Asking Alexandria
The Black


3.5
great

Review

by William21 USER (16 Reviews)
March 25th, 2016 | 40 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Unlike some of their peers, Asking Alexandria decides to mostly stick to their heavier roots, and it works out well for them.

Asking Alexandria has had a bit of an interesting career. They started off as sort of a twin to Attack Attack and The Devil Wears Prada, then graduated to a colossal assault of metalcore on their second album before scaling back the aggressiveness on their third album for a sort-of-hard-rock-but-still-metal sound--and also upping the maturity on the lyrics, a relief for many. And then their singer left, which made me wonder if this band would survive such a huge change.

I still wasn't exactly impressed when the first song with their new singer Denis Stoff came out ("I Won't Give In"). It's a song I've heard too many times--both literally and figuratively. It was overplayed on rock radio, and it's such a formulaic and cliched song lyrically and musically that so many metal bands have done in the last two years (Of Mice & Men, primarily). So up until more recently when more singles started getting released, my expectations were very low.

But now that I've heard the whole album, I must admit that I'm pleasantly surprised with the final result. For this album, they mostly go back to their metalcore sound (closer to Reckless & Relentless than anything); songs like "Let It Sleep," "The Black," "Sometimes It Ends," "We'll Be OK," and "Undivided" are typical AA heavy metal fare. For the most part, the sound of From Death to Destiny has been abandoned; very occasionally some hints creep in, but are really only noticeable if you're looking for them. As for Denis Stoff himself, he's actually a very good lead vocalist with quite a bit of range on both singing and screaming. He can go from super high-pitched cleans ("Send Me Home") to lower-pitched demonic screams/growls ("Let It Sleep").

There are quite a few good songs on this album. The first two songs on the album are some of the best the album has to offer; "Let It Sleep" brings back the heaviness of "Morte et Dabo," while "The Black" offers Denis a chance to showcase his screams and singing behind heavy verses, a strong chorus and a surprisingly amazing softer climax. "Lost Souls" is another album highlight, carrying a very creepy tone and good vocals from Denis behind it. "Just a Slave to Rock N' Roll" has rather ridiculous lyrics, but has a strong rhythm (even carrying some cowbell) and heavy enough music that it's easily overlooked. "Sometimes It Ends" and "Circled By the Wolves" aren't particularly anything new, but they showcase AA excelling at colossal metalcore, so they're also highlights.

The album still has its moments that don't hold up as well. Unfortunately, AA decides to experiment around a bit with rock ballads a couple times. "I Won't Give In" was already mentioned; there's also "Here I Am," which is okay at first but then runs out of steam by the end; then there's "Send Me Home," which is a misguided attempt at being a sentimental ready-for-radio song, but falls flat on its face. (The piano-driven "Gone" is much better.) Other problems revolve around the lyrics, which had actually matured on their last album with Danny Worsnop, but now have regressed again on this album. Some songs fare better than others ("The Black" is fine on the lyrical front), but some songs like "Just a Slave to Rock N' Roll" and "Undivided" (a clear diss song to Worsnop) are rather ridiculous. "We'll Be OK" even contains a random interjection of "Oh no!" before its second verse, which left me pretty speechless in a bad way.

Whatever problems the album may have, though, are mostly outweighed by the positives. While the lyrics are sometimes poor, the music makes up for it; this is for the most part a strongly-produced fun heavy metalcore album which is a refreshing thing in a time where all the metal bands are moving away from the actual "metal" of their sound. A couple bands actually pulled it off alright, but hearing every band do it gets annoying, and I am glad to hear at least one band go back to their heavier roots.

Song Highlights: "The Black," "Let It Sleep," "Lost Souls," "Sometimes It Ends," "Circled By the Wolves"



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user ratings (374)
Chart.
2.5
average
other reviews of this album
ParkersCannon (3.5)
Asking Alexandria's first album in their post-Danny Worsnop career is the best work the group has ev...

Zachery Cotto (1.5)
Refusing to move on and trying to recreate a past that was already bleak to begin with....

AshleyScared (3)
Fresh new vocalist, stale formula....

ExplosiveOranges (2.5)
Below The American Average....



Comments:Add a Comment 
Hep Kat
March 25th 2016


1231 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

my favorite part of this review was how u compared this piece of shit band to other piece of shit bands like any of us gaf.



"so yeah bros this turd sounds like that turd, which sounds like that diaper lincoln log which is kinda in direct correlation to diarrhea aka ass piss 3.5/5"



foh goofy one

Aftertheascension
March 25th 2016


3565 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is a ridiculously large step in the right direction

Hep Kat
March 25th 2016


1231 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

oh look its aftertheascension fuckin first swine in line at the trough again 🙄





SSSSOOOOOOOOEEEEEEEYYYYYY

JigglyPDiddy
March 25th 2016


3344 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

@Aftertheascension: Very nice dig!



@reviewer: As for the review, I think you should've touched way more on how this record sounds from an instrumental standpoint. It seems as though you only paid attention to the vocalist and how he compares to the all-american-white trash brit ex-vocalist.



@AA: That album cover, though. That alone makes me want this on vinyl. Lol Not a fan of their previous work at all. Heard some singles off this thing and they were fairly decent compared to their old stuff.

Digging: Earl Sweatshirt - I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside

EvoHavok
March 25th 2016


7665 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Will I finally be able to give something over a 2.5 for this band, I wonder...

Sweet dig, indeed, After.

Digging: Obliteration - Cenotaph Obscure

PumpBoffBag
March 25th 2016


933 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

they've retained the heaviness? Single tells a different story.



'all-american-white trash brit ex-vocalist' lol

Never cared for this band really, and I've only ever listened to SUAS, but actually thought Worsnop was alright. Even when they did acoustic versions he had this gravelly quality to his voice that was quite endearing

Beardog
March 25th 2016


2596 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Liked every record before this more... I really don't like Denis' vocals and how generic most of these songs are...

Digging: Daughters - You Won't Get What You Want

William21
March 25th 2016


315 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@PumpBoffBag: Yes, the main single (I assume we're talking about "I Won't Give In") does tell a different story. But really only three of the songs on this album *aren't* heavy. An odd choice for a single indeed...

PumpBoffBag
March 25th 2016


933 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

ye mostly, but even the title track. There's a lot more emphasis on cleans than I remember, gives it a very post-hardcore feel, feels a lot tamer than it used to. Although the production feels a lot cleaner too, so maybe that's it.



One of my close friends (who abhors anything he deems 'screamy', mind you) heard that track on the radio and absolutely adores it, so I guess in terms of broader appeal they're doing something right...

Sinternet
March 25th 2016


17899 Comments


yeah this is arse

Digging: SMiLE.dk - Smile

brettgoespunk
March 25th 2016


262 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

this album is great. Some sameyness, but a lot of them make an impression.

PumpBoffBag
March 25th 2016


933 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

decided to give this a spin. I have to say, it feels like they've copied bmth's style on sempiternal. the similarities are just too obvious to ignore.

seriously, I won't give in = sleepwalking

Kyyzen
March 25th 2016


222 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

... No... I won't give in doesn't sound anything like sleepwalking. There are barely any similarities between the two albums.

Danred97
March 25th 2016


1914 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Derivative Metalcore with some hard rock elements thrown in. It's tedious and boring, is anyone surprised?

Valkyrion
March 25th 2016


1161 Comments


I'm surprised you sat through the whole thing

PumpBoffBag
March 25th 2016


933 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

@kyyzen apart from the cleaner style, awkward electronica bits and lurching between melody and laughable try-hard br00tality? yeah, nothing at all m8



albums sucks btw

Danred97
March 25th 2016


1914 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Valkyrion - well, I had it on as background noise while putting away groceries. I probably wouldn't have listened if I had to just sit and listen to it.

torts
March 25th 2016


4300 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

clean vocals kill this

Danred97
March 25th 2016


1914 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I agree, I just don't understand why Ben didn't take over vocals, or atleast the cleans. The bridge on the title track is the best use of clean vocals on the whole album.

torts
March 25th 2016


4300 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

the intro of the first track gave me so much hope for this and then it was just absolutely demolished about 30 seconds later



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