Review Summary: Alexisonfire return with a really strong new record, but unfortunately leave some of the great treats of for example "Watch out!" on the way
As Watch out!
was always a pleasure for me to listen to, I sure looked forward to the new album of Alexisonfire. But as usually. you ask yourself the same questions: "Will it be like the last album? But different enough to show progress? Better, worse?" And yet again, its somekind of mixed bucket for me.
The album sure starts strong. "Drunks, Lovers, Sinners and Saints" is a great opener that shows the good if not best aspects of the band. A good mix of screamed and melodic vocals, driving rythm section with a good lead guitar on top of that. The chorus just makes you want to sing along. You get a lot of these moments on this album, I do at least. This concept from Watch out!
has been taken further, with a somewhat better balance though. Where the precessor seemed to have a misbalance between melodic and screamed vocals, the share seems much better on Crisis
. Not only the vocals changed, it seems like the drummer had a bit more freedom as well. There is some nice stuff to discover from the man behind the drums. The band tries some new elements as well. Songs like "This Could Be Anywhere In The World" for example have some unexpected breaks that really add to the feeling of the songs, as it builds up tension. And the chorus marks a relief and release in a way, well done. As a far fetch, you could say with this album, Alexisonfire showcase what could happen if you mix up Billy Talent
. (Don't nail me on it, I said it's somekind of a far fetch...) Which actually is interesting. And brings some problems on the way down that road.
I already mentioned it's a mixed bucket. Watch out!
draws a lot of it's potential from the band stepping out of the line with different song structures than other bands that are similar. And to be honest, there is quite a bunch of bands of that kind out there. Songs that started very quite and with interesting and almost dreamy guitar lines, just to explode later on (see "It was fear of myself that made me odd"). The more advanced sounding lead guitar lines did their share to impress (see "Hey, it's your funeral Mama!"). Not to mention the good sense of humor. Yes, it had it's problems as well, like that the album did not feel as consistent, or stretches sometimes. That are problems that are not present on Crisis
. But these little aspects that made the presessor step out of the vast group of bands that sail the same musical seas as Alexisonfire, they seemed to have suffered a bit with the progression to Crisis
. Take the guitar work for example. You still find some interesting lead parts here and there that set good accents, but the rythm guitar is somewhat quite similar on all the songs. The chord progressions seem very very similar, which is noticable on first listen. The little experiments with tempo and mood changes have lessened as well. The changes in the songs that made most of the atmosphere on the precessor are skipped here. Which is quite sad, as I mentioned above made that album stand out.
Which does not mean that the songs suck. The songs are energetic, and motivate a lot to sing along. And there is still a lot to discover in the songs. Like the guest song with the Planes mistaken for stars
vocalist on You burn first
. What a nice little ode to present to people you once knew... or the title track, which is probably the hardest track on the album. There are also some nice guitar effects thrown in here and there (see "To A Friend" as an example). So it's overall a good and solid album.
To sum it up: This album sure is tight, and really feels like one consistent record, which was a problem with Watch out!
here and there. The new more melodic and slightly punk-riffing inspired sound is interesting, and suits the band very well. Sadly, the treats that made Watch out!
as enjoyable as it was have drowned in a way here, and are not shown on as many places here as before. So what you get is the drop of old cons that have turned into new benefits, but at the same time you lose some of the old benefits that made the precessor as interesting as it was. Tight and good album, but with this trade it still can not make more than 3.5 from me, with a clear and close tendencie towards the 4