Alexisonfire (pronounced "Alexis on fire", not "Alex is on fire"note ) is a Post-Hardcore band from St. Catharines, Ontario, formed in 2001. The band is named after Alexis Fire, the world's only lactating contortionist stripper (yes, really).
Their style, described by the band as "the sound of two Catholic high-school girls in mid-knife-fight" (an image that is actually depicted on the cover of their debut Self-Titled Album), featured stark contrasts between soaring melody and brutality, through the interplay between three singers. Their self-titled debut is considered a landmark of its genre and their other three albums went platinum in Canada.
The band broke up in 2011 as singer/guitarists Dallas Green and Wade MacNeil left to focus on their side projects, as well as due to "personal issues". Despite George Pettit's initial statements to the contrary, however, the band seemed to have parted ways on more or less amicable terms after embarking on a farewell tour between 2011 and 2012.
Dallas Green began his side project City and Colour while he was still with the band, and is now focusing on it as his primary musical project. Wade MacNeil also began his own side project Black Lungs while still with the band, before being invited to be the vocalist for the UK hardcore band Gallows after its lead vocalist parted ways with the band over creative differences.
In March of 2015, the band announced that they were reuniting and would play a short run of shows across Britain, Canada, and the United States. They continued playing shows between then and 2019, when they released their first single in almost nine years, "Familiar Drugs". Further touring ensued alongside the release of two more singles; their first album of new studio material in 13 years, Otherness, was released in summer 2022.
- George Pettit - lead vocals
- Wade MacNeil - guitar, vocals
- Dallas Green - guitar, vocals
- Chris Steele - bass
- Jordan Hastings - drums
- Jesse Ingelevics - drums (2001-2005)
- Alexisonfire (2002)
- Watch Out! (2004)
- Crisis (2006)
- Old Crows/Young Cardinals (2009)
- Otherness (2022)
This band provides examples of the following tropes:
- Audience Participation Song: In concert, George often turned the second chorus of "We Are The Sound" into a call-and-response of "We are the sound!" "We are the sound!" "We have no voice!" "We have no voice!"
- Breakup Breakout: Dallas has achieved great success with his solo project, City and Colour.
- Careful with That Axe: Especially notable in the video for "Young Cardinals", filmed on a tour boat at Niagara Falls. At the very end the audience is treated to a shot of Wade pouring water out of his guitar.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: "Kennedy Curse" from their first album features George singing a brief part in the last minute or so of the song in a death metal-style growl, a vocal technique employed in no other song of the band's discography.
- Fan Disservice: Please, George, keep your shirt on when you sing! To wit, George doesn't exactly cut a chiseled figure (he's buff but his musculature isn't readily apparent), and has a Carpet of Virility. Some fans consider him very physically appealing, others don't.
- Growing Up Sucks: A major theme of "Thrones".
- Hidden Depths: According to this interview, George is a master cobbler—he can make shoes, although this is likely just a joking reference to Daniel Day-Lewis doing the same. Since the band's breakup he has also began training as a firefighter.
- Mundane Made Awesome: "Hey, It's Your Funeral Mama" is probably the most hardcore song ever written about go-karting.
- Named After Somebody Famous: Dallas Green, named after the baseball pitcher/manager of the same name. His father had bet on the Philadelphia Phillies to win the World Series in 1980, and decided to name Dallas after the Phillies' manager after they won.
- New Sound Album:
- Old Crows/Young Cardinals has a much more evident punk and classic rock influence than their previous albums. It's also more melodic and replaces much of the screaming with a raspy singing voice.
- Not an album, but the Dog's Blood EP, while retaining their core sound, is much rawer, heavier and more expansive than their LPs, and a look at What Could Have Been if the band hadn't broken up.
- On the other end of the spectrum, the Death Letter EP contains much gentler, acoustic versions of six songs.
- Ode to Sobriety: "White Devil" can be interpreted as one, discussing the band members' experiences of seeing friends use cocaine.
- Protest Song: "Sons Of Privilege" and "Midnight Regulations" against the socioeconomic elite keeping the masses down, and "My God Is A Reasonable Man" and "Accept Crime" against Moral Guardians.
- Self-Harm: "No Transitory", where a part of George's lyrics declares a knife to be his "most important appendage", strongly implies this.
- Soprano and Gravel: a triple-male variant, with George providing the gruff, mostly screamy vocals, Dallas the melodic singing, and Wade being sort of in-between with a punk yell.
- The cover of Watch Out! and the lyrics to "That Girl Possessed" are nods to The Exorcist.
- Much of Watch Out's track list is based on short stories by Kurt Vonnegut: "Happiness by the Kilowatt" is based on The Euphio Question, "It Was Fear of Myself That Made Me Odd" is based on Report on the Barnhouse Effect, and "No Transitory" is based on Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.
- The bonus track "Wayfarer Youth" from Old Crows/Young Cardinals has the line "It's time to leave your landlord swinging from the entry", likely a shout-out to Dead Kennedys' "Let's Lynch the Landlord".
- Sugar-and-Ice Personality: "Adelleda".You had the coldest eyes and the softest touch
- Surprisingly Gentle Song:
- "Side Walk When She Walks", which is a relaxed song sung entirely by Dallas, with no screaming or heavy guitars excepting the chorus.
- "Burial" is also entirely scream-free.
- To a lesser extent, both "You Burn First" and "The Northern", while on the heavier side, contain less screaming than most of the band's other songs—"You Burn First" near the end, and "The Northern" in the choruses.
- "Rough Hands" is slightly more abrasive, but the lyrics are that of a thoughtful love song. Yes, that includes George's screamed vocals.
- Take That!:
- "Keep It On Wax" is one, long "fuck you" to their first drummer, Jesse Ingelevics, for trash-talking the band after he left.
- "My God Is A Reasonable Man" disparages all the Moral Guardians who try to shove their faith down other people's throats.
- "Accept Crime" is a less harsh but still righteously rebellious song against heteronormative crusaders for trying to dictate constraining sexual norms.
- "Sons Of Privilege" portrays America as a land of powerful old money dominated by a small elite class masquerading as a land of opportunity, and protests this hypocrisy.
- The Problem with Pen Island: The band name can by read several different ways. People on YouTube are constantly asking if it's pronounced "Alex is on fire" (it's not).
- Vocal Evolution: While Dallas's vocals were never sub-par, his singing voice on Alexisonfire does not seem as rounded as it does in the band's subsequent albums. George's screams also sounded more frantic in the first album before becoming more grounded and enunciated. Dallas credits this development to producer Julius Butty, who began working with the band as they recorded Watch Out!.