I was first introduced to Alexisonfire through random searching on the internet and coming across the video for This Could Be Anywhere In The World. I was blown away. As much as I disliked the screamer in the group, Dallas Green’s vocals were amazing and musically the group was spot on. I quickly got my hands on Crisis and was just as quickly disappointed. It really had the feel of any number of sing/scream bands that have popped up since 2000. There are so many bands in this genre (is it screamo, is it post-hardcore, do I care?) that it’s really hard to stand out. There are a few groups I enjoy, stuff like Underoath or Evergreen Terrace but for every good band in the genre there are 5 terrible ones.
Since then, I have really gotten into Dallas Green’s side project, City & Colour. It’s a folksy, singer-songwriter gig and his excellent voice carries the style well. When I found out Alexisonfire was going to release a new album, I had to give it a chance based on Green alone and hope that I like the other elements better.
When first listening to the disc it was apparent that the strightfoward (generic) screams of the past were few and far between. Instead of screaming it is much more of a really, really (REALLY) raspy style of singing. The style sounds like a harder version of The Blackout Pact which sounds better and less “samey” then their screams of the past. On top of that it seems that they have matured as a group. The songwriting is fantastic throughout the disc, lyrically it’s pretty serious/dark stuff and they use some excellent production techniques that come across as more than “studio magic”.
The disc’s best track (in my humble opinion) is The Northern. I don’t know…. and I don’t think the lyrics here are tongue in cheek but it sounds like something ripped straight from Revelations. As Dallas sings “I Want To Go To Heaven” and “Hallelujah” with great layered vocals from the screamer the track just feels epic. There is also some catchiness in effect here as well as some of the choruses are the kind of stuff you will be singing for weeks.
More mature, less generic screaming and excellent songs make for a pretty kick ass disc. I wasn’t expecting to like this at all and came away loving it. Maybe I am missing something with their previous work, but it’s going to be hard to go backwards after hearing how good this disc is. I’m going to be really surprised if this doesn’t make it (somewhere) in my top ten.
4.0 out of 5.0