Alexisonfire – Watch Out! / 2004 Equal Vision / 11 Tracks / http://www.theonlybandever.com / http://www.equalvision.com / Reviewed 29 September 2004
Starting out “Watch Out!” with a fairly amelodic set of guitar riffs, Alexisonfire gets their fans on board with an all-encompassing whoa-oh-oh chorus and a chugging bass line. The bridge on the first track, “Accidents” stretches out for a little too long, and the echoed vocals of Dallas only weakly hold the power that the whoaed-out chorus may have. The assault by Alexisonfire is stuck right in the middle of emo and metal, never really finding a happy medium, as evidenced by “Control”. “Control" is a track that uses the same heavy riffs of “Accidents” while having Dallas and George alternate between Senses Fail and the Cookie Monster. Emoting heavily during the opening of “It Was Fear of Myself That Made Me God”, Alexisonfire fall back into the metal of previous tracks and move slightly further into the geometric guitar riffs used by bands like Avenged Sevenfold and Helloween. Even switching moods, vocalists, and general sounds a number of times during the track, this is one of the most radio-friendly tracks Alexisonfire has on the early part of this album, a sibling to AFI’s “Silver and Cold” if there ever was one.
Continuing the strong vocal presence for “Side Walk When She Walks”, the instrumentation seems almost atrophied from not being used to its full potential – the only things really present in force during this track are the tribal drum fills by Jesse and the typical guitar lines present on an Alexisonfire track. However, the instrumental weaknesses of “Side Walk” all fall away during the follow-up track, “Hey, Its Your Funeral Mama”, a track that can’t do anything but benefit from the scale-solos laid down on guitars. After quite a few tracks absent, Steele’s bass comes back in a big way during “No Transitory”, a track that sees Dallas’ vocals take a more Maynard (Tool) swing.
Whiffing big with two late-disc tracks, namely “Shakes and Danger” and “That Girl Possessed”, even with its thrash-influenced drums, Alexisonfire continue the punk/thrash infusion with “White Devil”. The track is heavy on Cookie Monster and reiterates the same chiaroscuro of light and heavy vocals that the rest of the tracks on “Watch Out!” hash out. Alexisonfire has the instrumental side of things down pat, but it is only on tracks like “Get Fighted”, itself very influenced by Coheed & Cambria’s vocal assault that we actually see steps being taken in the evolution of their vocals.
Top Tracks: Get Fighted, Accidents