Review: Alexisonfire – Crisis

Alexisonfire - Crisis

Alexisonfire are like a cult. They aren’t wildly popular and haven’t rode the wave of “popular screamo” like most bands have, but they have a fiercely passionate core of fans and two albums that match that intensity. After spending a few years on the Equal Vision roster, Alexis has jumped ships to one of the biggest independent labels ever, Vagrant, to release their third album, Crisis. Possessing one of the finest vocals talents in the scene, Dallas Green, Alexisonfire are looking to break into new ground. Incorporating three styles of vocals (from Green, George Pettit, and Wade MacNeil) with dual guitar work, Crisis is a bag full of mixed results. Throughout the eleven tracks, you’ll come across some songs that are good, some that are horrible, and a lot that sound like watered down versions from Watch Out!

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Review: Over It – Step Outside Yourself

Over It - Step Outside Yourself

The best way to describe Over It’s major label debut Step Outside Yourself is as a giant coming out party for everyone involved. The vocals are strong and impressive, the lyrics are poignant and refreshing, the guitars are predominately displayed, the bass is powerful, the drums blistering, and the production flawless. Every single aspect of this album is a step above everyone’s past work and in reaching this new plateau the album sits a step above their peers as well.

The time is ripe, the stage is set, and the curtains drawn. If there was ever a time when the phrase “the next big thing” was perfectly fitting – that time would be now.

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Review: Saosin – Saosin

Saosin - Saosin

There have been few inaugural full-length releases in the recent modern rock mire that could be considered anywhere near as “make or break” as Saosin’s self-titled Capitol Records debut. While it is largely indisputable that the band’s game-changing breakout EP, Translating the Name, was a high water mark in its own right, it had the benefit of making impressions without the complication of prior expectations and the proverbial “hype.” However, with the passage of time, the residual fame from that release has begun to wear thin after three long, empty years. A crappy (though supposedly wrongly-released) EP two years later did little to reinforce fence fans’ confidences, but a bevy of high-profile tours and festival appearances have kept the bottom from falling out on Saosin, despite the defection of one of the scene’s most prolific frontmen, and other lineup changes from the white EP’s revered roster.

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Interview: Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low

All Time Low

So I first off want to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to sit down and answer a few questions for us here at AbsolutePunk.net.

No problem at all, I’m excited to have the opportunity to sit down and answer some questions for you guys.

Can you introduce yourselves and tell us what you do in the band?

My name’s Alex Gaskarth and I sing and play guitar in the band All Time Low.

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Interview: Saosin

Saosin

On their recent headlining tour, I was lucky enough to be able to sit down with the guys of Saosin to talk about what has been going on with the band, talk about their new record, and get some answers to the questions everyone wants to ask. This is what they had to say…

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Review: Gatsbys American Dream – Gatsbys American Dream

Gatsbys American Dream - Gatsbys American Dream

Gatsbys American Dream’s new record reads something like an open letter to the music industry. It’s blunt, angry, and to the point. The disc might as well be a picture of a middle finger pointed directly at…well, you can put it together. The band’s 2006 follow-up to last year’s critically acclaimed release Volcano finds the band recreating their sound once again. The addition of keyboardist Kyle O’Quinn adds a new dynamic to the band, the production is far more raw, and backing vocals are now done by guitarist Bobby Darling and bass player Kirk Huffman instead of lead singer Nic Newsham. Nic’s vocals are far more aggressive on this record, as it conveys more raw emotion than ever before. Gatsbys seems to have completely strayed away from the slower, methodically technical side that popularized the band on 2003’s Ribbons and Sugar. Instead, this self-titled release offers up songs that are generally faster-paced and contain a groove vibe to them. Many of the songs flow with incredible bass lines and gang vocals that make this the most danceable Gatsbys record yet.

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Review: Hellogoodbye – Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!

Hellogoodbye - Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!

The only thing more nonexistent than dinosaurs, aliens, zombies, or vampires these past 3 years was the debut album from the happy go lucky California quartet, Hellogoodbye. A stolen laptop with demos and leadman Forrest Kline’s struggle with his A.D.D. lead to numerous delays that made fans impatient or, even worse, just plain giving up on the band. But, finally Hellogoodbye have emerged from the darkness to release their debut album, Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!!, through Drive Thru Records and what we get is a mixed bag of surprises, disappointments, cheesiness, and fun. Really though, should we really expect anything serious or groundbreaking with an album title like this and a band with a track history of goofiness like Hellogoodbye? I wouldn’t think so, and you would be wise to listen to this eleven-track album with an open mind and check your “scenester/elitist/holier-than-thou” attitude at the door. 

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Review: Gym Class Heroes – As Cruel As School Children

Gym Class Heroes - As Cruel As School Children

“Too rock for hip-hop, too hip-hop for rock,” has been the tagline for the upstate New York quartet, Gym Class Heroes. After name-dropping a who’s who of important scene bands in the catchy “Taxi Driver,” GCH developed a nice following, and after signing to Pete Wentz’s label, Decaydance, and releasing their heart-on-sleeve debut The Papercut Chronicles, people started paying attention, expectations began to build, and the Heroes began to worry: can we top Papercut? Fortunately, it is safe to say that their second album, As Cruel As School Children, not only surpasses their previous effort, but it is also going to serve as their launching pad into the big time. Produced by Sam Hollander and Patrick Stump,School Children’s fourteen track offering is heavy on the hip hop side this time around, yet still possesses that full band sound. Influenced more by frontman Travis McCoy’s obsession with 80’s R&B, GCH have added more depth to their lyrics and music on album two. 

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Review: Sufjan Stevens – The Avalanche

Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche

A little over a year ago, folk artist Sufjan Stevens released his critically acclaimed masterpiece, Illinois, an album that beautifully crafted folk, pop, and acoustic with a melody of different instruments which pleased the senses. A year later, he is one of the biggest indie buzz artists and is name-dropped by all sorts of music fans, whether they genuinely enjoy his music or just want some cred. To follow up the 22 songs that madeIllinois, Stevens has released a 21 track b-side album, titled The Avalanche. With 18 new tracks and 3 different versions of “Chicago,” this kind of effort displays how limitless the sky really is for Stevens. Don’t be fooled by the “Outtakes And Extras” tag this album displays on the cover, as this album features songs that are better than the majority of any artist’s best stuff these days.

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Review: The Format – Dog Problems

The Format - Dog Problems

At the proverbial heart of the record everything about this sophomore full-length is actualized in the form of one solitary line. Let me explain: Midway through the album sits the title track, “Dog Problems,” and midway through the song, the music gently wilts and Nate sings, “Can you hear me? Are you listening? This is the sound of my heart breaking and I hope it’s entertaining. Because for me, it’s a bitch. Was it worth it when you slept with him? Did you get it all out of your system?” If there was ever a defining moment in what is sure to become The Format’s opus, this is it.

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Review: All Time Low – Put Up or Shut Up

All Time Low - Put Up or Shut Up

Pop-punk never has been and never will be a genre to converge on innovation. Regardless of how much the purists, nostaligsts, and old-time Drive-Thru loyalists might argue for the accomplishments of their once-favorite acts, those days of novelty have since passed. With those claims already staked out, hordes of visitors have arrived in a quest to find their own stamp of land in this crowded settlement, doing so with an homage to their predecessors, but at the same time working to establish a proper identity in a sweet sound all their own.

A cursory glance through the latest offering from All Time LowPut Up or Shut Up, reveals an act that kowtows in such a style, with more than a passing resemblance to bands like Fall Out Boy, The Starting Line, and Cartel. In reality, however, that is an overly simplistic conclusion to reach. Sure, thematically, the band does not establish itself as a wholly disparate entity by any means, but that is not the name of the root game here, really. All Time Low most certainly gives the “what’s up?” head-nod to the scene heavyweights, but tosses in plenty of proprietary flair to earn due respect.

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Review: Rise Against – The Sufferer & The Witness

Rise Against - The Sufferer & The Witness

Rise Against has been a staple in the punk community since their Fat Wreck debut, The Unraveling, released in 2001. Since then, they’ve become Warped Tour heavyweights, signed to a major label, and have clawed their way into the hearts of many. Now, with the release of their fourth studio album (and the second off of Geffen), The Sufferer & The Witness, Rise Against (vocalist Tim McIlrath, bassist Joe Principe, guitarist Chris Chasse, and drummer Brandon Barnes) touches back on their roots while still progressing forward. Produced by their old friend, Bill Stevenson, Sufferer offers 13 tracks of some of the best songs Rise Against have ever written, as well as throwing us a few curveballs. 

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