Released through Hassle Records on August 21st, Crisis has a hell of a lot to live up to. Alexisonfire, known to anyone who knows me well as my absolute favourite band, have kicked out two previous albums each one magnificent in content and very different in style. Can the Canadian five maintain the standard for their third album Crisis? Oh hell yeah. This album is again completely different from either of the previous two, and is top quality. This is as good as music gets – this band. Alexisonfire have raised their game by not only contrasting the screamo vocals of George Petit with the smooth and delicate tones of Dallas Green’s, but they have pulled out a third set of sandpaper vocals from bassist Wade McNeil which contain a gritty rawness and complement the others brilliantly.
The album opens with a blast as Drunks, Lovers, Sinners and Saints rips through your being with a ferocity and complexity that leaves you in awe. What an opener! The song breaks with screamed verses from Petit, chorus double teamed by Dallas and Wade. As always the lyrics are pointed and mature and the technical quality of the composition is of the highest standard. The drum tails off and leads into the second song and first single from the album, the powerful This Could Be Anywhere In The World. This tune contains a catchy riff during the verse which goes perfectly with Green’s gorgeous voice, irregular drums which Jesse tears through the track with and are easily recognised. This is going to be a massive hit, a piece of musical genius right there. Mailbox Arson is one of those tracks that starts off sounding familiar to older Alexisonfire music but then quickly changes identity to form something completely new. Awesome lyrics, timed brilliant by George and supported by Dallas’ heartwarming tones and all wrapped in deliciously heavy and relentless guitar and drums from Jesse.
Boiled Frogs opens with a cool riff and a blast of shoutiness, then develops into a clicking track fronted by unusually fierce Dallas vocals at times and later shows off Wade’s gravel-like voice which he has kept well hidden over these past few years! The song tails into a slower beat and softer vocals to fade out. Next up is We Are The Sound, a torrent of fast beats, fast fretwork and lyrics to die for, effortlessly sang to perfection in triumph. This anthemic song is followed by You Burn First, a brand new style of track from Alexisonfire with a slow but very firm pace and appropriately smoky vocals spitting out the tormenting lyrics. All this served up on a bed of continuous, thick and heavy guitar. We Are The End is the next track and is a firm favourite with me. Led in by gentle vocals over a drums only backing, the track grows into a heavier and fast paced song which sees George shouting throughout and Dallas delivering his lyrics with feeling and style.
Title track Crisis is eighth up on the album and is an exciting track with an awesome build up and massive screaming climax of “yeah this town is going under” and the song sees screaming from the Dallas and Wade too. Excellent and effective is the sudden stop featured early in the song, and the threat of Steele’s bass to kick in during the build up parts. This leads us onto the excellent Keep It On Wax, another song which not only shows off Wade’s vocal prowess but is also another song that is totally new to their usual styles. And it works soooooooo well. To A Friend is another of my favourites, a beautiful song with the perfect balance of tenderness and aggression. The lyrics have a great depth as they do throughout the album and this pierces the soul. Closing the album is Rough Hands, another direction and another style of song. Accompanied by piano this track is musically brilliant and really well written.
No wonder these boys continue to gain new fans with every breath, they have the important and ingenious knack of being able to adapt and adopt new styles evolving their own sound and ensuring that they never sound samey enough to become boring. They still have the unmistakable sound of Alexisonfire though and with the new triple attack on vocals the guys are taking it to the next level. Crisis is like a book of stories, each one very different and would be just as good if on it’s own rather than part of a collection. And the best part of all…the imminent success and acclaim of Crisis will not alter their down to earth attitudes and their modesty one bit. These are nice guys and for them this is ALL about the music. It shows. This album is important and is essential.