If you’re only familiar with Dustin Kensrue, worship leader, then you’ve got some catching up to do. As the front man for influential rock band Thrice, Kensrue and company ruled the aughts with acclaimed albums filled with thoughtful songs that completely rocked out.

Kensrue’s depth and emotion as a songwriter hasn’t changed, no matter what style he prefers these days. Given the recent release of Thoughts That Float On A Different Blood, we thought we’d offer up this primer from Kensrue’s earlier days so you can be in the know.

Stare at the Sun
Rock music doesn’t shy away from introspection and despair, but this early Thrice song adopts the searching tone of Ecclesiastes then ends with hope: “Why is truth so hard to find in this world… I’ll stare straight into the sun / And I won’t close my eyes / Till I understand or go blind…”

Image of the Invisible
2005’s Vheissu marked a shift from intense hardcore to a more melodic sound, making Thrice more accessible to new listeners. The opening track “Image of the Invisible” still has plenty of passion to go around, a battle cry against living a meaningless “carbon and chemicals” existence.


Like Moths to Flame
Actually we could include most of Vheissu on this list, but especially need to point out “Like Moths to Flame,” a retelling of Peter’s denial of Jesus. This is definitely the heaviest on our list so far, but where would this song be without Kensrue screaming “and something in me dies / the night that I betrayed my king?”

 

Open Water
The Alchemy Index
is a four EP collection that shows off Thrice’s flexibility, spanning genres from raging hardcore to minimalist electronica. “Open Water” is a perfect example of the latter sound, but it’s the haunting refrain will stay with you long after the song ends.

 

Moving Mountains
Vol IV of The Alchemy Index, Earth, highlights a raw acoustic sound that shows up in Kensrue’s later solo work. “Moving Mountains” is a standout track for its deft guitar work, soulful vocals, and personal adaptation of I Corinthians 13.

 

In Exile
“I am an exile – a sojourner; A citizen of some other place. / All I’ve seen is just a glimmer in a shadowy mirror, / But I know one day I’ll see face to face.” A song about longing and wandering done right.

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