The year is 2006 and whilst most kids in the alternative scene are tearing their straightened hair out wondering what the next Fall Out Boy or My Chemical Romance song is, quietly chugging away in the slightly heavier side of the genre, Alexisonfire have released what I consider to be possibly the best album of its time, and hell, even today.
This album is called ‘Crisis.’ The band didn’t just crawl out of the woodwork with this album, it’s not their debut nor is it the first album to receive such high praise. Two years prior they released ‘Watch Out!,’ the follow-up to their Self-Titled debut release. They were getting considerable attention from major labels at the time, but they realised they would rather stay independent and released it under Distort Records. Within the first twelve weeks, the album had achieved gold status in Canada, a fantastic feat, let alone for a post-hardcore band.
But for all of its accolades we’re not here to discuss “Watch Out!” we’re here to talk about ‘Crisis.’
Fans of the band were for sure on the edge of their seats for this release and at the time of it coming out, it may have divided some of them. ‘Crisis’ was far more polished and far more melodic than the previous releases. But for the faults “hardcore” (pun not intended) fans of the band liked to pull out of almost nowhere stating it’s not as heavy, it’s more emo/screamo than post-hardcore, there was a list of improvements that shadowed it in every way.
George, Dallas and Wade never sounded better vocally, tight harmonies. George had really refined his screams as did Dallas on his vocals. Wade was showing he was also a heavy hitter on the microphone and you felt like at any moment one of them could take over the song. Through all of this polish and sense of direction, it didn’t feel scripted. It felt natural. The best example of this would be on the track “This Could be Anywhere in The World.” At the time drummer Jordan Hastings, lovingly known as “Ratbeard,” was a new addition to this album, but the hype he builds at the beginning of the track with a drum fill, just before Wade, Dallas and Steele come in with hard hitting guitar and bass is palpable. Even to this day 10 years later the intro alone will hype up a venue or club when put on. During this track you get to see every piece of this bands puzzle come together. George’s raspy, emotional screams to Dallas’ angelic yet haunting vocals and all the way to Wade’s backing vocals adding a layer of desperation to the chorus is well crafted, giving an intentionally epic sense of grandeur to the track.
Every song on the album feels like an anthem, giving each member time in the spotlight showing that this band aren’t just your run of the mill post-hardcore quintet. It offers something to the plate for every type of Alexisonfire fan. From the hard hitting heavy tracks to the melodic ones and everything in between.
This album is one that deserves to be in every fan of the genre’s collection, and I would even go as far to say be considered a benchmark for future bands wanting to venture into the territory. 10/10.