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Alexisonfire - Crisis (Cover Artwork)

Alexisonfire

Alexisonfire: CrisisCrisis (2006)
Vagrant Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: AnchorsAnchors
(others by this writer | submit your own)

How do you follow up a defining album? Two years ago, Alexisonfire released Watch Out!, a record that for all intents and purposes, was miles and miles ahead of the self-titled released a year prior. Better music, better songs, better production, just better. Some people didn't see it that way, inst.
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How do you follow up a defining album? Two years ago, Alexisonfire released Watch Out!, a record that for all intents and purposes, was miles and miles ahead of the self-titled released a year prior. Better music, better songs, better production, just better. Some people didn't see it that way, instead preferring the more forward hardcore sound of Alexisonfire, and this album will do nothing to bring those disenfranchised with the transition back into the fold.

For the rest of us, what Crisis will do, is impress. And it will do it in spades. Everything that made their last album so successful is improved upon here, also adding some new elements of songwriting to keep the sound from growing tired and stale.

Where you'll find the most improvement is in the vocal department. I've always loved George's screaming and Dallas' singing, but both on their own and together, they've truly never sounded better. Chalk it up to more time as a band, improved technique, or what have you, but the vocals truly make these songs what they are. The last album had George in somewhat of a reserved role, but the perfect balance has finally been struck between himself, Dallas, and rhythm guitarist Wade McNeil, who's finally afforded the opportunity to step into his own. Look no further than "Boiled Frogs" for proof of not only this, but George's ability to write some terrific lyrics. A song centered around the theme of George watching the problems his father faced in trying to retire, and the disloyalty in the workplace, it builds from a great clean guitar into George's quickly delivered raspy screams.

Old man sits at his desk, waiting for retirement, let himself overview / The question what to do, each passing year, the workload grows / Poor little tin man, still swinging his axe / Even though his joints are clogged with rust / My youth is slipping, my youth is slipping away, safe in monotony, so safe, day after day / ? / So wait up, I'm not sleeping alone again tonight / There's so much to dream about, there must be more to my life / Can't help but feel betrayed, punch the clock every single day / There's no royalty, and no remorse, your soul for a pension cheque / That makes me fucking sick, he's sick of [it], he can't say no.
The chorus combines some vibrant clapping and Wade's vocals, adding a bit more of a punk rock feel to things, until Dallas comes in with his gorgeous, sweeping voice, really taking this already stellar track full circle. All eleven songs on the album provide a great mix of George, Dallas, and Wade, a combination that any band would salivate over the chance to have. "We Are the Sound" follows that up with a much faster hardcore approach, and while it does slow a bit for Dallas' verses, George's manic screaming can still be heard in the background, and the full, infectious gang vocal shouting of "We are the sound! We have no voice!'' just add to the energy and urgency of the song as a whole. "Keep It on Wax" is Wade's foray into handling most of the vocal duties, with George and Dallas coming in at various points to really add some dynamics to the track, as the rhythm cascades in and out with some great drum fills in opportune spots. With each passing song, it becomes more and more apparent how their songwriting skills have improved from their first recordings. Every song has unique structures, unique dynamics, and a plethora of vocal deliveries.

Much the same way Watch Out! did, Crisis closes in fine and dramatic fashion. With minimal instrumentation, Dallas' beautiful vocals glide along, until the guitars start to shimmer, and take on a very post rock-esque quality, and George's vocals couldn't fit it more perfectly. Settling into a more sing-song style of screaming, the raspy delivery compliments the delicate guitars to a tee, and his interplay with Dallas sounds as crisp and lively as ever.

I'm plenty aware as I write this that, inevitably, this review will cause me to receive a lot of shit. And frankly, that's fine. This band has progressed light years ahead of what I'd have thought possible when I first started listening to them, and it's both refreshing and rewarding to see they've found their niche. Powerful, dynamic, and unwaveringly entertaining, this stunning display of poise and ability is an album that I hold in very high regard. If some of you have your hang-ups, drop them, and sit back and enjoy the multitude of things this band has to offer. You can line up to thank me later.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Rise Against - The Sufferer & the WitnessRefused - The Shape of Punk to ComeThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Alexisonfire - AlexisonfireAlexisonfire - Watch Out!Alkaline Trio - From Here To InfirmaryRise Against - Revolutions Per MinuteAlkaline Trio - GoddamnitThursday - Full CollapseProtest the Hero - Kezia

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Mezzy (February 8, 2008)

It's amazing how these guys just keep writing fantastic songs... and then can back it up with a fantastic live performance.

jt (March 12, 2007)

wow i saw them live with anti-flag and they kicked ass, I really digged them, they were selling Crisis for 5$ so i bought it. Great 5 bucks spent. They blend multiple genres and make it work. SO IGNORE THE COMMENT I LEFT BELOW LIKE A MONTH AGO, I STILL HATE SCREAMO BUT THESE GUYS ARE JUST GOOD.

jt (February 9, 2007)

im impressed because some of their songs are screamo. I HATE SCREMO BUT THESE GUYS ARE NOT WHINNY SO THEY KINDA PULL IT OFF.

Kursk (December 14, 2006)

I had their first album, it was meh. What I heard off their second album was even more meh, but the songs I've heard off of this one I actually kind of like, especially "Boiled Frogs."

Left_Tee (November 27, 2006)

This album is great...much better than the last (no offence). If I had it my way, there would be more screams than sings but that's me. I know that Dallas is great at singing, he makes sweet love to that microphone when he sings. But they should keep it in small doses, it makes it better. The first album was great like that.

But still, this album is a step up

davepwnt (November 6, 2006)

I agree with the whole review. To an extent. I do miss the old style of George's vocals from the self titled. They way he cut up words, and had an off beat sound. It was so good. it started to slip, and now he's more predictable. And I dislike that a bit. But other than that, I like the CD.

MoreNoisePlease (September 22, 2006)

seriously this is straight up dog balls. thats putting it lightly. now, i will say it was better then their last release, however, compared to what they put out on their first album is completly different from what this is. I agree with what someone said about the vocals first off. One of the things that made there S/T debut so amazing was the strong, raw, unbridled sceams and the less used voice of Dallas. These last two albums have decided to screw up his scream and make Dallas the focal point. This is not hard. This is not cool. This blows. Seriously, what was wrong with the first album? Answer: NOTHING. So until they return to what made them so great and an overall amazing band, i.e., sweet guitar entrances, great screams, limited back-up vocals, they should not receive this undeserved praise.

It just makes me sad that so many people have put out weak albums the past few years after they had such amazing first ones. I guess its bound to happen with waterdowned music. Good day sir.

Anonymous (August 31, 2006)

Amazing album. Alexis have really gone into their own niche and i dont think anything in the same area of music will come close to topping it for a long time. So diverse and addictive, and what adds on to the awesomeness is that Ive met the guys and as mentioned, they are the coolest most down to earth people you could ever meet. They have a sense of humor and dont take themselves too seriously which are qualities really lacking in all the 'oh so dark and sad' trendcore bands of today. Best band!

krisirk (August 29, 2006)

There is so much disrespect for the pregression of this band... i have seen them twice and met them both times and they r most modest nicest guys you;ll ever meet. I dont know if it is a Canada versus USA thing? (im from australia), the great thing about Alexisonfire is they dont take themselves too seriously and they aren't scared to strike a new chord, they did with watch out! They grew leaps and bounds ahead of what they were before even if it was more into the mainstream but hello you stupid dicks... they are doing this for a job, more fans in pretty much their aim, a diverse fan base is the best thing you can get in a band. Stop whining and just listen to great music that sits on the head of all the expanded ears flop fringed emo shite... the screams are fat, who gives a fuck about the lyrics, i mean they wrote a song about go carts on watch out, why sing about the same thing as eveyone else does... dallas wears his heart on his sleeve and call his singing cheesy but he is an extreemely talented musician who brings amazing depth to a great band and wade echoes eveything so well with those guitar riffs. I think people are just jealous that a band can be so good, have everything to offer, be nice guys and are not american.

fritobandito (August 27, 2006)

on the last two albums, their screaming vocalist has done nothing but seem out of place, useless, and most importantly, incredibly annoying in his delivery.

I'm one of the people who prefered the S/T. by FAR.

I can't get into this album at all.

wyefa (August 25, 2006)

Definitely in the top 10 for 2006. Excellent album.

Anonymous (August 25, 2006)

I saw these guys a couple years ago with Planes Mistaken For Stars and Hot Water Music. Wasn't that impressed but i kind of like that 44 Caliber song. Is this worth a listen?

SlowStupidHungry (August 24, 2006)

Yeah, I was thinking of a guy who posts under Ken!

Anonymous (August 24, 2006)

in actuality , as most of the bands in this genre turn into poser party rock bands, or makeup wearing goth bands, this records is a breath of fresh air

inagreendase (August 24, 2006)

After a few listens, I'm into this about as much as the last 2 albums. Which isn't much at all.

The only difference is this is a little more creative and entirely cheesier.

Anonymous (August 24, 2006)

wow. nothing from bsd yet. surprising.

kenjamin (August 23, 2006)

I saw your tape in the xBraniax distro sunday. My band played with them, too! SWEET.

I don't know if this was also directed at me but you've got me confused with someone else. I play piano.

SlowStupidHungry (August 23, 2006)

Hahaha, Ken, I've given up on this bullshit.

I saw your tape in the xBraniax distro sunday. My band played with them, too! SWEET.

crazytoledo (August 23, 2006)

'.44 Caliber Love Letter' is still my favorite song by these guys. This album isn't that good, but either way, I'm liking.

kenjamin (August 23, 2006)

attn: Will

Anonymous (August 23, 2006)

Vagrant's has the cover shown as a slip of paper over the actual booklet with the swollen hands man. At least on the one I bought.

chickswithdicks (August 23, 2006)

Posted by inagreendase on 2006-08-22 00:20:47

This is seriously the cover art, by the way. At least on the copy I got. Unless this comes with a slipcase or something.


The artwork on mine is some dude with swollen hands. Perhaps the Vagrant edition has different art than the Distort version?

arrhythmia (August 23, 2006)

This is really overproduced =/

Skankur (August 23, 2006)

Very amazing. Very good album. The next one will be even better. One of my favourites and totally worth buying immediately. Wade's vocals are fabulous. One of my top favourites of 2006 for sure.

Anchors (August 23, 2006)

Also, not really related to this record, but there's a live piano version of Happiness By The Kilowatt on the Dine Alone Records myspace page, and it's pretty awesome.

stricken (August 23, 2006)

shame you didnt mention Gared O'Donnell (of Planes Mistaken For Stars) contribution to the song You Burn First..

this album is definately top 10 of 06

trauma16 (August 23, 2006)

I didnt initially like this cd, but after 2 or 3 listens it really grew on me.
Im going to agree with the review for the most part. But i still do like the S/T a little bit more than this.

jacknife737 (August 23, 2006)

"Alexisonfire is huge in canada but they get no radio play and low rotation much music. Faget"

You're an idiot.

SilentStorms (August 23, 2006)

I don't think I've ever disagreed with Anchors, but the first Alexis is by far the best (in my opinion) and the Watch Out! was waaaaay too structured (for a band with amazing diversity). I liked the stuff I heard from this album, but the S/T still reigns. Little Girls Pointing and Laughing like a mafacka!!!

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

I don't know when you saw them, but seeing them about a year ago with the Cancer Bats and A Wilhelm Scream, they are probably one of my top live bands. The only other band that gave me that same feeling of "I'm glad I love hardcore/whatever and going to shows" is Shai Hulud.

ozmanx (August 22, 2006)

I've seen this band open for Rise Against and boy did I feel like getting the hell outta there, terrible live band.

moneenerd (August 22, 2006)

This album is decent. Nothing can compare to S/T though.

Im all for More-George/Less-Dallas, but THIS COULD BE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD's chorus is just way too sweet.

And goddammit, its about time Wade got more mic time.

theTopher (August 22, 2006)

I love this album, but I think Watch Out! has it all over Crisis. Watch Out! was definitely a grower, though, so I'll give Crisis at least that much time.

swank (August 22, 2006)

Dallas Green = the most overexposed voice in Canadian rock music.

arrhythmia (August 22, 2006)

The lyrics on their first CD were really good, it makes me wonder if someone not in the band wrote them.

On their later albums, songs like "Sharks & Danger," and "Happiness By The Kilowatt" prove that they're still capable of writing good lyrics. Just reading them really doesn't do them justice; there's a song on Watch Out! called No Transitory where the lyrics are corny until he says "There was always warmth between us," and then, it clicks.

...They also have some songs that have downright terrible lyrics. I haven't heard the new album yet, but "This Could Be Anywhere In The World" seems completely uninspired, shit you'd find on the back of a teenager's math notebook.

I'm pretty sure it's Dallas that's the one that can't write lyrics, and that George can. They alternate. George wrote the entire first album, probably, and then as Dallas started getting noticed for his voice, he started writing them more. His solo album's lyrics display that he has no talent whatsoever in that department.

And the White Devil lyrics aren't half-bad. He's knocking on coke, give the guy a break.

EyesLikeBOmbs (August 22, 2006)

I am incredibly confused by the fact that people actually like this. This album is so much worse than their previous two albums. The first 3 times I heard this album, I couldn't even make it past the first song. "This is from my heart"? Can you possibly be anymore cliched? This band got real bad, real fast.

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

"There is no way you could ever seriously compliment this band for their lyrics. Good band but terrible, god-awful lyrics."

Exactly what I was thinking, "White Devil" off of Watch out has some of the worst lyrics since limb bizkit. Also "My greatest gift to you is a / DANCE FLOOR".... no no no.

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

"Alexisonfire is huge in canada but they get no radio play and low rotation much music. Faget."

Every grade 9 class in high schools accross Southern Ontario begs to differ.

tenwestchaser (August 22, 2006)

There is in fact a slip card that covers up the booklet art. The booklet has a picture of a guy with elephentitis of the hands.

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

There is no way you could ever seriously compliment this band for their lyrics. Good band but terrible, god-awful lyrics.

dropkickmurphy01 (August 22, 2006)

I think this is a great album. I wasn't big on the first album. The second was an awesome album and I think this is a great follow-up too it.

mpc (August 22, 2006)

The big alternative station in Detroit is based in Windsor, Ontario, and they play commercials for this CD quite a bit. I don't know why, but I find that pretty funny as I doubt most of their listeners have any clue who Alexisonfire is. Solid album though.

Anchors (August 22, 2006)

This isn't as 'hard' as the s/t, for lack of better description, but the songwriting has improved by leaps and bounds since then. George still has a ton of screaming parts, but Dallas and Wade figure into that a lot better than before.

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

You won't like this one then.

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

hummm.... I'm very conflicted now cause I liked the S/T 10times more than 'Watch Out'. When I listen to 'Watch Out' I always just thought to myself... you know they're a decent band, but now they're just trying to become popular, in other word the cheese factor went up... so i guess i'll give this album a listen and see what's up...

treos (August 22, 2006)

"I like this band but every song will be turned into a music video and get played over and over and over and over and over on Much Music. This band is huge in Canada to the point that they get as much airplay as Fall Out Boy does..."

Alexisonfire is huge in canada but they get no radio play and low rotation much music. Faget.

treos (August 22, 2006)

I waited an hour outside of hmv for this cd cuz i got there an hour before it opened. Totally worth it, even though i had already had a burned copy from like amonth prior to release. I bought th e limited edition with all the bonus vids and the exdtra track. If you like alexisonfire its worth it. PLus thir pretty cool guys. Their not on a major label to answer someones question below becuz their not a shitty sellout band, its the same reason why they declined the main stage at warped tour. I fuckin love alexisonfire.

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

Agreed.

dev (August 22, 2006)

Clampdown17
My answer to your question would be: neither.

maladroit (August 22, 2006)

Meh

clampdown17 (August 22, 2006)

I don't understand why this band gets so much hate from people on this site.

I know that they aren't original or outstanding in any way really, but compared to all the other notable screamo-rock dominating the mainsteam these days I find these guys to be at the very least quite tolerable.

I'm not really a big fan of the band or anything, and I won't be buying this, but I don't think these guys have been given a fair shake.

Out of all the stuff in the mainstream that passes for punk/rock these days, I'd say Alexisonfire is one of the better bands for sure. Honestly, would you rather the kids listen to this or the lastest victoryesque mascara-wearing rockstar pricks?

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

Terrible

LeightonESmith (August 22, 2006)

This cd has some of the best ever Alexisonfire moments. There are a couple of boring songs but I'm so glad this turned out good overall. Its got the kind of sound that is classic enough that you'll remember where you were the first time you heard it (like all good music).

ben_conoley (August 22, 2006)

I was going to avoid this, but your review is making me want to use that 9.99 HMV coupon

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

this is so boring..why isnt it on MTV or on a major where this shit belongs to

insinceredave (August 22, 2006)

Not bad, i'm still giving it time to really impress. Its definitely more of a 'punk' sound compared to their last record, but that is helped by the style of the drumming.

And to the guy below, the case comes in a sleeve. the real artwork is some picture, can't remember what is tho.

pinoyMan (August 22, 2006)

better than the previous one.

mcgregor107 (August 22, 2006)

... anybody here waiting for Chinatown-Anchors part 9?

almostpunkenough (August 22, 2006)

somehow a step-up from 'Watch Out'.

the production is a bit too clean but fuck it, the energy here is fantastic.

johnnydanger (August 22, 2006)

there are a few words that don't belong in this review: "hardcore", "defining" and "great".

HeresLookinAtYou (August 22, 2006)

I liked the S/T and Watch Out! better but this is still really good

nice review jordan

GlassPipeMurder (August 22, 2006)

I also feel inclined to mention that Anchors posted one of the few good lyrics in the album, and most of the rest really lacks substance.

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

Awesome band.

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

I like this band but every song will be turned into a music video and get played over and over and over and over and over on Much Music. This band is huge in Canada to the point that they get as much airplay as Fall Out Boy does...

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

I'm tired of this muthafuckin' band on this muthafuckin' planet !

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

I know how Anchors loves these guys and i tried to listen to the new single with an open mind. Not so great.

tylerdurden8136 (August 22, 2006)

Goddamnit it's too late for me to be scoring this shit.

Should be an 8, not a 4.

Fuck.

leftoverbud (August 22, 2006)

kinda cool they just left it so mininmal you know.

this shit is good. there is one really weird song I don't like but whatev.

tylerdurden8136 (August 22, 2006)

Ha, I figured this would get torn apart.

leifkills (August 22, 2006)

I thought this was going to be crap, and then was blown away. This is seriously the one album all year that might change you mind about a band you dislike.

arrhythmia (August 22, 2006)

Have got to say, this being the band I grew up listening to, given a high score by my most trusted reviewer on this site, I'm pretty fucking excited.

=D

GlassPipeMurder (August 22, 2006)

I'm reviewing this for my college newspaper right now...not wildly impressed, but not terrible.

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

It is amazing this band has not been picked up by a major major yet (I mean like Sony, etc). Take that as positive or negative, it is up to you.

tenwestchaser (August 22, 2006)

Yikes....I'm hoping the title was somehow influenced the cover art. It does look like a problem/crisis. Eitherway, you'll catch no shit from me. I love this band. Watch Out! was just absolutely amazing. Great melodies, fantastic thought provoking POSITIVE lyrics, and plenty of songs that were just fun to listen to really fucking loud.

BrendanKelly (August 22, 2006)

shit

inagreendase (August 22, 2006)

This is seriously the cover art, by the way. At least on the copy I got. Unless this comes with a slipcase or something.

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