For over a decade now Thrice has been one of my favourite bands. I love how the four band members have continued to reinvent themselves on every single record. Their hiatus in 2012 came as a bit of a shock, but luckily we have been getting some great work from frontman Dustin Kensrue.
Carry the Fire stands in that line and displays the creative depth of Kensrue. While his previous album The Water and the Blood, showed a lot of potential, it seems that with Carry the Fire Kensrue was able to reach that full potential.
Dustin and Bruce
With “Ruby” the album introduces Kensrue’s vocal strength from the very first lines. Add to that an amazing jazzy sound, and Carry the Fire sets the standards really high from the beginning. With an album full of beauty, it is difficult to highlight, but here’s an attempt. “There’s Something Dark” displays the bluegrass sound we heard with Thrice in The Alchemy Index: Earth.
We also encounter Bruce Springsteen at his peak; “Death or Glory” could have easily blended in on Born in the U.S.A. but at the same time Kensrue is not copy-pasting; his characteristic voice and guitar place are still very prominent.
“In the Darkness” is probably my favourite song on the album. It has a gripping sound due to the fast-paced guitar, and even more due to the emotionally convincing vocals. Kensrue cannot believe God cares for him and cries out from the darkness.
After the amazing “Of Crows and Crowns” and “Juggernaut” Kensrue treats us to a more light sound than we are used of him with “What Beautiful Things”. I was impressed how Thrice was able to grab emotions and nature elements through their sound and vocals on The Alchemy Index and with this song Kensrue shows he hasn’t lost that skill. In the commentary video, he expresses his desire to inspire others to consider beauty in this world and the song does that.
The title song of the album starts with a sound that reminds of the monumental Vangelis soundtracks of both Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner. But it is with a Kensrue twist. As the chorus bursts out, he continues to depict a hopeful future wherein God returns. “Carry the Fire” has that futuristic touch but puts us back to earth: “Even though the night is cold / We’ll carry the fire.”
With Carry the Fire Dustin Kensrue has treated us to an album that can go on repeat endlessly. He proves his artistic skills. Yes, I am thrilled to see Thrice reunited, but Carry the Fire also showed that we didn’t need to worry that much. Kensrue is still at the top of his game and that just has to result in creative output. It just has to. Thank goodness.
Dustin Kensrue – Carry the Fire (Vagrant, 2015)