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Thrice – Beggars

Thrice are sonically loud and theologically sound.  Post-hardcore was a label that dropped off them a few years ago though no doubt that insular pigeon hole of Californian cool probably still embraces them.  Perhaps the rest of the musical pigeon holes have been slower to embrace them and that is why their deal with Island has given way to Beggars coming out on the cool indie label Vagrant Records.  It would be very disappointing if they ultimately fail to reach a much wider audience.  If their album Vheissu and the series of Alchemy eps sent them on a sophisticated musical journey then I guess Beggars sees a return to a straight ahead primary coloured rock force.  As always this is overlaid with accessible tunes and poetic theologizing that is a cut above most of the genre they inhabit.  They could easily be The Foo Fighters with depth.

Their depth is theological and theologically this is solid stuff.  The theme is the inability of humanity to overcome its penchant for destruction.  Opener All the World Is Mad lays it out clearly enough – We are brimming with cumbersome, murderous greed/And malevolence deep and profound/We do unspeakable deeds/does our wickedness know any bounds?”  The closing title track takes the poetry of Isaiah and tweaks it with a prophetic effect that would have made that Old Testament prophet proud – all you champions of science/and rulers of men/can you summon the sun from its sleep/and does the earth seek your council on how fast to spin.”  The albums conclusion follows – “if there's one thing I know in this life/we are beggars all.”

This kind of critique of the human condition is vitally important to a modern culture that thinks it is able to self aid itself by its own genius.  It is this latter heresy that Thrice’s singer and lead theologian Dustin Kensrue goes for here.  On All The World Is Mad he shows humanity’s ineptitude in the shadow of that old traditional idea of original sin – We can’t medicate man to perfection again/We can’t legislate peace in our hearts/We can’t educate sin from our souls/It’s been there from the start.”  On At The Last he reveals how he saw himself as a good man and then realised that he too is undone; we are all indeed beggars!

The salvation that is not from within gets its clearest definition on The Great Exchange“I heard singing of a violent, tireless mystery/That one would give his life to save his enemy.”  Thrice live in no Christian ghetto and you will not find a great Jesus per minute score in their work but if you have ears to hear you will hear loud and clear! (Funny how sometimes it is Christians who actually don’t hear!)  The Great Exchange finishes with “Your body is a bridge across an endless sea” and between this theology of sin and salvation the album lives in a pilgrimage that is hopeful of a better day.  In exile shines the brightest light into the reality of human darkness : -

“I am a pilgrim, a voyager

I won’t rest until my lips touch the shore

Of the land that I’ve been longing for as long as I’ve lived

Where they’ll be no penalties anymore


My heart is filled with songs of forever

The city that endures when all is made new

I know I don’t belong here, I’ll never

Call this place my home, I’m just passing through.”


For rocked up music for the sojourn then Thrice do it good.  Loud and sound!



Hey Steve,

Hearing this reminds me very much of another band that I love. The Weakerthans from the Winipeg Canada area. If you haven't heard them, you should check them out..... Very similar stuff going on there.

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What modern rock/metal band do you think will achieve the iconic status that Metallica, AC/DC etc have?
I was thinking maybe Muse, or Mastodon, or even the Foo Fighters. But even still, I can't really see them or anyone get to the legendary status that Iron Maiden or Led Zep or whoever have

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