Old Crows / Young Cardinals Review

artist: Alexisonfire date: 06/26/2009 category: compact discs
Alexisonfire: Old Crows / Young Cardinals
Released: Jun 23, 2009
Genre: Rock, Alternative, Post Hardcore
Label: Vagrant Records
Number Of Tracks: 11
Alexisonfire goes beyond any one genre on its amazing new record Old Crows/Young Cardinals.
 Sound: 9.7
 Lyrics: 9.3
 Overall Impression: 9.3
 Overall rating:
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reviews (3) 86 comments vote for this album:
overall: 9.3
Old Crows / Young Cardinals Featured review by: UG Team, on june 26, 2009
4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: It's difficult to even believe that Alexisonfire is even the same band as the one that first came upon the music scene in 2001. While the music that the Ontario band churned out back then had its place in the post hardcore/screamo world, Alexisonfire's latest record Old Crows/Young Cardinals shows a shocking amount of growth. You can say the dreaded word maturity, but all too often that description is also associated with being boring. Old Crows/Young Cardinals is a multi-faceted album that is full of intriguing layers (both vocally and instrumentally), aggressive moments, and most importantly, strong and cohesive melodic structure.

There was certainly evidence on the last album Crisis that Alexisonfire was moving away from its use of high-pitched screams, but you'll find that theme is driven home even more on Old Crows/Young Cardinals. That's not to say that they've lost their edge. Replacing the shrills is what I would call a more manly, guttural yell that frankly works much better for what the band is trying to do. The opening track Old Crows is the perfect balance of George Pettit's shouts and Dallas Green's always-smooth traditional singing. The most infectious aspect, however, is the chorus, which could easily be called an anthem of sorts. With the repeating line We are not the kids we used to be chanted in furious fashion, it makes an instant impression.

The focal point of the CD is absolutely Dallas Green, who delivers novel and creative guitar parts along with his Bono-like (and at times perhaps, dare I say, better than Bono) vocals. Rich, heavily layered vocal tracks are scattered throughout the record, with Young Cardinals and The Northern being standouts. Although The Northern is one of the more low-key offerings on the album, it's consistently interesting because of its unusual percussion and lower-range vocals that are echoed by a subtle guitar line. The verse is engaging on its own, but the memorable, explosive chorus seals the deal.

Much of Alexisonfire's older material was saturated by screams that overshadowed other musical components of the songs, and that style certainly has its place in the rock scene. But the new approach by the band allows for a much more diverse listening experience. Between the Queens of the Stone Age-like intro in Accept Crime or the delay effects (a la U2) in Sons of Privilege, Alexisonfire shows they have entered a whole new creative phase in its career. // 10

Lyrics: It's hard for the lyrics to match the strength of the music on Old Crows/Young Cardinals, but they come close. There is no lack of descriptive content, with plenty of poetic aspects within the songs. Young Cardinals is a prime example with lyrics like, Nicotine babies will pull those vines; The god of the sea is swinging his trident; We soak our clothes with the sounds of violence; The sun, it retreats through the dust and the dead. While the other tracks have their own positive qualities, Young Cardinals simply has some of the most intriguing lyrics you'll hear on the CD. // 9

Overall Impression: Alexisonfire is rapidly showing that they cannot be confined to any one particular genre, and that relays the confidence the band has in its music. They may lose some of its early fans in the process, but those listeners will be missing out. There are still moments on the album that touch on post hardcore, hard rock, and everything in between, and they are obviously re-exploring some of the influences that shaped their music in the first place. Whatever their method is, it's working for them. Alexisonfire is one band that should move on to great things in the coming years. // 9

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overall: 9.3
Old Crows / Young Cardinals Reviewed by: lllostmotelll, on june 26, 2009
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: Upon first listen, Old Crows/Young Cardinal seems like the type of album that might not impress fans of the band's older stuff. For me, being a fan since their self-titled album, I still like it quite a bit. Also on first listen, you might think that they got a new "screamer". Not so. While George's style of screaming/growling changed, he is able to pull it off in a way that sounds cohesive with the music and maintains a fresh sound. The clean vocals Dallas provides for the sound have always blown me away, and it's nothing short of amazing all over the album. Wade's vocals are harder to distinguish between George's new style, but he's still there in parts. The guitar work, while not too flashy overall, is still perfect for the type of sound Alexisonfire is trying to convey. It works well, just as it always has. Chris opens up the album on "Old Crows" with a nice dirty bassline, but is overall hard to hear among most of the songs. The drumming on all of the tracks is stellar and the fills that Jordan lays down are all pretty sweet. Overall, I like the direction this album went. Some fans might call it a departure from their old sound, but I feel like it's a pretty fresh turn after Crisis, which in my opinion is their best album to date. Sure it isn't perfect, but Old Crows/Young Cardinals will be playing on my computer for a while. // 9

Lyrics: Dallas' vocals as mentioned are nothing short of perfect, as always, and George's new style is pretty surprising at first. It kind of makes me wonder if it was choice or if he was sort of vocally forced to switch his style due to problems. It takes a lot of effort to produce the type of sound he used on the three previous albums, so I'm leading toward him not being able to scream like he used to. Which I'm okay with. I would hope they keep making music in the future and if he is unable to do what he used to, fair play. I like the way he changed his style and I'll accept it. Plus, it's easier to understand him, and he does have a couple of moments that throw him back to days of Watch Out! Or Crisis. // 10

Overall Impression: The last track, Burial, is amazing. Definitely not something you'd expect from the band. This track really closed out the album in an awesome way, making it potentially one of my favorite albums of theirs, ahead of Watch Out! and just behind Crisis, if I had to place them. While I like their self-titled a lot as well, I feel like if they re-recorded it, it could be even better than it is. But Old Crows/ Young Cardinals really makes me excited to see these guys live for the first time, hopefully after Warped Tour when they possibly tour in the U.S. Since I'm listening to the leak, there's no way it could get stolen from me, but I do plan on going out and buying this on. If you are a fan of the band, I'd recommend you do the same. // 9

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overall: 9.7
Old Crows / Young Cardinals Reviewed by: unregistered, on april 13, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: One of Canada's best export, Ontario post-hardcore rockers, Alexisonfire bring to the table their best work yet! It's been out for about 2 years now, so I'll assume a lot of have heard it or the bands previous work. For those who have just discovered Alexisonfire get this album immediately! (but still after reading this) First thing you will notice is vocalist George Pettit, who's explicit screamo moments are gone, in their place is a louder more rough but equally good vocal style, one that fits this album perfectly. George still alternates vocal duties with rhythm guitarist Dallas Green, who voice sounds just as beautiful as it ever does. (check his one man side project, City And Colour.) Lead guitarist Wade Macneil, also lends some backing vocals, bassist Chris Steele and drummer Jordan Hastings still keep time and our energetic as usual. (see them live you'll see what I mean.) // 10

Lyrics: The themes and lyrics are quite similar to 06's "Crisis." The ideas are 'mature' compared to their earlier work. With songs like "Accept Crime", dealing with the prejudice towards homosexual/lesbian and gays alike. "Sons Of Privilege"; America's standard way of thinking with the idea of liberty. "Born And Raised"; The way we are brought up effects are way of thinking throughout the rest of our life, with obvious complications. the title-track (or title tracks); The emotional and mental change from adolescent to adult. "Midnight Regulations"; How governments are biased and hypocritical. Even "The Northern" is based off a hymn called Roll Jordan Roll... Yes, this is Alexisonfire. Yes, these were once the screamo scene dudes from 2001, just all grown up. // 9

Overall Impression: Stand out tracks: Born And Raised. Sons Of Privilege. No Rest. Accept Crime. Emerald Street. Without a doubt, Old Crows/Young Cardinals is their most defined and their best album to date. It has that post-hardcore/punk feel. It has that Alexisonfire sound to it, that you've loved for years, just slightly altered, but for the better. In any case, i love this and if your a fan you will too, if your yet to be converted then this might just do it! // 10

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