The self-titled album opens with a catchy banger. ‘Alone in a Room’ sounds like an apology from Danny Wornsnop who departed the band in 2015 but made his return at the end of last year. It’s the perfect introduction and a nice re-introduction to Wornsnop’s voice. The familiar metalcore elements dance along to AA’s staple sound throughout the album. This first track embodies bass accordingly to the guitar riffs but there’s a technicality with each groove that blends perfectly to create anthem rock.
Released in September, the second track on the album and the first single ‘Into the Fire’ is a synthesized mix with dynamic drumming from James Cassells. It starts off with a groovy riff followed by Wornsnop’s metalcore growl. It’s almost impossible to not headbang during the breakdown of the bridge.
There’s a weird yet soothing sequence that is found throughout ‘Hopelessly Hopeful’ that is unnecessarily there but eventually fades into the powerful melody. Overall, the song is rhythmically great, reminiscent of songs throughout the album and to their early work from 2009’s Stand Up and Scream.
Playing along to the rock anthems, ‘Where did it go?’ is a jam where Wornsnop is found having fun from start to finish. Lyrically, it’s a song that defines the band’s history that guitarist Ben Bruce stated that the track is “acknowledging everything that we’ve done from the very beginning of this band till now.” Bruce also mentioned that rock fans can be apprehensive when a band changes their sound. ‘Rise Up’ is lyrically an ode to that and finds itself with ponderous bass-lines from Sam Bettley that are very intriguing and memorable as the AA sound is.
‘When the Lights Come On’ demonstrates Worsnop’s clean vocals. His raspy voice is a gift to listeners as he musically illustrates the passion the band has for playing live shows.
Pulsating keyboards are the foundation of ‘Under Denver’ which finds itself in an orchestra filled with synthesized melodies and the perfect drum beat. The song is about this world under the city of Denver that is prepared for the New World Order—cool illustrative thematic.
Heaviness can be found in ‘Eve’ and ‘I am One’ as they pump layers of hardcore rock.
‘Vultures’ stands out with the songwriting and arrangement as it has acoustic soft elements but there’s a pain felt in the vocals that make it very soulful. It’s a song that Wornsnop and Bruce wrote in 2014 before Wornsnop’s departure. The emotion is heavily felt.
Bruce had mentioned in his interview that the band found influences for this record in how pop and hip-hop are constantly evolving. The idea is cool but the rap verses in ‘Empire’ by rapper Bing are odd. It’s an experiment that perhaps it worked on paper but for the album, they could have left it out. However, the album concludes with ‘Room 138’ which will have you forget the previous song ever happened. It’s epic, it’s strong is a song that feels right for what they have presented here.
Lyrically, it is thoughtful and deep. The musical foundation needed for an excellent record exceed expectations from start to finish. After a few spins, the record is solid yet the best that Asking Alexandria can offer.
Source: Ghost Cult Magazine