It’s safe to say that it’s been a turbulent few years for the Asking Alexandria boys. When long-time lead vocalist Danny Worsnop departed in 2015 it seemed like his days singing for the Yorkshire five-piece were over for good. A very public falling out lead to Denis Stoff of Make Me Famous taking over lead vocals, while Worsnop trod along down a new avenue of more straightforward hard rock in the form of We Are Harlot and later went solo with his solo folk project.
While this inspired some pretty good music from both camps, it was clear from the beginning that these guys belong together making music. Stoff only lasted one album and while Worsnop’s ventures outside of Asking Alexandria showed his diversity as an artist, the demand for a reunion by a dedicated fan base was overwhelming. When it became public knowledge that the two parties were once again on amicable terms, it seemed a formality that the band as we all knew them before would once again exist. It’s a good thing too because their self-titled album, due out December 15th 2017 is some of their most accomplished work.
Straight off the bat you can tell the band have realigned their focus and paid attention to the modern rock scene they find themselves in as this album borrows extensively from some of the leaders of the current crop such as Bring Me The Horizon and PVRIS. Alone in a room is exemplary of this, with atmospheric synths complimenting heavy chugging guitars. Lead single Into The Fire, co-produced by Korn’s Jonathan Davis, presents a reintroduction of sorts to a band looking to reinvent itself and not be seen as a one-trick pony. The results are surprisingly good.
Hopelessly Hopeful solidifies the drastic change the band have undertaken, at times reminiscent of Don Broco. It’s safe to say anyone expecting a return to the Reckless and Relentless era sound is going to be in for a shock. Rise Up throws a bone, but really the band have sought to make a statement that those days are behind them with Where Did It Go? resuming the new sound Asking Alexandria are carving out for themselves.
When the Lights Come On features the recording of an actual live crowd and will certainly be one for crowds to howl along to as it is catchy as it bold. Its glitch-like samples further showcase some stellar production work and complement the musicianship. Under Denver and the acoustic-driven Vultures showcase Danny Worsnop’s range as a vocalist, often hitting complex high notes and bringing a taste of his solo work in to the band, giving the music a very refreshed feel. And in what is really the only trip down memory lane, and the only song which would have fit on one of their previous albums, Eve, he shows he can still scream his lungs out too.
I Am One is the latest anthem containing a chorus with punk rock drive and thumping drums accompanied with orchestral synths. Definitely one that will go down great live. Then in an album full of surprises, undoubtedly the biggest one appears on the penultimate track Empire which features Seattle-based Hip-Hop artist Bingx in a very Linkin Park-inspired track. By this point the listener is wondering who these guys are and if the real Asking Alexandria are locked in a dungeon somewhere. Room 138 closes the album in suitable fashion, clashing all the styles they’ve experimented with during the duration of the record and serving up a nice epilogue to leave us keen for more.
Really this sounds like an album written by a band who are thrilled to be back making music together. That said, this is not the same band we have become accustomed to. The harsh Metalcore style scream-driven sound of old has taken a backseat to a more refined, mature brand of wonderfully produced heavy rock. It’s an album of anthem after anthem. Each one more epic than the last. I have to say I was astonished by this album and by just how daring the band have been. They say that fortune favors the bold and I firmly believe Asking Alexandria’s latest album is the epitome of such sentiment. They are completely redefining themselves and taking their careers in a whole new direction and while old school fans may disagree, I firmly believe they are on to a winner here.