Alexisonfire
Old Crows / Young Cardinals


3.0
good

Review

by Hugh Johnson USER (9 Reviews)
August 13th, 2010 | 61 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Alexisonfire try to take a step forward with a new sound, but end up taking two steps back.

I've always considered Alexisonfire one of the "better bands" in the whole present-day "post-hardcore." However, their last album, Crisis received a lot of mixed reactions among fans with a lot of them believing that the band had lost their fire and were aiming for a more "commercially appealing" album. While that may be true in some instances, Crisis was a great maturation for the band and it showed singer/guitarist Dallas Green at his best vocally. However, front man George Pettit's role as the "lead vocalist" of the band was decreased majorly, and how his screams contrast with Dallas' singing was always one of Alexisonfire's best assets. For their fourth studio album, Old Crows/Young Cardinals, Pettit's role as the band's "lead singer" has returned, only in a very different form.

The thing that sticks out like a sore thumb when you first put on this record is that Pettit's vocal delivery has changed. His screaming style of old has been replaced with a new aggressive, throaty style of singing for the most part, but there are a few spots where he screams. This new singing style may not sit well with older fans, but it does work well for him. Although it's not like most fans were probably expecting, his voice fits well with the music and gives it a fresh new feel. The other voice of Alexisonfire, Dallas Green, nearly steals the show on Old Crows/Young Cardinals, sounding better than ever. I've always been a fan of his voice and his acoustic side project, City and Colour, and I feel that his voice has gotten better and better with each Alexisonfire album, this one being no exception. Green and Pettit complement each other well and there is a lot more balance between the two on Old Crows/Young Cardinals than there was on Crisis. The track "Midnight Regulations" is probably the best example of how the duo trade off vocals so well.

As a whole, the band seems to be improving as well, sounding a lot more coherent as a band. Drummer Jordan Hastings also really stepped up his game on this record as he sounds very sharp on this record. Hastings' drumming is what really drives a lot of the songs on Old Crows/Young Cardinals, and it is better than it ever has been before. Guitarists Wade MacNeil and Dallas Green sound very tight as the former delivers a lot of catchy leads ("Accept Crime") and the latter provides many great hooks that are the driving force on most songs ("Young Cardinals," "Emerald Street"). The only thing that's really missing is the dueling guitar melodies that were previously a key factor to their sound. McNeil does have a few leads, but he and Green hardly trade off melodies anymore and Green's instrumental role in the band has been limited to rhythm guitar. Alexisonfire are obviously trying to distance themselves from their previous "post-hardcore" sound and the dueling guitars sadly had to go. However, there are a lot of good things that come with this new sound of theirs. They sound a lot more aggressive and focused than ever before as they explore new territory with songs like "Old Crows," or the mellower track, "The Northern."

Alexisonfire have always been a fairly catchy band and this record has its share of sing-along choruses and lines that'll be stuck in your head for ages ("Heading for the Sun"), but what's strange is that despite this, Old Crows/Young Cardinals is a very dark sounding record. Whether it's the cold opener, "Old Crows" or the somber closer "Burial," the whole record carries a slightly grim vibe to it. "The Northern" is an eerie track that's somewhat reminiscent of "You Burn First" from Crisis, only actually done well and it flows perfectly at the album's midpoint. The song that follows it, "Midnight Regulations" is Alexisonfire at their absolute best. Combining post-hardcore with hard rock influences and having one of Green's best vocal performances. "Burial" sounds like a Thrice b-side from Vheissu with its atmospheric touch and Green's soothing vocals echoing as the record comes to the close.

George Pettit had stated in an interview that he wanted to be the one to "put the knife" into screamo rather than saving it. Genre disputes aside, Alexisonfire have definitely moved on from their earlier sound. Old Crows/Young Cardinals is like nothing they've ever done before and one could argue that it's just as good (if not better) than their previous outings. Older fans will obviously not embrace this change of sound immediately but they will warm up to it eventually. Sometimes change is a good thing.



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user ratings (1005)
Chart.
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
EuphoricDysphoria81
August 13th 2010


1152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I hope this suffices.

DoubtGin
August 13th 2010


6752 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

disappointing album =/

EuphoricDysphoria81
August 13th 2010


1152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It really was. I was hoping for so much more

sspedding
August 13th 2010


4780 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

twas garbage

Digging: Devil Sold His Soul - Belong ? Betray

EuphoricDysphoria81
August 13th 2010


1152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I don't think it was THAT bad, but it definitely wasn't their best.

sspedding
August 13th 2010


4780 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

in comparison to Watch Out! this is garbage. They've been on a downward spiral since Watch Out! and it culminated in this, by far their worst release.

EuphoricDysphoria81
August 13th 2010


1152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is their worst, but I don't think Watch Out! was their best. Crisis, to me, was their best.

sspedding
August 13th 2010


4780 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

fair play. I dont agree personally.

EuphoricDysphoria81
August 13th 2010


1152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's all a matter of opinion, that's all

sspedding
August 13th 2010


4780 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

that right playa

EuphoricDysphoria81
August 13th 2010


1152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Playa playa, on a side note, how's the review? And why isn't this on the front page yet?

sspedding
August 13th 2010


4780 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

oh yeah sorry about that, didn't realise it was yours. Review is very good, flows nicely and is an easy read. However, I disagree with a number of the points- mainly to do with the direction and subsequent progression of the band. This is besides the by though. The review is well worthy of a pos from me.

EuphoricDysphoria81
August 13th 2010


1152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thank you dude. Much appreciated.

accompliceofmydeath
August 13th 2010


4297 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's your first review so, it has to get approved.

"Old Crows/Young Cardinals is also a lot heavier on faster, aggressive songs rather than slower, atmospheric songs. "

This line doesn't really make sense to me, but other than that, good first review. A lot of people don't like the first-person style of reviewing, but it works here.

I really like the direction they went on this album, although I still think their S/T is the best.

Digging: Weekend Nachos - Unforgivable

EuphoricDysphoria81
August 13th 2010


1152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks Accomplice. I edited that sentence out and made a few more changes. Hopefully it's a smoother read now. How long does it take staff to approve?

Apollo
August 13th 2010


10364 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

great first review. Glad to see some intelligence in a user's first. It reads very well. I actually like this album, Crisis is my favourite too.

Looking forward to your next review man.

accompliceofmydeath
August 13th 2010


4297 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Reads better with that sentence removed.

Not sure, it depends if anyone is on right now. Usually not more than a couple of hours though.

Apollo
August 13th 2010


10364 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It could take a few hours for the staff to approve but usually within an hour it should be approved

EuphoricDysphoria81
August 13th 2010


1152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks guys, every bit of feedback I get is helpful.

Apollo
August 13th 2010


10364 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

one thing I might tweak is this:

"I've always considered Alexisonfire one of the "better bands" in the whole present-day "post-hardcore" scene or whatever you want to call it."

Take out that last point, the 'whatever you want to call it' part. It will make your review seem more confident.



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