In the category of metalcore bands that leave no one indifferent – you either hate it or love it -, we call for Asking Alexandria! That’s how we could have started the review of an album of the British quintet five years ago. Since then, water has flowed under the bridge and Danny Worsnop’s band has changed a lot. In the middle of the Covid-19 crisis, they release their sixth studio album in 12 years. Let’s find out what it’s all about!
First of all, let’s recall some important facts: in 2015, Danny Worsnop, the band’s original singer, left the band before returning two years later. In the meantime, Asking Alexandria released a new album with a different singer and, apart from perhaps the track I won’t Give In, this record is to be forgotten, as is the poor quality of the live performances at the time. On the other hand, Danny was able to confirm in the studio his love for hard rock and bands like Aerosmith, Def Leppard or Mötley Crüe (this is an important detail to note for this review). And on their (in-)expected return in 2017, Asking Alexandria released a fifth album that was much more rock than metalcore, showing the band’s willingness to broaden their musical horizon but still floundering. Result: a second album in a row that is good to forget and that reminds us with nostalgia how much the band performed when they were doing metalcore from 2008 to 2013. As a result, it was normal to have low expectations for this record and to almost go unnoticed. Who would have thought it in 2013 when they filled the famous Brixton Academy in London in front of 5000 people!
The album starts off strong with the single House On Fire, which was released only 4 days before its official release on the album. And it sets the tone straight away! Without being exceptional, this good appetizer quickly makes us nod our heads and its chorus quickly stays in our heads. And listening to the next two tracks confirms an impression left with the opening track: this punchy rhythmic supporting Danny Worsnop’s vocals with very few screams reminds us of The Used and Set It Off. And Antisocialist, the 4th single at the beginning of the album, seems blander than when we heard it with its video on YouTube. A lot of good ideas, but it already sounds reheated. It’s a shame.
We have to wait for the fifth track to finally discover some new songs. And it’s a ballad that offers itself to us with a featuring of Grace Grundy, a young British singer who became known thanks to her covers of pop hits, Happier by Ed Sheeran for example. It’s a good thing, because it’s precisely him that these first piano notes remind us of. It sounds good, it’s pleasant to listen to, and you can already imagine the crowd lighting up the room and singing the chorus. But let’s face it: it doesn’t break a leg.
This sixth studio effort by the English is the longest they’ve released: 15 songs. And it’s sad to find the time already halfway through. All Due Respect and Take Some Time are to be forgotten. Ones Turns To One is seen and seen again. It’s Not Me (It’s You) wouldn’t sound good on a Fall Out Boy album. The closer we get to the end of the album, we hear that Asking Alexandria tried to do well, to reinvent themselves and also to follow the trend: Give You Up sounds like a failed attempt to do Bring Me The Horizon version “Amo”. Placed as the penultimate track, the single The Violence is not that violent. Big rock riffs, of course, but nothing more.
This album started well but quickly ran out of steam. Asking Alexandria has definitely turned the page on metalcore and we don’t blame them: most of the big names in metalcore have evolved musically to avoid going in circles, with some success (Parkway Drive, Bring Me The Horizon). But Asking Alexandria didn’t make it, and we think back with nostalgia to the band’s hits from ten years ago. Danny Worsnop should find some real rock musicians to exploit his vocal talents, which are widely featured on this album. And Asking Alexandria should be content with anniversary tours of their first 3 records.