If you’re anything like this listener, the idea of reviewing an entire freakin’ metalcore album is a worry inducing one. Sad as it is, this genre is littered with mediocre, who are uninspired, uninspiring, and don’t ruffle a single feather. We won’t name names. But while we’re on the subject, the next company to confuse metalcore with hardcore punk is due for a sharp lesson. You’ve been warned!
But hey, Asking Alexandria are of the North (originally), York to be exact. How it swells one with pride to see a band of your city rise to success and release not one, or two, but three albums, the third climbing its way to the eyes and ears of many. Surely, this couldn’t be a disappointment…
Well, it’s certainly more interesting than a great deal of metalcore CDs. That crushing atmosphere of the opening track is exciting, a lot of heavy appeal follows, with fearful vocals and low-tuned guitars. Prepare for a lot of this! Disappointingly, the riffs are bleakly uninteresting. Simplicity is often effective, but in this instance it was lost on us. The melodic choruses are powerful, not only here, but constantly, with ‘Killing Me’ and ‘The Death of Me’ following on from one another as if a single track. While emotional and powerful, somehow they don’t come fully to life. In fact they are so indistinct that their lyrics could be confused for the choruses of charts songs, the themes alone tackling them down from their potential pedestal.
‘Run Free’ has a hell of a verse riff. While it lacks originality it’s still a headbang instigator. One cannot diss Danny Worsnop’s vocals, gawddamn they’re diverse! The choruses bring back the melody, and…yep. Lights, loud music, expensive drinks, we can see it all too clearly.
The next song brings a different flavour, with a few new effects that separate it from the pack. Hell, it’s just a good song. Sucks that it took this long to find the gem, but here it is. The instruments work together harmoniously, and the sudden ending leaves the desire for a replay. That’s something most of them have, that short-but-sweet vibe which is so underrated. With ‘Poison’…err, this band is a little obsessed with the open-string, it would seem. The thing hammers at you incessantly. Give us another note, for the love of all things good!
Is it worth making a point about how many times you can get away with doing the same thing? ‘Believe’ doesn’t stray too far from its predecessor, and ‘Creature’, while a strong track, doesn’t either. It’s not a case of variety, the album has plenty of it, but coming back to the same concept again and again…and again, surely can’t be healthy. It’s like an alcoholic having “just one more drink”, it just gets irritating after a while.
Don’t lose hope though – maybe you haven’t, maybe you love this from start to finish. Maybe this writer has problems. Doubtless. Anyway, the LP has a few curve balls to throw yet! ‘Moving On’ is a methodical and melodical (wish that was a real word) expression of emotion and power. Pretty moving. And ‘The Road’ is too. This ending could even be a tear-jerker, it’s that powerful. Yes, that open-string consistent is still there, but we’ve given up mentioning that out of regard for our sanity. This song is awesome, a perfect build up for the final blast. The last track has a long and exciting build up, and appropriately so, because you’re going to need it to prepare for the heaviness that’s coming. Following the brutality of the pure metal riff during the first verse, it reverts to the style of the first few songs. The ending might have been more thought-provoking with ‘The Road’ as its finale, but who can complain about another song?
Overall, this is an album with its ups and downs. It is wildly unimpressive at times, but every now and again a track comes along that’s here to stay. The fans are gonna love it, that’s beyond dispute. There might even be discoveries there for those whose faith in metalcore isn’t strong, as this listener has discovered. Good luck to you, Asking Alexandria, and long live success of the Yorkshire bands!