Alexisonfire. Post-hardcore band, formed in 2001 in St. Catharines, Ontario and originally consisting of vocalist George Pettit, guitarist and vocalist Dallas Green, guitarist Wade MacNeil, bassist Christopher Steele and drummer Jesse Ingelevics. In 2005, Ingelevics was replaced by Jordan Hastings. The band was active until the December 2012 when, after a farewell tour, it disbanded.
Alexisonfire’s musical style juxtaposed the speed and abrasiveness of hardcore punk with melodic elements found in rock. The diverse use of vocals was often cited as a notable feature. Lead vocalist Pettit and guitarist/vocalist Green used various styles of singing and screaming to achieve a distinctive sound. The later addition of MacNeil as an occasional backup vocalist further enhanced this characteristic.
All the members had been performing in St. Catharines area bands for sometime before Alexisonfire formed in late 2001. Dallas Green was a vocalist and guitarist for a group called Helicon Blue, George Pettit was a bassist for metal band Condemning Salem, while Christopher Steele and Wade MacNeil both formed part of the punk group Plan 9 and later After the Hollowed Moment. Many of these groups disbanded around the same time, leading to Alexisonfire’s creation.
The band recorded its first EP, Math Sheet Demos, in 2002. The recording caught the attention of the newly formed independent label Distort Entertainment. The Toronto-based hardcore label released Alexisonfire’s debut, self-titled album as one of its inaugural releases in the fall of 2002. Despite little radio airplay or advertising, the band quickly became influential in the scene and saw relatively good sales. Word-of-mouth and rigorous touring in North America largely contributed to the band’s early success and earned it an American record deal with Equal Vision Records which re-released the debut album in September 2003.
Alexisonfire continued to tour North America and expanded overseas with multiple trips to the United Kingdom in 2004. Despite garnering substantial attention with its first album, the band decided to remain with Distort Entertainment in Canada and recorded a second album in Hamilton, Ontario. Distort released Watch Out! in June 2004 while Equal Vision released its own pressing in the United States. The album debuted at number six in Canada and received gold certification in September 2004, and that success eventually pushed sales of the band’s debut album over the gold threshold. Alexisonfire closed the year with performances in Japan, Australia and another United Kingdom tour.
Now with strong support from MuchMusic, specifically an endorsement from then-VJ George Stroumboulopoulos, Alexisonfire’s music videos saw heavy rotation. The band’s video “Pulmonary Archery” reached No. 1 on MuchMusic’s “Powershift” top 30 and subsequently won a Canadian Independent Music Award for Best Video in 2004. Further recognition came in 2005 when Alexisonfire won a Juno for New Group of the Year and its video “Accidents” won a MuchMusic Video Award for Best Independent Video. The band continued to tour both North America and the United Kingdom and ventured further into western Europe.
Alexisonfire released its third album, Crisis, in August 2006, this time with another new Canadian independent label, Dine Alone Records. The album debuted at number #1 and sold over 20,000 copies in the first week. It went on to receive platinum certification in May 2007, shortly after sales of Watch Out! also reached the platinum level. The band continued to receive recognition, especially for its videos as the song “This Could Be Anywhere in the World” gained them a second MuchMusic Video Award for Best Cinematography.
In early 2009 Alexisonfire began recording its next studio album. The group signed with Dine Alone Records and released Old Crows/Young Cardinals in June. The album obtained gold certification only a few weeks after its release and received a Juno nomination for Rock Album of the Year.
In 2010 Dallas Green informed the rest of the band that he would be leaving to focus on his other project, City and Colour, after the touring cycle for Old Crows/Young Cardinals. With that knowledge, Alexisonfire worked to complete a new EP titled Dog’s Blood. Released by Dine Alone Records, it featured four songs in a more experimental style than previous work. The band toured that autumn in Australia, Japan, Europe and Canada, finishing in St. Catharines in December.
With the loss of Green still not made public, the remaining members began writing their next full length album in early 2011. However, during the summer, Wade MacNeil accepted an offer to join British hardcore band Gallows as lead vocalist, further straining the rest of Alexisonfire who felt that the loss of two members was too much. In August, the band formally announced its breakup.
After almost a year of inactivity, Alexisonfire announced a farewell tour to coincide with its ten-year anniversary. The tour took them to England, Brazil, Australia and across Canada, closing at the Copps Coliseum in Hamilton.