The outbursts of '80s thrash, classic British metal, and post-punk melodies forge The Illusion of Safety into an emocore epic of rare proportions. Atypically dynamic for its genre, Thrice stabs at punk-pop with grandiose guitar harmonies, hardcore vocal wails, and a Metallic (note the big "M") chunk that transforms its emo turnarounds into progressive hardcore theater. These design accomplishments warrant recommendation by themselves, but when the hooks of "Deadbolt" and "A Living Dance Upon Dead Minds" are set, Thrice reveals a stunning pop instinct that invites comparison to late-'90s rock & roll greats like At the Drive-In. Less inspired moments ("The Red Death") resemble Incubus on crank -- superior for sure, but annoyingly familiar. The emocore filler that concludes The Illusion of Safety ("So Strange I Remember You," "The Beltsville Crucible") verifies the group's fallibility. Probably the class of any No Motiv record, these tracks come off like throwaways here. One great producer away from unanimous Top Ten status, Thrice demonstrates transcendent potential on this 2001 sophomore full-length.
AllMusic Review by Jason Anderson