The southern California band Thrice merges hardcore, punk, and metal influences into a not entirely convincing whole on Identity Crisis. It doesn't help that the ordeal is anchored by oddly verbose, emo lyrics. Try the title track, for example: "Image marred by self-infliction/Private wars on my soul waged/Heart is scarred by dual volitions/Juxtaposed and both engaged/Kindle flame, a test of faith/Pray help me see it through/I put all my trust in you.../End this crisis of identity." That same track also represents an awkward conflation of styles, opening with a riff that, while probably aiming for Metallica territory, ends up closer to the '80s metal of Judas Priest or Iron Maiden. The riff is then followed by typical California punk-pop vocals that give way to hardcore screaming just when the listener is settling in. Other times, the group likes to start with innocuous acoustic strumming that gives way to frenetic blasts, a shock tactic that has gained the proportions of a cliché over the years. While it seems that, on the whole, Thrice's reach exceeds its grasp on Identity Crisis, tracks like "In Your Hands" and "Ultra Blue" represent the group's best side: melodic California punk. If Thrice would drop all of the style roving and avoid an excessive reliance on dynamics and posturing, the band would have real promise.
Identity Crisis Review
by Erik Hage