15 years ago today Alexisonfire released an album that would redefine a scene on a global scale. We thought it only right to take a look back on why 'Crisis' is such an important album for music lovers everywhere.
There are moments in music when you can feel a shift. In the same way that a tectonic plate moving an inch can trigger an earthquake, the release of an album can send tremors through a scene that leaves the landscape a completely different shape from what it was. Again much like the tectonic plates, those moments, in reality, are few and far between, but when they do occur are worth remembering and celebrating. On August 22 2006, Alexisonfire released their third album 'Crisis' and triggered an emotional shift, unlike anything that we had seen before. Nothing was the same afterwards.
Before 'Crisis', Alexisonfire was a punk band straight outta Ontario, making the music that their heart desired. Their debut self-titled album, released in 2002 and was a scrappy yet intelligent affair. The sound of a band sharpening their teeth rather than cutting them. Then '04's 'Watch Out!' came and went, building on the foundations that their debut had laid and raised eyebrows throughout the underground. Though no-one could predict what was coming next. The step up to end all step-ups. An album that would overshadow everything that Alexis had produced before and that would find them rubbing shoulders with the greats almost overnight.
More than anything, the album was simply cut from a different cloth. Punk as fuck yet delicate as a feather. Expansive yet tightly wound. Impossible to pin down and even harder to get out of your head. There is just something about the power of those 11 tracks that consumes the mind and ensnares the senses. Many have attempted to replicate but many more have failed. It's a sound that is totally unique but bizarrely familiar. The buoyant aggression of 'Drunks, Lovers, Saints, Sinners'. The delicious aching pace of 'You Burn First'. The scream-from-the-rooftops sensibility of 'This Could Be Anywhere In The World'. The gruffness of George Petit, the delicacy of Dallas Green and raucous attitude of Wade MacNeil working together in perfect harmony to deliver music that gets the fist-pumping as much as the moshpit swelling. There are few bands who can have their fingers in this many pies without getting burned.
Though really, the thing that makes 'Crisis' so special is the slow-burning nature of its genius. It does not square up to you and demand your attention. It's doesn't grab your throat and leave you gasping for air. It takes its time. It builds and builds. It gets under your skin and slowly starts coursing through your body. It jumps between devastation and melody seamlessly, sometimes so subtlely that you don't even notice. The intricacies scattered throughout that you only start to notice on the 2nd, 5th, 20th listen. It's forward-thinking in more ways than one and perhaps that is the reason why its sound has stood the test of time so effortlessly. If the band were to release the album tomorrow, the reaction would be exactly the same. That's when you know you're onto something special.
The sheer reach of the record is a testament to the quality of songs that are found within it too. The likes of 'We Are The Sound' and 'Rough Hands' take up residence in the hearts and souls of so many from so many different walks of life. Punks, metalheads, hardcore kids, rockers, emos, even your best mate who loves pop. Everybody everywhere found something that they loved about 'Crisis'. It broke down barriers between genres and scenes in a way that only a record that truly understood each different style of music could. It attracted the attention of those who weren't even interested in rock and left them completely infatuated. It represents something different to everybody who lets it consume them, and it doesn't get much more beautiful than that.
Some music has the power to transcend the times and the trends that dictate the direction that the music industry goes. Some music has the power to stay fresh and relevant long after it has been released. Some music is so brilliantly and cleverly constructed that even the most minuscule part of it will be cited as influence and inspiration by someone somewhere. 'Crisis' is that sort of music and the ripples it has caused throughout its 15-year lifespan will continue to be felt within the bands of tomorrow for many more years to come.
The only band ever, forever.