy “Subway Funeral”; yet another song song with a brilliant, epic chorus. It seems that Everding has finally managed to make a huge impact — where he rarely stood out before — only adding to the atmosphere. He’s given pretty stand out parts in this one.
Thursday manages to save some of its best stuff for last. The pop influenced bass line of “Love Has Led Us Astray” really adds to the groove and somber feel of this song, and the closer, “You Were The Cancer” begins with a pulsating digital effect, appropriately punctuating the blisteringly heart wrenching tone of the song throughout.
So Thursday hasmanaged to craft a mature and intense masterpiece, all while going back to its hardcore roots. This album will be divisive amongst fans as there will be those who just want them to get back to the days of Full Collapse and those who have always heard the sounds of Common Existence beneath the surface over everything before it. For those fans, you will be glad Thursday has finally let all of itsaggression out to release an engrossing and explosive album.