Asking Alexandria seem to have moved beyond their turbulent past, with ‘Like A House On Fire’ being their second album since frontman Danny Worsnop‘s return to the band.
Following on from their 2017 self-titled album, a record that leaned closer to radio rock rather than the band’s more metalcore-leaning previous efforts, their sixth album hones in on this much more.
‘House On Fire’ and ‘They Don’t What We Want (And They Don’t Care)’ both feature big riffs and strong choruses. It’s clear this is a different band compared to their earlier days, and the similarities to latter day Fall Out Boy are also noticeable from the get-go. Even if it’s done within certain confines, it’s a decent enough start.
But, unfortunately, the opening two tracks are as good as it gets here. What becomes more and more obvious as the record goes on is that this album rarely moves away from its formula, and everything begins to blend into one.
‘Down To Hell’ again holds a good enough chorus, but the overly-compressed production, particularly with the vocals and Worsnop‘s semi-rapped delivery, feels a little bit incongruous.
‘Antisocialist’ is also indicative of the band using the most obvious reference points. Parts of this song are obviously inspired by Bring Me The Horizon‘s latest album, ‘amo’, which isn’t a bad thing on principle, but when there are hundreds of bands also trying this, what’s the point?
And ‘I Don’t Need You’ is a particular weak point. From the musical canvas to the lyrics like “I’m gonna get through this / I’ll find a light in the darkness,” everything about this is clichéd.
‘One Turns To None’ continues to showcase how much of this record blends in rather than stands out. It’s also arguable that, bar helping to commercialise metalcore with catchy hooks and edge-lord one-liners in their earlier days, Asking Alexandria have sadly never really had a distinct identity of their own.
‘Give You Up’ has a flat-sounding EDM verse, and sounds very similar to Fall Out Boy‘s 2013 hit ‘My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light ‘Em Up)’, but with an even lazier chorus.
In a slight turn of direction, ‘The Violence’ feels very much like an attempt to be heavy, but there’s a number of production misfires present again. On top of the vocals being over-produced, the compression is so intense that it becomes a little jarring.
The personal, auto-biographical lyrical narratives that appear in ‘What’s Gonna Be’ and ‘Lorazepam’ at least make you root for them personally; some couplets are certainly believable if you know anything about Worsnop and Asking Alexandria‘s turbulent history. Still, these songs sum up the album as a whole – you want to back them, but the music is largely unconvincing.
Asking Alexandria deserve credit for having confidence in their abilities that doesn’t cross over into arrogance, but ‘Like A House On Fire’ is a largely generic and forgettable effort.