Success on one's home turf is usually the first step. Still, bands that achieve local notoriety often find it extremely difficult to take the next step. Most are stopped right there. For the New Brunswick, New Jersey based Thursday, that was a problem.
Thursday formed in '98. They played parties before moving to clubs and serving as the local opening act for bands on a national tour. What's next? Answer: Work your way up the Rock food chain.
Hooking up with the indie Eyeball Records Thursday's Emo/Metal mix made its debut on "Waiting." The set extended the group's popularity beyond Jersey. They signed with the larger indie label Victory Records for '01's "Full Collapse." National touring followed. On a roll, they produced the predominately live EP "Five Stories Falling" a year later. All this activity got them signed to a major label, Island Records. '03 release "War All The Time" was the next step.
Reeling from the loss of an old friend in a car accident, Rickly and the group issued an emotionally charged "City By The Light Divided" in '06. And three years later, Thursday issued their fifth album, "Common Existence."
"City By The Light Divided" is notably different from other Thursday albums. Here the group goes for the epic. Loss, regret, desperation and a haunted feeling permeate. But in the end, "City By The Light Divided" plies '80s style underpinnings to anchor the songs. Laid on top are Rickly's vocals, which amply demonstrate his emotional range, traveling from the throat shredding "At This Velocity" to the intimate "Running From The Rain."
"Counting 5-4-3-2-1" is both appealing and urgent. Little wonder the song gained immediate attention. But don't overlook "The Other Side Of The Crash/Over And Out (Of Control)" and "Telegraph Kiss."
Thursday rides jagged guitars and hardcore ferocity as far as it will take them on "War All The Time." The set features the intense rhythmic drive of "Between Rupture and Rapture" and "Tomorrow I'll Be You." The title track sets a reflective tone while riding an appropriate descending riff.
"Full Collapse" doesn't have "War All The Time's" energy or drive. While there's more emphasis on melody only "Understanding A Car Crash" and "Standing On The Edge Of Summer" really connect. The group was wise to take a step back and re-think their approach.
The EP "Five Stories Falling" provides credible live versions of material from "Full Collapse" along with the previously unreleased "Jet Black New Year," a song that clearly points to the group's future.
Most of the time "Common Existence" works pretty well though "Last Call" is likely to put people off going out (still it's a good song). Thursday gets spacey on "Time's Arrow" and are agreeably lean for "Love Has Led Us Astray." Beyond those tracks, "Common Existence" is a post-hardcore journeyman effort. Good, with only a couple songs, "Friends In The Armed Forces" and "Beyond The Visible Spectrum," being exceptional.
The title "Beyond The Visible Spectrum" sounds like Mars Volta channeling Syd Barrett. Fortunately, it's not. The track stays focused with power chords and riffs. "You Were The Cancer" pushes Rickly to the melodramatic edge (and probably beyond) as he sings of a "common existence."