Asking Alexandria

The Black

Written by: MAK on 26/10/2016 18:36:48

Yorkshire metalcore lads Asking Alexandria seem to live a life of never ending drama. Since 2015 the band have parted ways with their founding vocalist Danny Worsnop, for him to be replaced by Denis Stoff. Stoff then leaves the band less than seven months after releasing an album with the band and out of nowhere Worsnop is back in the band to perform vocal duties. It’s all a bit TV drama, like watching someone get back with their ex, and it’s likely going to go wrong again. In the wake of very public affair, let’s have a look at the one album Stoff did do with AA, “The Black”. It’s an album that digs up some of the metalcore roots that pushed the Yorkshire lads to fame while continuing to push towards hard rock at the same time. The influences flow from all kinds of directions.

Opener track “Let It Sleep” is a blend of various eras of Bring Me The Horizon. It has the brutality of “Suicide Season”, Stoff’s vocals can reach the same savagery and deep growling sounds. The riffs tones and breakdowns also emulate that era. The choruses and clean vocals then mimic parts of “Sempiternal”. It’s a strong opener, but the influences are hard to ignore. The next few songs fall into that Bring Me rip-off category. “I Won’t Give In” Is a partial slow burner, but it evolves into an alt-metal track which pushes to be anthemic and epic. The entire atmosphere of the song reminds me of Bring Me’s “Sleepwalking”, just a with a heavier ending. Stoff even copies the rough clean vibe that Oli Sykes delivers for most of “Sempiternal”.

The song on “The Black” that really stands out to be different is “The Lost Souls”, purely because it’s all over the place. From the the uplifting “woah” chants in the intro, to its dark and eerie nature in the verse which is undoubtedly influenced by the likes of Rob Zombie, with a hint of Avenged Sevenfold. The song tries to be theatrical with lingering synth atmospherics and choir-like vocals, it also attempts to be brutal and edgy at the same time. Throwing a real spanner in album’s dynamic. What follows is a heavy metal meets hair metal onslaught in the form of “Just A Slave To Rock n’ Roll”. Laced with pure headbanging riffs and a cocky atmosphere.

The ferocity of this album shows nods to the AA of old, with less of the “in your face” electronica segments. There are signs that show the band want to seem mature, but they are messy with it. The structures and influences don’t always work and at times it just feels like I’m listening to pure noise with no purpose. In terms of Stoff’s role on this album, he does a decent job in fronting the band and even at times carrying the album with his voice, showing off his full potential in doing various frequencies of harsh vocals, and unveiling a number of different singing techniques. His singing is actually really nice in the overly soft slow burning number, “Gone”.

I’ve never understood the overall hype surrounding this band and their growing popularity. “The Black” is an ok album at best, it doesn’t stand out against many other albums in metalcore, and it’s not even as captivating as some of the band’s earlier material. Granted, there are some good songs to lose your shit to, and are great for live atmospheres, but not a whole lot of this album grabbed my attention. It tries too hard with a song like “The Lost Souls”, but all that did was stand out for all the wrong reasons. In all honesty, the band should have just stuck to their electronica and breakdowns formula, it was simple, tidy and I knew where I stood with it.


Download: Gone, Let It Sleep, Just A Slave To Rock N Roll
For The Fans Of: We Came As Romans, Of Mice & Men, Bring Me The Horizon

Release date 25.03.2016
Sumerian Records

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