With the parting of ex-frontman, Danny Worsnop (We Are Harlot), Asking Alexandria are starting over, seemingly back to the roots of their 2009 release, Stand Up And Scream, with their new lead singer, Denis Stoff. For awhile there, it seemed like there was a lack of passion in Asking Alexandria’s music. It was stated in interviews that Worsnop’s heart was no longer in the band anymore and this seemed to translate into their records. With a fresh and ready frontman and a reinforced metalcore sound, Asking Alexandria have breathed some life into their music again with The Black. But, that doesn’t mean it still doesn’t have some kinks it needs to work out.
From the opening track, “Let It Sleep,” we hear just how wide of a vocal range Denis Stoff has from his growls that can border on the line of demonic to his crystal-clear vocals. Though he is vocally talented, his growls can sometimes border on cheesy or over-theatrical. But, music is subjective and this is most likely an acquired taste. In addition, “Let It Sleep,” and tracks like “The Black” are altered with effects that make the record unoriginal and overproduced on occasion. “I Won’t Give In” is considered to be one of the strongest tracks, because it is here that we hear just how flawless Stoff’s vocals are. It’s a cleaner track, but it doesn’t lack in heaviness with it’s driving and relentless guitars and “I won’t give in” attitude. “Here I Am” is another song that stands out from the pack with it’s undeniable power, but it maintains subtly, which provides a perfect juxtaposition of soft and hard. But, it is similar to the likes of Of Mice & Men and popular radio, which is a downfall. But, it’s enjoyable nonetheless. Restraint is a strong suit of this album, especially on songs like “Here I Am.” The final song I feel the need to mention is, “Just A Slave to Rock N’ Roll,” which is different than anything on the album with guitar riffs that sound like they are off an Avenged Sevenfold record, but it snaps into many heavy breakdowns. It’s a vocal and musical roller coaster that is nothing short of a fun ride. All in all, it’s a very rock and roll track that adds another formidable song to The Black and provides what many Asking Alexandria fans were expecting this go around.
From start to finish, The Black is full of pure rage that takes you down a dark and disgruntled journey. Despite it’s angry hue, it still features a soft, emotional side to Asking Alexandria with songs like “Send Me Home.” It still has some growing up to do due to the use of some tacky tactics and lyrics that would have been more relevant in 2010. But, despite that fact, they’ve come out with an album that is sure to have great success and features a balance of their most recent album, From Death to Destiny, and their older album, Stand Up and Scream; However, I can’t deny that The Black is an album that has been done many times before and is lacking in terms of lyrical composition and that is what, in the end, made this record instantly turn from great to okay. But, hey, it has a cool album cover, right?
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