Asking Alexandria – Where Do We Go From Here? Review

English metal-core band Asking Alexandria has had an explosive career. They’ve come a long way since their hit album Stand Up And Scream graced our ears in September of 2009. Today,...

 

All Words by:

DFITZ “Trash Witch” 

 

It’s been two years since the release of See What’s On The Inside, and when we received the news that Asking Alexandria was releasing a new album on August 25th, the first thing we said was

 

OH

MY

GOD!”

 

English metal-core band Asking Alexandria has had an explosive career. They’ve come a long way since their hit album Stand Up And Scream graced our ears in September of 2009. Today, their eighth studio album Where Do We Go From Here? was released through Better Noise Music. 

Everything from production value, to lyrical content, to the overall sound and feel of the album is high-quality as expected.  We are hopeful that this will not be the final episode, as far as installments to the band’s discography goes.

Where Do We Go From Here? was produced and mixed by Matt Good (Hollywood Undead, From First To Last) and mastered by Howie Weinberg (Deftones, Metallica) and Will Borza; and done so in a way that both captures a nostalgic feel as well as introduces a new style of audio work for the three.

We are very pleased with this release.

We believe the answer to the question their album title asks is as follows:

“Get ready to hit the studio again, to prepare to bring fans a 9th studio album”.

We are interested to see what that May consist of, given the contents of this new release.

Where Do We Go From Here? channels the band’s core continual themes of anguish, grief, disenchantment, loss, dejection, angst, betrayal, and becoming jaded with society that we have all related to for years.

Ben Bruce speaks a bit on this with the following.

 

 “With the world seemingly getting darker and darker, so many of us struggle with anxiety, depression, (and) loneliness,”

 

“We are all on our own journey with unique challenges, but we have our inner strength to fall back on.” 

 

-Ben Bruce, on the immediate success of Asking Alexandria’s “Dark Void” from Where Do We Go From Here?

 

Current members of Asking Alexandria consists of lead guitarist Ben Bruce, vocalist Danny Worsnop, guitarist Cameron Liddell, bassist Sam Bettley, and drummer James Cassells. They are also currently touring with Paul Bartolome assisting with guitar and backing vocals. 

Achieving almost instant success, the band went on to perform a number of unforgettable shows.  We have seen them shred at Vans Warped Tour, tour internationally, top various charts internationally, receive awards, and remain a powerhouse band achieving legendary status in the Hot Topic-HXC world.

Not to mention, they have toured with a number of other notable bands over the course of their career as well. These shows were legendary, and shaped the scene as we know it today. Even the harshest critic, much like myself, can not deny that. Amidst thousands of shows, top-tier headlines for Asking Alexandria include bills they have shared with Korn, From First To Last, Kittie, Attack Attack!, Chelsea Grin, Born Of Osiris, Emmure, Whitechapel, Sevendust, Of Mice & Men, Trivium, Dir En Grey, A Day To Remember, and more.

On their upcoming “Psycho Thunder” tour starting on August 30th; Asking Alexandria will be accompanied by bands such as The HU, Bad Wolves, Zero, and Mudvayne.

Asking Alexandria has given us 4 Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) gold-certified singles. Two of which being, “The Final Episode (Change The Channel)” and “Not The American Average” after both songs sold 500,000 copies in the USA. To all physical media collectors, they also have a DVD release for your physical music and media collection. That’s just barely scratching the surface. 

Many have described them as an electroni-core or metal-core project. Others have described them as heavy metal, or screamo. Many now describe their sound as being geared more toward having an alternative-stadium-rock sound, while at times having hints of pop-rock elements. 

Originally formed in Dubai by Bruce, the band took the jam over to Nottingham, thus sparking an exhilarating and illustrious career. Asking Alexandria has an extensive history of success with a plethora of achievements throughout all lineup changes and other events. They are globally renowned for their brutal performances and melodic electronic elements that has inspired a wave of musicians to do the same throughout the MySpace hardcore-era.

Their current lineup has done a remarkable job of maintaining elements of their original sound, though still, their sound now has an entirely different feel altogether. Though they have absolutely toned down over the years, the feel of their sound remains a relatable one. With a variety of stylistic choices in genre, the band has accumulated a wide-stretched fanbase on a global standpoint.

Without further hype, let’s dive into a brief synopsis of Asking Alexandria’s Where Do We Go From Here? in it’s entirety.

 

 

TRACK 1

BAD BLOOD

 

Asking Alexandria’s 8th studio album is introduced by the sounds of Cassells giving us a little paradiddle, into Worsnop belting out the title of the opening track. 

Speaking of Cassells drumming- it’s been reported by KERRANG! that Cassells is currently dealing with a broken foot at the moment, which makes this all the more impressive. Some more fun music history: John Bonham recorded Presence with Led Zeppelin with a broken foot as well.

“Bad Blood” is a high-energy track that seamlessly manages to blend clean vocals, blast beats, melodic synth breaks, and somehow bring elements of their old sound into a new light with powerful screams. 

 

 

TRACK 2

THINGS COULD BE DIFFERENT

 

With a very nostalgic and familiar intro, we are immediately led into a quick industrial buildup leading immediately into brutally filthy riffs from Ben Bruce.

Worsnop and Bruce have a chemistry that has lasted, throughout ups and downs, and their passion working together shows very early on into the release.

With fierce breakdowns, intense vocals, an incredible synth performance, tight drumming, and what feels like a slight nod to Nine Inch Nails- “Things Could Be Different” is a solid second track on the this release and prepares us for the journey to follow.

 

TRACK 3

LET GO

 

We release ourselves from everything that hurts and embrace positivity with “Let Go”. Greeted with a dreamy synth intro, and with a phenomenal accompaniment from Grace Grundy, we are gifted a little over 4 minutes of raw emotion.

Like discourse in letters between lovers with questionable resolve, “Let Go” is a beautiful collaboration. 

A push and pull, a beg and plea, a proclamation of wondering whether to stay or go- when one is questioning their reality the answer is clear to see. It’s time to “Let Go”, but what if the answer is stick it out and see if there’s something more, as true human connection appears rare and fleeting in the day and age we live in?

We are presented lyricism dealing with codependency, and it’s masterfully done.

“Let Go” is absolutely a radio-worthy hit, extremely catchy and well organized.

 

TRACK 4

PSYCHO

 

“Psycho” shows us the true resilience of Danny Worsnop’s vocals. Clearly, this release is a completely new development for Asking Alexandria, however it is remarkable to hear Danny sounding strong after sustaining a vocal cord injury and having to undergo surgery. Longtime fans are happy that Danny appears to be taking care of his voice, and are overjoyed to hear him doing what he loves. It’s an interesting combination of popular sound entertainment elements with hints of their classic sound.

 It almost sounds like Justin Timberlake influenced this track.

Regardless of how you feel about their shift in sound, it is undeniable that it is impressive for Danny Worsnop to have been able to deliver an album like this after the damage done to his throat. It takes talent to be able to both sing and scream, and even more talent to come back strong after what he did.

 

TRACK 5 

DARK VOID

 

Reaching about the midway point in Where Do We Go From Here?, “Dark Void” hits heavy with nihilistic prayers of hope, amidst the abysmal reality we face as a society.

Fans have repeatedly proclaimed this song as an “instant favorite” among other high-praises, and it’s clear to see why.

“Dark Void” has been described as sounding like it belongs on their controversial 2016 album The Black, which is the album that started discourse in regards to their newly evolving sound among a variety of other things in the Asking Alexandria world.

 

 

TRACK 6

NOTHING LEFT

 

“Nothing Left” features powerful drumming from Cassells, reminding us what an absolute force he is behind the kit. Bruce’s riffs give a nod to their 2011 release Reckless & Relentless, which the iconic album artwork bearing the image of adult actress Belladonna.

Once again, Worsnop brings us beautiful vocals. The composition of this song is amazing, it’ll have you hitting repeat.

 

 

TRACK 7

FEEL

 

An emotionally fueled song, with haunting synthesizer, and dark lyrics. “Feel” sets the mood like it would be a perfect song to have on at your Halloween party with fall rapidly approaching. Worsnop’s lyricism here is heavily influenced by goth culture. With an entire cemetery full of metaphors, in both his Worsnop’s lyricism and the production of “Feel”, this song is very wittily done.

It showcases Worsnop’s pain, in a way that will make you want to punch-dance the pain out.

 

 

TRACK 8

LET THE DEAD TAKE ME

 

This song has a gothic-pop-country influence, which was yet another surprising move from Asking Alexandria. It listens like it was produced in Nashville post-gentrification. It has a bit of a corporate feel to it. The lyrical content consists of seeking redemption and release, using religious metaphor. 

It seems a bit of of place for this release, but lyrical content accompanies the underlying theme and is overall a well done and catchy song. This album is proving to be a record showcasing Worsnop’s ability to perform a variety of genres, which shows a genuine love for music of all sorts.

 

TRACK 9

KILL IT WITH FIRE

 

Asking Alexandria once was on the notorious Punk Goes Pop compilations. We were reminded of this with Track 2 of Where Do We Go From Here?, and with those features we perhaps should have took that as a sign as to where Asking Alexandria was headed musically. 

We have now seen several releases heavy on pop-influence. We’ve heard the talk.

“Kill It With Fire” reminds us that the band still comes from punk roots, and is a great example of a simple anarcho-punk track. 

It’s a nice change of pace amidst the other songs, though it feels a bit out of place being in at Track 9. It would make more sense at the end of the album as a hidden track, for the sake of flow.  

We would love to see hidden tracks get back into the game- in the same way bands like Heavy Heavy Low Low have done in the past.

 

TRACK 10

HOLDING ON TO SOMETHING MORE

 

After “Kill It With Fire” wakes us up to the way big corporations are using us like puppets in a giant monetary game, we are brought back to life with vigorous action. 

Worsnop sounds like he is trying to channel an early Chris Cornell mid-song, as he belts out “ticking like a time bomb, pressure’s got me feeling numb, and I kinda wanna feel it”.

The song provides a religious experience for long-time fans, telling them there is something more to hold on to. 

 

TRACK 11

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

 

We’ve reached our last stop on the journey that is Asking Alexandria’s 8th studio album of the same name. “Where Do We Go From Here” is a melancholy closing track. It features acoustic and orchestral elements, and reminds us of A Day To Remember’s acoustic tracks and the wave of HXC/metal-core/emo/screamo bands that did the same.

It’s a song of questioning, of mourning, of yearning, and a mark of time.

We were left shook, and will be waiting anxiously to see where Asking Alexandria intends to go from here, after their upcoming tour.

 

 

Asking Alexandria is a crucial band to the hardcore, scene, emo, and metal countercultures. Generally, it would be safe to say they are crucial to all alternative cultures and subcultures. Their logo has graced the shirts of fist-pumping show-goers, mall-rats, and still-active members of all alternative scenes today. Since their formation 17 years ago, with an active 15 years, the journey has been a spectacle and a pleasure to watch.

We have witnessed a transformation of their sound over time, the process of which Ben Bruce has notably described as their sound maturing. Fans who have grown with the band will be pleased to see they are still cranking out memorable work.

We look forward to seeing them on tour.

We also look forward to seeing everyone grab their favorite zip-up hoodies, with the holes we all put in the sleeves of them for our thumbs, out of the closet.

 

 

Score: 7/10
Reviewed by: DFITZ “Trash Witch” 

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