Asking Alexandria‘s history has had more drama than the Christmas special of Eastenders. Hailing from North Yorkshire, they’ve undergone numerous line-up changes, and subsequent heavy media coverage speculating on in band feuds since forming back in 2008. They now have original vocalist Danny Worsnop back on board, and are boldly releasing a self-titled album nine years into their career – a move suggesting this is the work by which they would like to be defined.
Before, they certainly divided opinion, and it may please those who loathed them to learn that they’re now exploring an entirely new sound. Unfortunately, that sound seems to be forgettable, white-bread stadium rock.
Jerky opener ‘Alone In A Room’ leads the pack, and it’s instantly evident that this is nothing like the Asking Alexandria you’ve heard before. The chorus does pack a punch, with a strong melody, but the crooned verses are jarring and just don’t flow. Everything is very overproduced and synth-laden, and more than a little cringey. It feels like a Bring Me The Horizon cast off.
‘Rise Up’ is incredibly repetitive; you’ll lose count of just how many times Worsnop screams “I will take back control”, but it carries a feeling of palpable defiance that makes it one of the more memorable moments on the album. The band get a little bit poppy on ‘When The Lights Come On’, which might liven things up a bit if it wasn’t through a haze of recycled riffs and bland lyrics.
Things get a bit more interesting on ‘I Am One’, which is a full pelt rock anthem just begging to be screamed back by a festival crowd, and it seems like the album may be looking up, before the entirely unnecessary rap on ‘Empire’ completely ruins proceedings.
There’s absolutely no doubt that Worsnop has some serious pipes, and he doesn’t hesitate to put them on show, especially on token acoustic track, ‘Vultures’, but even his incredible vocal chops can’t save this record from feeling clinical and tired. There are some occasional flashes of brilliance – the hook of lead single ‘Into The Fire’ will have you humming along whether you like it or not – but they’re few and far between, and overshadowed by genericness.
It’s obvious that Asking Alexandria are really trying to reinvent themselves, perhaps in response to the severe backlash that they’ve received in previous years. But, at least then they had a defined, polished sound built on a solid foundation. Now, that foundation feels very rickety, and frankly, just a bit of a mess.
Written by Lottie Cook (@pixelottie)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989. | Aspiring freelance pizza eater.