Some of this album review will contains explicit language and partial nudity, proceed with caution!
Asking Alexandria, once a small band from East Yorkshire in England, now a massive metal band, are dominating the world.
Members from left to right:
Ben Bruce (lead guitar & backing vocals), Danny Worsnop (vocals, synths & programming), James Cassells (drums), Cameron Liddell (rhythm guitar) and Sam Bettley (Bass) make up the musical quintet that is known as Asking Alexandria.
In 2009, they released their debut album ‘Stand Up & Scream’ on their record label, Sumerian Records. This album propelled them to instant rock and roll fame, along with the sex, drugs and money. At this point in the music industry world, Asking Alexandria seemed to know what they were doing, and in some aspects, not so much. For example, they could play well live, connected with fans and did lots of interviews. On the other hand, the album itself, amazingly produced by the amazing metal producer, Joey Sturgis, but the songs names and song structures leaves a lot to be desired.
In 2011, their second album, ‘Reckless & Relentless’, was released. Trust me, what came along with that album was most defiantly reckless AND relentless. More drugs, more trouble and some pretty eccentric music videos filled with drugs, near nudity and booze, a lot of booze.
In 2013, along came their third album, ‘From Death to Destiny’. Along with the guitars getting heavier with each album, for example, the first album was in Drop D, the second, Drop C, and the third, Drop B, they style of songs where changing. Whereas the first two albums was classed as ‘Post-Hardcore’ (what you class that genre as, I’ll leave to you). ‘From Death to Destiny’ went more to heavier rock style, almost a stadium filler vibe of songs.
Two years after the release of ‘From Death to Destiny’, Danny Worsnop announced his departure from the band to focus on his other band, We Are Harlot, and his solo career.
The new singer was announced a few months later along with a new album. Denis Shaforostov (“Stoff” for short), was announced as the new lead singer for the band.
‘The Black’ was their forth studio album and the first to feature their new singer, Denis Stoff.
After the departure of Danny, the rest of the band was left angry, the lyrics on ‘The Black’ showed this, although the lyrics was rewritten several times after tempers flared several times.
This album reflects the issues in the band when Danny was the singer and moving on from him. This album as reflects and the new singers previous experiences in his old bands, and past relationships.
However, Denis’s time in the band was short-lived as after a huge tour, he disappeared. The rest of the band took it that he no longer wanted to be in the band after multiple attempts of trying to contact Denis to no avail.
That’s the first 4 albums briefly out of the way, let’s get to the main point of this review, their fifth album, ‘Asking Alexandria’.
Danny returned to the band after completing his solo ventures. The band and him set asides their differences to come together once again for the one reason they started the band, for the love of music.
As this blog is about their new album, I will breakdown each track, give my views on it, and compare my thoughts with other critics. So without further ado, here we go, 13 tracks, plus a secret bonus track.
- Alone In A Room – This song kicks off the album with a clean funky guitar riff. Lyrically, Danny Worsnop addressed that the lyrics follow on from his solo album. The song address’s that he locked himself away and was forced to confront himself and his issues even though it’s the last thing he wanted to do. The lyrics are very fitting to this. “All I needed was the last thing I wanted
To sit alone in a room and say it all out loud
Every moment, every second, every trespass
Every awful thing, every broken dream
A couple years back and forth with myself in a cage
Banging my head against the wall, tryna put words on a page
All I needed was the last thing I wanted
To be alone in a room, alone in a room” The song itself is a very bouncy song when it comes to the chorus, a stadium filler song if you will. The music video to this song is the first part of a three part story (there might more, but at this time, it’s a three part story).
- Into The Fire – This was the first song released in the run up to the album release. There is two different versions to this song. The full blown rock version with the heavy scream vocals, and also a radio friendly edit. This song faces the problems you have as a person. Going into the crazy dark places inside your own mind, digging it up, and try to come on top of it all as a better person, turning your bad points into good points. This song is the second instalment in the video series of this album. Apart from the points made above about this song, the music video can tell a different story, each to make up their own options. Personally, I think the music video represents how Danny Worsnop betrayed each band member for his own personal gain for his solo career. Again, each person to make up their own minds. You can watch the music video for ‘Into The Fire’ here:
- Hopelessly Hopeful – This song is about Danny re-joining the band again. The song is all about having blind faith in yourself, doing the right thing, and coming out the better person in the end. Again, this another great song, another stadium filler.
- Where Did It Go? – When you talk about influence what do you really mean? Where did the influence ACTUALLY come from? Think about it, when writing music, you have to have some sort of idea of what you want to sound like, am I right? It’s basically what this song is about. Referring back to Asking Alexandria old albums, when their first album was released and they got big, a lot of other bands started to sound like them. Again with their second album, and not surprisingly, their third album! This song is calling out the music industry and bands, and saying “Where DID it all go wrong?” If you ask me, this is song is how songwriting should be. Here’s a little extract from the song: “You’re all so fucking outrageous, I can’t take it
Motherfuckers more than a little complacent
Where did it go? Where did it go so wrong?
Just sit the fuck down, pay attention
There’s too much noise, for a second listen
Where did it go? Where did it go so wrong?”
- Rise Up – Personally, this song is one of my favourite from this album. The lyrics are very simplistic, but sometimes that’s all it takes to make a great song! This song seems to me that the Danny is singing about the darker side of your own thoughts, but rising up against the people keeping you down, and take control of your own life. Take a listen for yourself and make up your own minds. I’m not controlling you…
- When The Lights Come On – As a musician myself, this song is the pre drinks of a wild night out! This is song is all about being a musician. The song tells the story of just before you set foot on stage to perform, right before the spotlights are on you. If you’re not a live musician, it’s hard to describe, but imagine taking drugs (DON’T DO DRUGS BY THE WAY!), or been drunk. It’s a massive euphoric feeling. That’s what this song is, that’s what makes this song so great and relatable, this is a musicians life in a song.
- Under Denver – Do you believe in conspiracies? Have you ever heard of the Denver International Airport conspiracy? If not, it’s a very interesting read, here’s a link to read in your own time if you feel like reading up on it. (Denver International Airport Conspiracy Theory). If you ask me why Asking Alexandria wrote a song about a conspiracy theory, my reply would simply be because why not? That stuff is interesting to say the least! The song itself is very down and upbeat song in the same first ten seconds of listening! Here’s a short extract of lyrics from the song: “Children of the world, dream in peace
The fourth will watch over you
Sleep and you’ll know the truth
Children of the world, dream in peace
Here, rebuild in solitude
Under Denver calling you”
- Vultures – This is the only acoustic song on the album. It isn’t a proper metal album these days with at least one acoustic song somewhere on there! Going back to the three part story, this is the third and final music video in the story (so far anyways). This song is all about the corruption of the music industry, and all it stands for, which is money. Sure, money makes the world go round and pays bills, but when bands are pushed so far, forced to do drink, drugs and sex just to cope with the amount of stress, that’s when you ask yourself, is music really worth it? And that’s what this song is about, the corruption of the big bosses in the music industry, aka, vultures. The music video is very fitting to what the song is about. The music video is in a storybook graphics, which is very new to me, or at least haven’t seen it since first seeing Aha’s Take Me On.
- Eve – This song was first teased just as Danny was announced back in the band. This song talks about dealing with your problems with more problems, such as drink and drugs. It’s like having the devil on your shoulder telling you to reach for the booze, go get them drugs, push your problems down. If you’re familiar with the tale of the snake in the Garden of Eden, telling Eve to take the apple and tear down the walls of the Eden, you’ll get where the song is going and what it’s about, hence the name, Eve.
- I Am One – This song address being the king of ones self. From going to nothing to everything in life, only from doing it yourself without the help and guidance. Personally, I can relate, but at the end of the day, I can find this song to be about egotism. Basically, my ego is bigger than yours kind of thing.
- Empire (feat. Bingx) – Although this isn’t the first time Asking Alexandria has had guest artists on their albums, this is the first time they’ve had an underground rapper on their album. Originally wanting a bigger rapper such as Machine Gun Kelly (MGK for short) they couldn’t book him, so the band wanted to give an underground name a shot. This song is basically having friends who come and go, friend who were once humble, are not so humble anymore and too famous to keep in touch with the people who helped them get there and supported them. In other words, another call out song to ex friends. Remember, it’s always good to stay humble.
- Room 138 – This has got to be my all time favourite tracks on the album, only because it’s so relatable to me on a personal level. This song covers the dark times of Danny’s life when he was on drugs. Sat in a hotel room, room 138 to be exact, hence the song title, and so high on drugs he overdosed. Thinking he was going to die, he phoned an ex-girlfriend to come and save him slipping into the light. Again, this has to be the most hard hitting songs and most personal songs on the album.
- Into The Fire (Radio Edit) & Hidden Track (Explict) – As mentioned before about this song, the only difference between the two is that the breakdown has been taken out to make it more radio friendly. However, on the CD version of this song, there is a secret hidden track called ‘Explicit’. This song is basically a joke song and nothing more. The lyrics are a bunch of nonsense of Danny just running his mouth talking school yard insults. Amusing and brilliant to me personally, very hard metal too. Pick up the CD and listen to it, or here’s an uploaded version sourced from the CD.
My overall opinion of the album, is that although it’s not my favourite album, it’s definitely one of my favourite albums! The lyrics are very meaningful and powerful unlike a lot of modern music. The synths and programming in the album and brilliantly done, round of applause for producer Matt Good. The guitars and drums in the album rather support the narrative of the album rather than a musical album. Danny is leading this album, and rightly so. This is his comeback to Asking Alexandria and to save metal music from running into the ground. A big middle fingers up to the music industry bosses, sorry, I meant Vultures.
That’s my opinion of this album, but I want to compare my thoughts with other critics thoughts.
Luke Nuttall gave the album a 6 out of 10 for the album in his review on The Sound Board Reviews. Luke writes how some songs are sloppy and the band are in over their heads. However, some songs are excellent written whether this is a fluke from the band he does not know.
I think Luke has a good point about the album, given the time frame the band had to write the album. I can’t be biased but I feel slightly again’t what Luke says given that he gave the album a 6 out of 10 but says the good songs are only flukes? Make up your mind Luke.
Taylor Markarian, from Alternative Press, said that the album is a massive change up from their very first album. Asking Alexandria is not the metal-core band they once were. He states that although some songs are more popular than others, it’s a very engaging listen of an album.
I agree with Taylor on this one, but I mean which band doesn’t have album that some songs are more popular with listeners than others? You can read his short review here on Alternative Press.
I can see where Merlin is coming from, and upon listening to the song again, I agree.
Thanks for reading. If you have any comments or thoughts on the album, leave a comment!