ASKING ALEXANDRIA are back with their seventh studio album, a short eighteen months (give or take) after their most recent release, Like A House On Fire, which, to my understanding, received mixed reviews.
Having heard of ASKING ALEXANDRIA, but never having listened to them myself, I was excited by the opportunity to finally have an excuse to dip my toes in the water and I have not been disappointed! After seeing their names on festival line-ups, tour posters etc. I have always presumed they must be pretty popular, I have just never got round to trying them out for myself.
The record opens up with Alone Again, which begins in very dramatic fashion. The intro paints a dark and moody picture which will be present throughout the entire record. Danny Worsnop, who I believe has had troubles with his vocal chords over the years, really displays his talent in this track. At present, I have nothing to compare his vocals to but they sound top-notch here! A solid opening track which had me headbanging along.
Faded Out follows with more of that same headbanging goodness. It almost feels formulaic but it works for me so I am not complaining! I am a big fan of the rap-rock verse towards the end of the track ending with the lyrics ‘time to catch my breath’ followed by a break in the music and heavy breathing before the outro kicks back in. The third track, Never Gonna Learn slows the pace of the record. A catchy chorus accompanied by catchy guitar riffs create the perfect sing-along track for the album.
Next up is If I Could Erase It and this track literally screams LINKIN PARK’s Hybrid Theory. Quite possibly my favourite track of the record it is heavy in all the right places and is very reminiscent of the aforementioned LINKIN PARK album that I adore. The peaceful intro of Find Myself is an enjoyable experience which ultimately leads into more headbanging goodness that I have come to expect from the record at this point.
Into the second half of the album, You’ve Made It This Far has an intro that reminded me of BRING ME THE HORIZON’s material in recent years. At this point in the record, it has become very apparent that ASKING ALEXANDRIA are very comfortable in wearing their influences on their sleeve!
The title track adds a touch of blues into the mix with the intro. Another catch riff that encourages you to grab your air guitar. Misery Loves Company is probably the most disappointment I have experienced through the record. The intro teases a heavier, more explosive track, which ultimately isn’t delivered.
Not as explosive as I would’ve hoped but the penultimate track Fame comes close. In comparison to the other tracks on the record, the aggression is clearly present in the vocals. To me, this track gives the impression that they decided to ‘let their hair down’ here. It doesn’t follow the same formula as the rest of the album. After hearing this track, I would’ve liked to have heard more of this scattered throughout the record.
The final track, The Grey, follows suit in tone with the other tracks of the record (excluding Fame). Another fine example of their quality musicianship and a solid closing track.
I very much enjoyed this record. There is not a bad track in sight but (there’s always a ‘but’) I feel like they have made a record they think people want to hear. I am in no way qualified to make these assumptions, as I have not heard any of their other material, but it feels like it was made to be played on the radio to be a financial success.
Words: Jack Andrews