POST-HARDCORE: Otherness. No band boldly expresses the concept more openly than that of Canadian post-hardcore band Alexisonfire. Since 2001, Alexisonfire has continuously drawn from this one subject, and like the unique nature of the three vocalists’ platinum tier heavyweights, they find some way to expand and organically grow the subject. With their new release, Otherness, via Dine Alone Records, this record not only feels like they have come full circle, but they feel complete as a band. 

Coming back from hardcore classic Old Crows/Young Cardinals after 13 years, Otherness takes us on a journey of vulnerability, confidence, iconoclasm, celebratory recklessness, and what it means to be unique in ways only the Canadian post-hardcore quintet can. Otherness starts with an acid dipped energy track, “Committed to the Con.” A beginning that shows the band has not only matured in the last dozen years since their last full release, but dawns on an era that shows unbridled confidence in what they are producing in the space they are in now. 

Other gorgeous moments within Otherness are “Sans Soleil.” Beautifully decorated with their heartfelt grit and charm, yet dazzled with genius use of guitar energy throughout, Alexisonfire shows us why they are masters at what they do in this genre. Gifted is an understatement when it comes to their atmospheric self-awareness in this listening experience. 

A lovely massive juncture on the album fans will fall in love with is “Conditional Love.” After a period of breaking up and coming together to find themselves not only as a band but who they are as individuals outside of the band, this listening experience is the connecting tissue to this record. Alexisonfire is unapologetically showing they are back and not going anywhere. “Blue Spade” takes center stage as one of the best tracks on the whole album. The guitar work is superb, the vocals top-notch, and the lyrics some of the most emotionally engaging up to this point. From beginning to close, this song is dripping with nostalgic energy and aggressive beatitude. The magic they create on this track is undeniable, and many will return to this experience many times over. “Mistakes Information” sounds like it could have been on one of their earlier records, resembling solemn multi-instrumental energies of earlier track experiences on 2004’s Watch Out, but with heavier overtones, many fans will welcome this with open arms. 

The album ends with a denuded number, “World Stops Turning.” Alexisonfire has undoubtedly proven throughout this journey they have returned, and they have not lost a step in the delivery of their instrumental or lyrical presence. The years were certainly a test to see if the hardcore torchbearers could retain the fire lit within them, and Otherness has proven that tenfold. ~ Sammie Star