Sound: (NOTE: If you actually just want to know what the songs sound like.. skip to the bottom. This stuff is all Old Alexis vs. New Alexis.)
Bit surprised not to see a review for this up yet, so I thought I'd have a stab at it.
The Dog's Blood EP has been on the cards for quite a while now. They announced it back in '09, so a year later it has come out. Quite an interesting little number as well. We're all familiar with Alexisonfire (and for those of you who are not, go listen to some of their full-length albums; I'd personally recommend Watch Out! first) and I imagine most have heard their most recent, more hardcore, punkier style with "Old Crows, Young Cardinals". Now, some people especially didn't like the new direction of George's vocals, well all I've got to say is that, while yes he does still keep the new shouty stuff, he seems to be tinging it with a bit more of that classic Pettit scream. (And there are a few outright... "He's still got it!" screams. =])
The guitars maintain that crunchy punky sound from the last record, but at times they have the classic Alexis-style floating guitar that somehow drifts and wails at the same time. Especially noticeable on Grey.
Chris Steele as ever holds down the bass-end of the band, no surprises (except for his filthy tone), but consistently good.
The drumming from Hastings is as ever top-quality. I know there's always a perpetual debate of Ratbeard vs. Jesse, so I'm afraid for you Jesse fans, Ratbeard is just doing his thing on this record, which I personally love.
Now, I'll be honest, Dallas doesn't make much of an appearance in this EP. What vocal work he does though is, as per usual, haunting and slightly arousing. Likewise, Wade takes a bit more of a backseat, which is a shame.
The overall sound of this record is frankly a lot heavier and uptempo than previous offerings. In this EP they seem to still be actively pursuing and exploring the hardcore sound they started shifting into with OC/YC, only with some more experimental style breakdowns and riffing.
For the sound, I'm gonna give them a eight, because, while it might not be Watch Out! it's a pretty huge and filthy sounding set of songs, which I like. I was kinda hoping for a bit more Dallas, and so for not deploying the D-Bomb, they lose a mark. // 8
Lyrics: My main points of contention are as follows:
-Dallas, sadly not particularly present on this record.
-Because of the shortage of Dallas, George begins to sound a bit repetitive.
-The lyrics aren't as strong as they have been in the past.
I'm gonna give them a six, because frankly, although it's pretty good, I know they can do better. // 6
Overall Impression: 01. Dog's Blood: A dirty riff that punches into an uptempo, hardcore song. Heavy punk stuff that really thrashes along, showcasing George's new slightly screamier shout (as opposed to Old Crows/Young Cardinals), with some -really- harsh backing vocals. Then about half-way through, we get a gentle respite with Dallas crooning, before George kicks back in, howling, with Dallas wailing alongside and the guitars getting unreasonably huge before it all finishes with a very sticky mess in your underwear. Nice heavy song (amazing live, btw) that has a nice touch of sweetness towards the end. 8/10
02. Grey: Grey kicks straight off with a pretty chunky riff, which provides a nice backing for George to do his (OC/YC-style) shout over, whilst a floating-wailing guitar sounds amazing in the background. The sound contains lyrical similarities to Young Cardinals, which I'm not a fan of. A bit repetitive. 5.5/10
03: Black as Jet: A slightly unusual sounding opening before kicking into another up-tempo, heavy number that could cause serious damage with a pumped crowd. Chris Steele lays down perhaps the filthiest bass I've ever heard (which did leave me nursing a semi). Again, a little repetitive, but for its sheer filthy, dirty loving, I'll give it a 6.5/10.
04. Vex: Frankly, a bit of a gem. No vocals, which some of you may find disheartening. But it's a really epic and huge soundscape, a testimony of how great these guys are together. Very easy to lose yourself in the huge, floaty guitars but they have moments of real energy and up-beat riffing that gives it a good kick up the arse every now and then. It's a bit lengthy, but not so much that it's particularly noticeable. Especially because it builds to a very satisfactory conclusion: 7.5/10
Overall, a seven I think. // 7