ALBUM: Asking Alexandria – Stepped Up And Scratched

Release Date: November 21st, 2011
Label: Sumerian Records


It’s been a long time in coming, yet slowly but surely the dubstepification of metal is starting to take effect. With the opinion dividing news of KoRn‘s collaboration with dubstep darling Skrillex, remix success from Bring Me The Horizon and the ongoing mesh of styles from the likes of Enter Shikari, it is envitable that a host of purists will cry foul at this seeming dilution of the scene. Although, ultimately what we are seeing is evidence of metals established willingness to evolve and adapt. If bands had ever taken notice of these narrow minded die-hards, alternative music would have been dead long ago. It also helps that, when done right, dubstep can be some of the gnarliest, elephant bollock heavy music this side of death metal.

Asking Alexandria seem to be the perfect band to subject these electronic re-imaginings on. Already featuring some subtle dance elements, the Yorkshire quartet’s popularity has sky rocketted since their 2006 inception (thanks in no small part to their seemingly simple cracking of America), and their beatdown laden metalcore sees ‘Stepped Up And Scratched’ succeed because, like the band themselves, the foundation of the song remains the traditional instrumentation for the most part, with the remix facets building on the structure and not altering it beyond recognition. Indeed, when listening to Celldwellers hyperactive take on ‘A Lesson Never Learned’, the crushing weight of the guitars remain still very much in the forefront, making for some devastating drops, whilst the songs mammoth chorus is left relatively unspoiled, retaining a simple melodious mood amoungst the juddering electronic florishes.

It’s interesting how these elements of the band’s sound makes for such a seemless reworking of their material. Tomba treats us to a filthy version of ‘Another Bottle Down’ which soars as much as it bruises, ‘A Single Moment Of Sincerity’ is an undeniably catchy slow burner, bobbing satisfactorily towards its exceedingly danceable outro, and Bares‘To The Stage’ rattles along with a building levelling intensity.

‘Stepped Up And Scratched’, for all its musical merit, is clearly a cash in release. But, with such interesting and entertaining results, even the most cynical of us would have to admit that the album not only provides us with something fresh and invigorating, but also may give a fresh perspective to those which may have not have been convinced on the virtue or worth of either dubstep or metal. Looking at things this way, Asking Alexandria‘s branching out can only be a good thing, no matter how much the more dogmatic and obstinate of us might scoff.

Written by Tony Bliss