Asking Alexandria

Stand Up And Scream

Written by: BL on 25/10/2009 13:08:55

Okay imagine Attack Attack!, The Devil Wears Prada and Bring Me The Horizon (or Miss May I for three Joey Sturgis produced albums) all at once in an album. If that disgusts, repulses, or just makes you want to give up on humanity, then for the love of God I would advise you to steer clear of this band, and this review - you have been warned. For everyone else: I present to you one of the next big scenester phenomena in the making (and already becoming a hit in the US), Asking Alexandria! Indeed, for you see this British band is just so scene in every facet of their image and sound it almost becomes intoxicating (Shawn Milke of Alesana guests vocals - thats how scene this is), but if you're into this sort of thing then that's only good right?

From a technical and Sturgiscore (yep - it's our main man Joey Sturgis at the production helm yet again) standpoint this band is solid enough in almost every department. Lets start with the guitars: they sound super polished and tight, but the problem is that most of it really is a heard-it-before combination of Attack Attack! and The Devil Wears Prada (two fellow sturgiscore bands) axe work in just about every sense. You have your galloping chugs, harmonised power chords, dual melodic death riffs, horror chords, and lots of breakdowns. Oh yes, there are just as many breakdowns as the aformentioned bands, and they're used in a very similar way (expect lots of dissonant breakdowns). And like Attack Attack!, there are dance-oriented synthesizers programmed to come in at various intervals (albeit with a much more trance focus), before being combined with a breakdown for maximum damage. Honestly though I can actually enjoy a few of the songs based on the guitar work and the techno. It is catchy enough at times and quite unrelenting too (not to mention fun if you like those techno/dance/trance synths). A key artistic difference between Asking Alexandria's dance synths and Attack Attack! and even I See Stars! is that the music doesnt revolve around them at all times - they usually appear, then disappear again.

The drumming from James Cassells is pretty good, although the production makes them sound almost mechanical in delivery (as always) - but he plays some decent fills and there are some great little bits of double bass pedals (as they are the weapon of choice for sturgiscore drummers) littered throughout. The bass is, as always, just in the back and barely, if at all audible, and will not make any standout appearance. The vocals are probably the most competent aspect, as Danny Worsnop can do it all: death growls, high pitched screams, shouty shrieks, and some tuneful clean singing ("A Prophecy" has a sickeningly addictive clean chorus). While no doubt autotune of some kind was applied in the production process, by the looks of some live videos he can do it all live too just about, which, given the difficulty of switching between constant screaming, growling and singing, must be tough as nails.

The lyrics Danny sings and screams though are of the sort that vary between the usual scene/emo poetry (which can be alright at times), or Bring Me The Horizon style, full-on in your face, angry, sleazy, and attitude-packed lyrics. Mostly these lyrics are about being bitter over having been screwed over by someone of the fairer sex by the sounds of it. And while it grates my head in to hear the phrase "Oh... my... God!" in just about every other song, I'll admit that some of these stupid, angry lines are quite fun to sing along to if you're willing to let a few brain cells go for a vacation. To give you some idea of the nature of these kind of lyrics here's a snippet from "Not The American Average", probably the most prominent of the bunch: "Girl get down, It's almost over, Take it all the way, You stupid fucking whore". Said song ends with death growls of "you stupid fucking bitch" repeatedly just so you know what you're in for.

Okay so where exactly am I going with this? My reviewing sense is hugely contradicting itself with my listening sense. No doubt there will be plenty of haters out there - but with the gaining popularity these guys are getting, I'm sure these guys are staying around for a bit. And if it wasn't for the fact that I managed to squeeze out a fair bit of fun from these songs (because individually they're well done for what they are), I'd be tearing this all apart like most of you would expect me to. But I'm not going to conform to popular opinion of hate (and nor should I - it's not like I'm anti-scene like so many others out there), and I can let myself go once in a while. I do like this band for being the silly, guilty pleasure that they are. So they have repeating song structures, most of their riffs sound just like other Joey Sturgis produced bands, and dance synths are now all the rage, but it's just that it sounds so brainlessly fun that I simply don't care about all that. Let the floodgates open because I'm giving it a


Download: A Prophecy, I Was Once Possibly Maybe Perhaps A Cowboy King, When Everyday's The Weekend
For the fans of: Attack Attack!, The Devil Wears Prada, Bring Me The Horizon
Listen: Myspace

Release date 15.09.2009
Sumerian Records

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