Review Summary: Quite possibly the last thing we will ever hear from Alexisonfire, which is unfortunately not their best work.
Being an EP and only being 4 tracks, the release is a bit of a mixed bag for me. I'm not going to lie, my favorite part of Alexisonfire is Dallas Green's vocals. He is one of the best singers I have ever heard in a rock band setting in the last decade or so. And unfortunately, he has pretty much been neutered from this release, except for the end of "Dog's Blood" (Track 1). I don't know why, but it's very centered on George's vocals. George goes back to his screaming vocals, unlike the last release (Old Crows/Young Cardinals) where he used a more raspy singing voice (if you can call it a singing voice, that is...) He doesn't drop the vocals from Old Crows, though. It's kind of a cool mix between the two. I realize that it was supposed to be an experimental album, but the fact that it came out on the heels of their breakup has left a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth.
The songs are still good. "Dog's Blood" is more along the lines of their hardcore roots (Crisis and Watch Out!) with a more experimental side that has a lot of instrumental breaks. The song is fairly long, hitting in at close to 6 minutes. It doesn't really drag and has a nice bridge where Dallas plays a small part and graces us with his singing voice. Then he and George go back and forth with screaming and singing just like the good old days. The song itself reminded me a little of "Accidents" off of Watch Out!, but more expanded. "Grey" is a slower song that plays out nicely. Think along the lines of "Rough Hands" and "The Northern." "Black as Jet" is a very upbeat song that drops the vocals around the 1:30 mark and then proceeds to play out until nicely fading into the excellent instrumental track, "Vex."
To be honest, "Vex" (the instrumental track) is my favorite. It's a mid-tempo track with some really nice lead guitar parts that surprisingly doesn't wear out its welcome, clocking in at 6 minutes. It's definitely something new for the guys. I would have loved to have seen what the next full length album would have been, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. Sad day. Alexisonfire is one of my favorite bands, doing the whole melodic hardcore and punk thing better than most, and I am supremely bummed out that I will probably not to enjoy new music from them in the future.
Also, anyone that's a fan of Green's vocals like me might want to check out City and Colour. The only resemblance to Alexisonfire is his singing voice, but it is damn good music, especially the last album, Little Hell.