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I was a bit late coming to the Alexisonfire party as this, their 3rd album, was the first one that I was aware of. The band formed in 2001 when the almost simultaneous breaking up of 3 bands meant that 4 members started up Alexisonfire along with a new drummer.
The band's style is largely hardcore although with quite a lot of melody. Heavy music combines with dual vocalists, one shouting at the top of his lungs and one crisply singing to create a distinctive, contrasting sound. At times the album can be a bit full on and lacks variation although the songs are generally good.
'Crisis' as well as Alexisonfire's other albums went platinum in their native Canada but had no real success in any other country. The band have since announced that they are to split although they may embark on a farewell tour.
So, onto the songs. The album opens with 'Drunks, Lovers, Sinners and Saints' and it starts with a screamed 'ALRIGHT!; This is from our hearts: Sincerity over simple chords, we made some mistakes; We made some mistakes; But it's a long time coming when you're giving it everything' and this seems to be about the bands authenticity and welcomes the fans to the album. It's immediately heavy and the two vocalists complimenting each others sound ensures the album gets off to a strong start.
First single from the album 'This Could Be Anywhere In The World' comes next. The band have stated that the song is about touring. The lyrics revolve around the 'This City is Haunted' and various similar metaphors. It could be saying that all Cities are the same these days with the same shops etc and very little individuality or soul. The sound is incredibly crisp and powerful and is a fantastic song.
'Mailbox Arson' is a strange name for a song and I think it about exactly what it says on the tin! The song is purely about setting post boxes on fire although it's possible that it's based on a true story. I believe the song is told from the point of view of someone who is bitter about their home town and decide to take revenge/cause trouble by this form of arson. It's a great song though with a fantastic melody and the two vocalists play off each other superbly.
'Boiled Frogs' was the second single from the album and is possibly my favourite track on the record. It's written about the father of one of the vocalists. Apparently when he was approaching retirement his employers started to try and force him out of the company so as not to have to honour his pension etc. The title is a metaphor for heating up water with a frog in it so that it doesn't realise that it is being cooked until it's too late to escape. Plenty of 'Whoas' and melody make this the album's high point.
'We Are The Sound' is a ferociously rapid track that doesn't let up throughout. It's clearly about the youth of today - bored, nothing to do and wandering aimlessly around and the contempt that it breeds.
Next up is a complete change of sound and tempo with 'You Burn First'. I believe the vocalist is a guest from another band, Planes Mistaken for Stars and the track does seem a little out of place. It's very one paced and never gets going.
'We Are The End' is next and it is notable for the fact that both vocalists are performing simultaneously through much of the track fighting for the listeners ear. There are plenty of war references and I believe the subject is self destruction, probably of the human race and how we are ruining the world we live in.
Title track 'Crisis' tells the story of the North American Blizzard of 1977 which hit New York and Ontario causing numerous deaths and disruption. The album artwork features a cover of a severely frost bitten man from this event as well as several images of snow buried cars etc. Lots of distorted guitars and almost unintelligible vocals on this one.
'Keep It On Wax' is apparently about the departed founder member and drummer of the band who left prior to the recording of this album. There is imagery of burnt bridges etc and obviously the split was not amicable. Again, it's heavy, fast and shouty.
'To A Friend' is the penultimate song and is possibly about someone suffering from a mental illness such as schizophrenia as the vocalists seem to be in a good v bad battle.
Final track 'Rough Hands' was also the final single from the album. It's a slower tempo, similar to 'You Burn First'. It's clearly about a relationship falling apart and even ends with a piano solo! This is one of the weaker track on the album for me.
Overall, this is a good album and pretty much all the songs, taken in isolation, are great. The only problem is that listening to the entire album can feel as though you've got a couple of tracks on repeat.
*This review is my own work although I may post it elsewhere on the internet.
I have long been a fan of 'Alexisonfire' and after listening to their two last albums and upon hearing of a new album being recorded for August 2006, I got really hyped.
'Crisis' however didnt manage to meet my expectations that the prior albums had done before, although still containing alot of material from their older albums it just seemed that they had lost their signiture sound. Dont get me wrong 'Crisis' is a good album but when compared to the rest of thier album, 'Crisis' comes across as a generic Post-Hardcore album.
The band use a mixture of screamed vocals, clean vocals and a more punk sound for the guitar and drumming. It seems that 'Alexisonfire' tried to add a structure to this album in the attempt to make it more of a commercial album but lost alot of their originalilty.
The Album contains the songs;
"Drunks, Lovers, Sinners and Saints"
"This Could Be Anywhere in the World"
"We Are the Sound"
"You Burn First"
"We Are the End"
"Keep It on Wax"
"To a Friend"
The songs "Rough Hands","Boiled Frogs" and "This Could Be Anywhere in the World" became singles and even videos made.
Overall, i would only suggest you buy this album if you are new to the Post-Hardcore scene and not if you were in past 'Alexisonfire' fan. In my opinion "Boiled Frogs" and "This Could Be Anywhere in the World" are the only strong songs on the album.
With the arrival of their previous album 'Watch Out', Alexisonfire set themselves apart as definate ones to watch over their career. This album, 'Crisis' comes with more expectations from the general public than ever before - How would the band react to a little pressure? Hmm, its a tough one.
It feels a little bit like Alexisonfire have retreated back into their shell here - Opening track 'Drunks, Lovers, Sinners and Saints' is a basic meat and potatoes blast, enjoyable but nothing special. 'This could be Anywhere in the World' is just phenomenal - possibly the greatest rock/metal song of the year, its a perfect combination of melody and brutality.
They follow it up with two more great tracks - 'Mailbox Arson' and 'Boiled Frogs' once again blend styles to create something different - Although the blueprint is pretty clear throughout, screaming on the verses, singing on the choruses.
Its from there that the album starts to lose its way, 'You Burn First' is undoubtedly supposed to be a mood piece, a mid point in the album, but its horribly dull and will be skipped over almost every time you listen to the album. From then on, the only songs of real quality are the quickfire blast of the title track, and the epic, brooding closer 'Rough Hands'
Hopefully, Alexisonfire will get their mojo back on subsequent releases and return to the quality of 'Watch Out'
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Drunks Lovers Sinners And Saints
2 This Could Be Anywhere In The World
3 Mailbox Arson
4 Boiled Frogs
5 We Are The Sound
6 You Burn First
7 We Are The End
9 Keep It On Wax
10 To A Friend
11 Rough Hands