Review Summary: Asking Alexandria put out a fantastic album that really should have silenced the naysayers.
Asking Alexandria are just one of those bands that almost everyone aside from the "scene kids" love to absolutely despise. It may be their overly emotional lyrics, chuggy guitar work or overly simplistic drumming, or perhaps their fascination with dance and synth sections that turn people off. This band has to date put out three albums, with a fourth one on its way, and all of which have received very bad critical response and have alienated many people for the same reasons that are always cited. Their songs lack any real ingenuity and the structures are always the same verse-chorus nonsense that almost every band has done ever. The thing is, however, that for once Moreira is right and Stand Up And Scream is indeed worthy of a 4.5 for the simple fact that it is addictive.
This album is not an album that aims to break any boundaries with super technical guitar work or song structures that would have King Crimson shaking like Michael J Fox. What it IS is a very catchy album with some solid instrumentation that does what it aims to do-get your head moving, with some great vocal work. The guitarists primarily use open strings, with the odd power chord thrown in for good measure and this lays down a heavy foundation that ensures you can head bang to it, whilst the drums just thunder ahead at a decent pace. There are a lot of breakdowns in this album, as with many metalcore bands, and they are handled rather well, usually being placed so as to capitalize on a particularly strong vocal passage or line. Some tracks, such as A CandleLit Dinner With Inamorta, have some fantastic synth sections that break up the flow of the songs and give it a bit of variety to it. Hey There Mr Brooks has a couple of awesome drum rolls that break things up, and some cool high pitched guitar work during the chorus that helps to make it stand out a little, and the riff that follows is surprisingly fast for this band and really hits hard. Tracks like these really show off that the band DOES possess talent and musical knowledge despite what many will have you believe.
This is an album where the production also adds a whole lot to it. This is not overproduced nonsense as with most metalcore albums of today such as the average Bullet For My valentine album. Instead, the guitars have thick and heavy tones and every instrument except the bass is mixed perfectly (who gives a *** about the bass in a metalcore album anyway). The vocals are nicely placed at the front of everything so everyone can hear the sexy as hell clean singing and aggressive screams and growls throughout. A Single Moment Of Sincerity is probably the best track to show off the vocal talent here, with some nice dual-layered vocals at times and well performed low growls. This song also has some pretty cool lead work during one of the (many breakdowns) and some amazing high pitched shrieks that sound like a cumming banshee. The lyrics to this album give it a lot to brag about as well, with some really emotional lyrics that should jump out at the listener and start to tug on your heart strings. Do not miss this album.