I seem to have a habit recently of reviewing bands who I know little to nothing about. Asking Alexandria, however, are a bit of an oddity in that respect. I’ve kind of followed them for a few years, but I’ve never actually listened to any of their music. So, this was a slightly strange step into the half-known.
“Alone in a Room” starts off quite melodically, almost – but then we’re slammed face-first into a wall of sound. And what a wall it is. I don’t quite know what I was expecting from these guys, but it certainly wasn’t this. This is quite a ‘mature’ sound, from a band who have been around for a few years and clearly know what they’re doing and how to do it.
I’ve read in a few places that Asking Alexandria’s style changes with each album and that they’re ‘evolving’. This is really evident in their lyrics – there’s definitely a mature edge to them, with a lot fewer songs about drugs and women (I do my research!)
It’s easy to see why Into the Fire has been chosen as the lead single from the album – there’s a sense of sheer power and uncompromising nature to it that will carry over beautifully into a live version, and quite frankly, if this were my first introduction to Asking Alexandria, I’d definitely come back for more.
“Hopelessly Hopeful” is another powerful song, that evokes images of a crowd swaying, lighters held high in the air. There’s also a hint of Linkin Park here, which is a very good thing – regardless of what you thought of their songs (I personally am a fan), there could be no denying that they wrote powerful songs that carried messages. That’s very much the case with this album already, even though we’ve only hit the third song. The best part is, the message from each song is left up to you, the listener.
If there’s ever a song that could be described as a ‘call to arms’, then “Rise Up” would certainly be a strongly fancied contender. It’s also the sort of song that you can close your eyes to, and picture yourself at a gig with this echoing all around you.
It’s at this point that you notice something about this album – for all the changes in tone between songs, this is a surprisingly easy-to-listen-to album. At the end of the day, that’s one thing that we all look for in our music (for the most part at least). It’s rare that you’ll find someone who wants to have to work on listening to their music.
When “Under Denver” starts, I had to stop myself for a moment – was that a piano I could hear? Indeed, it was, but any illusion that this would be a light and fluffy song was soon dispersed. Granted, it is a bit softer than the other songs on here, but it’s not really that noticeable. This is the sort of song that could, conceivably, become something of an anthem.
And that’s part of the beauty of this album. Pretty much every song on here has the potential to become a massive hit, a set staple or a fan favorite. It may be a bit of a departure from their previous outings, but this is a special album.
“Vultures” appears to be the sort of song that, if they were so inclined, could easily be played as an acoustic version in a smaller, intimate gig – or even as a brief pause among the intensity of a bigger gig.
Any sort of lingering lethargy is soon blasted away by the beginning of “Eve”, which brings us kicking and screaming back to what the opening few songs brought us through – then keeps going. There’s an unmistakable feeling that you’ve heard something similar to this before, but there’s something about this that also feels a bit different – in a good way, of course.
“I Am One” starts like nothing short of a force of nature, and is the sort of song that could accompany any fight scene in a film (superhero or other). By this stage, your blood is well and truly pumping and you may even feel like you could take on the world. The start of Empire, however, may make you stop and sit back and take notice a bit. It’s completely different from everything else so far on this album. I actually went back and checked, and there’s nothing even remotely like it. At all. Yet at the same time, it really does feel like it belongs here.
“I’ve been away a little while”, Worsnop sings in “Alone in a Room”. He has, but you couldn’t tell. For someone who tore his vocal cord in 2012, he has one hell of a voice. I may not have listened to these guys before, but I sure as hell will in the future – and I’ll definitely keep an eye out for them playing Belfast soon.
Tour dates co-headline tour with Black Veil Brides):
1/10 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Complex
1/11 – Denver, CO @ Fillmore Auditorium
1/12 – Kansas City, MO @ Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland
1/13 – Minneapolis, MN @ Myth
1/15 – St. Louis, MO @ Pageant
1/17 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
1/18 – Grand Rapids, MI @ 20 Monroe Live
1/19 – Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Club Stage
1/20 – Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre
2/02 – Worcester, MA @ Palladium
2/03 – Portland, ME @ State Theatre
2/04 – Montreal, QC @ M Telus
2/05 – Toronto, ON @ Rebel
2/07 – Norfolk, VA @ Norva
2/08 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5
2/09 – Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head Live
2/10 – Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
2/12 – Atlanta, GA @ Tabernacle
2/13 – Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works
2/14 – Indianapolis, IN @ Egyptian Room at Old National Centre
2/16 – Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Live
2/17 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues
2/19 – Albuquerque, NM @ El Rey Theater
2/20 – Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theater
2/22 – Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory Concert House
2/23 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
2/24 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox SODO
2/25 – Vancouver, BC @ Vogue
2/27 – Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory Concert House
3/01 – San Francisco, CA @ The Warfield Theatre
3/02 – Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues