It’s been almost a decade since post-hardcore pioneers, Alexisonfire, released new music, having unleashed ‘Familiar Drugs’ out into the world this week.
It was two sombre years between Alexisonfire performing their poignant farewell shows (December 2012) and re-engaging fans on social media (December 2014), after which they offered nuggets of excitement via special boxsets and limited edition vinyl. Then in March 2015, the band confirmed plans to play a string of reunion sets at various festivals across the world. They scored a few nice holidays and we got to see our favourite band back at it again. Yet at no point did anyone expect the Canadian quintet to flirt with the concept of new music, let alone offer something as lubricated as ‘Familiar Drugs’.
Perhaps it’s in the midst of this no-pressure comfort zone that the five members of Alexisonfire – George Pettit, Dallas Green, Wade MacNeil, Chris Steele and Jordan Hastings – felt at ease enough to explore something new. It’s a testament to them as musicians that ‘Familiar Drugs’ confidently contends the most revered work in their back-catalogue.
After announcing their breakup in 2011, Alexisonfire released the ‘Death Letter’ EP, which reworked a bunch of songs from their existing discography on acoustic guitars. Making ‘Familiar Drugs’ the first slice of new material since 2010’s ‘Dog’s Blood’; a hardened EP which saw the band experiment with their gnarliest and heaviest sound of recent releases. The band were said to be working on new material before their split, offering an unfinished project for them to revisit in their reformed state.
The beauty of ‘Familiar Drugs’ lies in the collective strengths that’s long made Aexisonfire’s sound so distinct; Pettit’s vocals sneer like they did on ‘Dog’s Blood’ and ’44. Caliber Love Letter’, Green’s clean vocals weave around MacNeil’s melodic hooks and between the bounce of Steele’s bassline, all while Hasting’s cymbals crash and collide around the euphoric surge of unified backing vocals.
Along with the release of ‘Familiar Drugs’, Alexisonfire confirmed a number of new tour dates for 2019.
1 June – Alexandra Palace, London
8 June – Terminal 5, New York
13 June – The Wiltern, Los Angeles
15 June – The Budweiser Stage, Toronto