Chances are that if you’ve read Alternative Press, Blender, Spin or any other music related magazine lately, then you have read a review of, or seen an advertisement for Alexisonfire’s second release Watch Out! It is impossible to miss the image of corpses and frightened faces haunting the pages. They are probably one of the bands that you’ve heard about and are somewhat familiar with but that you’ve never actually listen to. That needs to change now.
Alexisonfire is a five piece from southern Ontario, that’s right—a hardcore band that isn’t from SoCal. Their self-titled first release was generally well received due to the intense tracks like “.44 Caliber Love Letter” and “Adelleda.” After Alexisonfire I was interested and had heard most of the songs, but after receiving Watch Out! as well as seeing the band live, I have become huge fan. They are definitely worth the showering of attention by Equal Vision.
Lyrics can build up or break a band and are often overlooked or forgotten in the hardcore scene. Most of the time, the singer is growling inaudibly and his actual words become mute and meaningless. The lead vocalist, Dallas, takes on more of the singing then he did previously which to some is gratifying. Sound the Sirens’ own Ashley Lefor mentioned about Alexisonfire that “I found myself nearing a migraine about two minutes into the first song, and wondered what the song was talking about since I could not understand a single word.” The band took note as Dallas shows his beautiful voice and compassionate song writing abilities throughout the latest release. The metal influenced screaming/growling is not as overwhelming as in the previous release. Although I am a fan of the “screamo” style, I understand that it alienates some from the music of very talented musicians. Watch Out!uses the backup vocal screaming as a complement to the lead vocals, shown most effectively in “It Was Fear of Myself That Made Me Odd.” The change of vocal style is the biggest difference between the first and second releases and is a stable succession.
The guitar work matches the vocals incredibly well. As I listened to the pain and emotion in the singer’s voice and lyrics, I can also feel it coming from the guitar. It is a siren in the background of “No Transitory,” and the anticipation in “Accidents.” A great guitarist can make you feel his melodies in your heart and in your stomach. Wade, the lead guitarist, plays everything that the words just cannot say. It is a double hit of emotion and creates an unbreakable connection in the songs.
Watch Out! is a release I will be listening to for many months to come. It really shows the evolution of Alexisonfire and proves their ability to be a player in the hardcore scene with future releases and future progression. It is always a good sign when a band is not stuck into a certain style or method. In the style of true musicians, Alexisonfire are true to themselves, fully exposing their souls in their music.
(Equal Vision Records)