Dog's Blood EP

Written by: PP on 20/12/2010 02:49:15

Nearly all of you should be familiar with Canadian post-hardcore / screamo hybrid Alexisonfire who have been setting the standard within the genre for almost a decade now. They've slowly formed a very clear, very distinct signature sound, which has revolved around Dallas Green's amazing clean vocal ability contrasting the razor-sharp scream of frontman George Petitt. Most of their recent output has moved more and more towards highlighting Dallas' vocals, which is understandable considering his talent in that area, which has left some long time bands longing for some heavier, faster, more aggressive stuff like the early days. That's why this EP, "Dog's Blood", exists. Although it's by no means "Alexisonfire" or even "Watch Out", far from it. It's a radical departure from anything we've previously heard on Alexisonfire recordings, a detail which you'll notice just from the length of these four tracks: nearly all of them are longer than anything this band has ever written, with a couple approaching the six-minute mark, adding up to beyond 20 minutes of material in total.

But fans and critics alike should prepare for a fairly large change in sound, as I already mentioned above. These guys have never been known for a particularly experimental sound, but here, they opt for some sort of progressive hardcore opus approach, with songs more brutal and aggressive than any of their material in the past, but ones that are stretched out, spaced out, and played with until they sound nearly unrecognizable as Alexisonfire songs. See "Grey"'s slow, contemplative space-prog for a good example. This is part of the reason these tracks never made it onto an actual album. As the band states, the songs were simply too different from their other material, and thus were released as an EP instead. Take note here bands who want to "evolve", this is the right way to do it, without screwing up your core sound.

Elsewhere on the EP, the band are taking cues from Comeback Kid's repertoire circa from pre-"Broadcasting..." era. A song like "Black As Jet" is fierce, breakneck speed, and falls almost entirely underneath the umbrella of hardcore, certainly not representing anything post-hardcore, screamo or scene. The only places where such terms make a brief appearance are during the (seldom used here) clean vocals, but most of the space is left for either instrumental experimentation or George's sharp scream, which is incidentally his harshest delivery we've heard to date.

While it's a welcome change of direction (even for a moment) for this scribe, I have to admit that the songs are simply too strange and experimental to suit a band like Alexisonfire. They are missing the clean/sharp dynamic of Dallas/George almost entirely, and that has always been the key reason why this band is so revered. Instead, we get songs like "Vex", an atmospheric, quiet, intricate progressive song that leaves "Sharks And Danger" sounding like a fifth grade music class experiment in comparison. To paint a clearer picture: imagine if Comeback Kid did some intense psychedelic hallucinogens and wrote songs based on the feelings and visions they had in the process. So is "Dog's Blood" a bad record? Of course not, this is a band that has extremely high standards. But it simply doesn't stand tall against the band's back catalogue.

Download: Black As Jet
For the fans of: Comeback Kid gone experimental and space-y
Listen: Myspace

Release date 31.10.2010
Dine Alone Records / Roadrunner Records

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