Although the left-field success of 2001’s Full Collapse earned New Jersey post-hardcore outfit Thursday a trip to the majors, the band never seemed likely to cross over. By the time “Understanding In A Car Crash” gave the nascent screamo scene its first anthem, Thursday had already moved on to something more nuanced. War All The Time, its 2003 Island debut, found Thursday crafting sounds more complex and less easily digestible. It stayed on that path for 2006’s A City By The Light Divided, and now the band is back in the indies, albeit on punk powerhouse Epitaph.

The change of scenery hasn’t affected Thursday. If anything, Common Existence is the band’s densest, most accomplished album to date, with sonic layers and the complexity of a big-budget record, without the bloat. Thursday still hits hard—particularly the album’s first five songs—but seldom reverts to the cheap loud-quiet routine for effect. The band seems more concerned about atmosphere than jarring shifts, though it doesn’t linger in quieter moments for long before the intensity returns. That’s for the best, as Thursday is a punk band at heart, but it continues to refine what that means on each new album.