A significant player in the early 21st century's post-hardcore scene, Thursday formed in 1997 in New Brunswick, NJ. Led by vocalist Geoff Rickly, the band's initial lineup also included bassist Tim Payne, drummer Tucker Rule, and guitarists Steve Pedulla and Tom Keeley. After issuing their debut, 1999's Waiting, through the New York-based indie label Eyeball Records, the band signed to Chicago's influential Victory label for 2001's Full Collapse. Tours alongside Boy Sets Fire and Sparta helped support the album, which cracked the Billboard 200 at number 178. Thursday's frequent gigging and furious passion fueled a grassroots response, and by 2002, the band was on the main stage of the Warped Tour and enjoying MTV support for the single "Understanding in a Car Crash."
Thursday signed to Island Records in the wake of their breakthrough success, although they issued the 2002 live EP Five Stories Falling through Victory as a placeholder for their impending major-label debut. The ambitious song arc of War All the Time arrived in September 2003 and was met with considerable critical acclaim for its ruminations on 9/11, its personal lyrics, and a wildly shifting, kitchen-sink approach to pensive post-hardcore. Having played keyboards on the album, Andrew Everding was later added as a full-time member. Extensive touring behind the record took its toll on the band, however, as tensions between members and personal problems mounted. Rickly was additionally diagnosed with epilepsy, and allergic reactions to his medication eventually culminated in a grisly scene in May 2004, during the band's performance at California's Coachella Festival. Thursday's set was cut short as Rickly began coughing up blood and was unable to continue. After he recovered, the bandmates returned to the road for a full U.K. tour. Although still unhappy, Thursday felt a responsibility to finish out their existing tour commitments, with that summer's Warped to be their final run.
Issues between the bandmembers gradually abated during the festival's run, however, as Thursday found themselves having more fun playing than ever. The lineup decided to stick together. First taking some time off for themselves, the re-energized musicians then headed back into the studio with producer Dave Fridmann (the Flaming Lips, Mogwai). A City by the Light Divided, "the album that almost never was," appeared in May 2006, followed by a tour supporting both the album and the Shirts for a Cure organization. Thursday parted ways with Island Records in early 2007 and canceled the majority of their tour dates, but not before recording two live performances in New Jersey. Portions of the footage were made available on Kill the House Lights, a retrospective CD/DVD package released by Victory Records in October 2007.
Thursday's next project was a split album with the Japanese band Envy, which arrived in late 2008. That same year also saw the band inking a new deal with Epitaph Records. Reprising their relationship with Dave Fridmann, the group retreated to the studio to record Common Existence, which melded their post-hardcore swagger with new elements of indie rock and New Wave. Common Existence was released by Epitaph in early 2009, and Thursday joined the Rockstar Taste of Chaos Tour in support of the project. In 2010, Thursday went into the studio to start work on a new album with producer Dave Fridmann at his Tarbox Road Studio. Their sixth studio album, No Devolución, was released the following year.