Alexisonfire

Crisis

Written by: PP on 08/09/2006 11:44:21

Alexisonfire has widely been considered the best Canadian band and one of the leaders in the screamo genre, renowned for their relatively small but passionately loyal fanbase. Their third full length album "Crisis" has been highly anticipated with big expectations stemming from the two great predecessors "S/T" and "Watch Out".

On "Watch Out" in particular, Dallas Green had an extraordinary amount of singing duties for their, reducing the amount of George's razorsharp screamo vocals. On "Crisis", the band has added on yet another vocal dimension, seeing Wade participate in soared yelling on several tracks. With the exception of the excellent triple-vocal contrast on one track (screamo, yelling, clean simultaneously), Wade's voice is counterproductive to their razorsharp sound, reducing the effect of George's screamo and making you scratch your head wondering 'is this really necessary?'

George's screamo-style has also slightly changed. On the first listen, "Drunks, Lovers, Sinners And Saints" shocks you as 'non-Alexisonfire' from the start. But over time, you grow used to his new, slightly more polished style. Another interesting anecdote is how their songwriting has changed. The majority of the curious scale-based riffs like on "Accidents" or "Control" have been replaced with simple power chords like on the assaulting "Mailbox Arson", which isn't necessarily a bad aspect remembering the success of "Waterwings", but on "Crisis", the chords always start okay, but get repetetive halfway through the song. This is especially evident on the much weaker second half of the album, where many of the songs are flat-out annoying. When you are faced with the absolutely horrible, sub-par song "You Burn First", which sounds more like a Nine Inch Nails b-side than an Alexisonfire track, and "Keep It On Wax", which starts out okay, but ruins it all by having a lackluster chorus, you can't help but wonder what happened between the Moneen split EP new song "Charlie Sheen Vs Henry Rollins" and "Crisis". Lets be honest here, the newly added vocal duties by Wade aren't much to brag for, and this is highlighted even more with the presence of George and Dallas, who both are phenomenal vocalists in their ranges.

The first half of the album is strong. "Boiled Frogs" is probably in the top three best songs the band has written to date regardless of its difference to the old material, and "We Are The Sound" strikes you with its Moneen-style opening riff broken down into breakneck paced screeching screamo, before Dallas brings in his quitnessential clean parts supported by George's screams. However, as we pass through the mid point and songs like "To A Friend" and "Rough Hands", the disappointment is imminent. The songs just never reach that magic moment all other Alexisonfire songs to date have, and you end up skipping them. I don't think I've listened to either of them more than twice.

Overall, this is a major disappointment, though it probably could have been anticipated considering their label change to Vagrant. There are some incredible songs, but majority of them are just average and some even below average for the Alexisonfire standards. To sum it all up, it doesn't sound like 'the sound of two Catholic high-school girls in mid-knife-fight' any longer. Knives have been removed.

6

Download: Boiled Frogs, This Could Be Anywhere In The World
For the fans of: Silverstein, UnderOATH, The Bled
Listen: Myspace

Release date 22.08.2006
Vagrant

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