Alexisonfire - Old Crows/young Cardinals
What does it take to be full of passion and high-energy after three acclaimed albums? It takes Chris, Dallas, Jesse, George and Wade just being themselves. Sure, the ensuing review of 'they've changed' or 'they're not what they used to be' may result from Old Crows/Young Cardinals, but this is merely a writer reviewing one album over six years ago. Truth is, AOF set the bar with Watch Out! and they simply never looked back. Sure, AOF's self-titled major label debut was that of hard-core and raw energy, but that does not discount what they have recorded since then, it merely underlines what they were capable of morphing into. Call me what you want, but I'm enjoying the hell out of this metamorphosis.
Upbeat and razor edged, 2009's peaking is a definitive return to what they have been building for the last two LP's. Songs like "No Rest" have a firm confidence and melodic energy that simply says I don't give a f*ck, or perhaps you prefer "dance like nobody's watching". It's phenomenal how they melt so many genres of Metal and Hard-Core into this ball of unattained wax. Of course, not the entire album meets protocol for me.
"The Northern" is one of those tracks where AOF really goes out on a limb to build an expectation in the chorus, and regardless of what transpires, it just does not meet what's expected. However, as many may disagree, I still have to say the very next track, "Midnight Regulations" has a power and diversity that I expect out these Canadian boys. "Old Crows" the lead track is a mind control guitar grid that won't let go once it's got hold of you. Though most of the vocals are lead by the Aggro side of AOF, the only downside this track has is a bit too repetitive of a chorus. It's counterpart, "Young Cardinals" has the most Punk tribute, simply careless of any format, or rules, this track is set to play raw.
"Accept Crime" is another quality track that has a small taste of old school punk tribute, and only makes AOF's genre multiplication that much more acceptable, no pun intended. Even with a random clap sample, this track is simply an undeniable track of slick production and artist banding. So what's in store for the closer, ironically named "Burial"? A slow journey through soft chords and a consistent drum pattern that just does not ever meet the explosion that you expect.
Despite opportunities missed to blow our minds, AOF has managed to keep a bond, and continually mince a fiery, yet sensitively melodic metal with two coursing voices. As long as they keep this recipe, AOF will always hit my top ten releases of the year. It's gonna take some time, but I will latch onto this Alexisonfire release just like any other of their three previous, like a leech.
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