Sound — 8
Asking Alexandria was formed by Ben Bruce when he moved back to the UK from Dubai in 2008, having just disbanded a previous band of the same name. The lineup suffered some initial shakiness, but was in its current form by the release of their first album, "Stand Up and Scream," in 2009. The band includes Danny Worsnop (vocals and keyboards), Ben Bruce (lead guitars, backing vocals, and programming), Cameron Liddell (rhythm guitars), James Cassells (drums), and Sam Bettley (bass guitars). On the current album, according to interviews with the band, Ben Bruce recorded all of the guitar parts and Cameron Liddell learned his parts afterwards for live performances. This was due in large part with Cameron's father becoming sick and he was taking care of this father in his spare time. The album was recorded in various studios, with parts of the album actually being recorded on their tour bus which was modified to be a mobile studio. There was some conflict with the band due to vocalist Danny Worsnop's drinking getting out of control, but ultimately this issue was resolved within the band. The album opens up with a track titled "Don't Pray for Me" which actually has the audio of the crowd arguing with an inebriated Danny Worsnop.
"From Death to Destiny" is Asking Alexandria's third full length studio release, and contains thirteen tracks with a total runtime of approximately 51 minutes. "Run Free" was the first single from the album, released in August 2012. It was followed up with the second single, "The Death of Me," which was released in March 2013. Their overall sound has changed pretty drastically, with more riffs versus heavy rhythms and breakdowns, and with some actual guitar solos included on the album. Ben Bruce has stated in interviews that he tried to write some songs that could be played on heavy rock radio as well as some truly "balls to the wall" tracks. The album opens up with the track "Don't Pray for Me," which has the audio of a live show where the crowd is chanting "drunk piece of sh-t" at vocalist, Danny Worsnop. From my internet research, this came from a show in Seattle where Danny was indeed too drunk to perform vocals. The track "Run Free" is a very interesting track as it has an orchestral break that slowly builds back to being heavy. The track "Break Down the Wall" has an interesting vibe to it, and the best little solo break on the album (in my opinion). The track "Creature" caught my attention, mainly because of the scream building up about two thirds of the way through the song. The track "White Line Fever," which of course is about cocaine addiction, is interesting in that the band utilized a Christian chorus group (Greater L.A. Cathedral Choir) on the track, though the choir did quit on them after realizing what they were singing about. The track "Until the End" is a heavy track with a neat little (slower tempo) tremolo picked riff, and a nice balance of "unclean" and cleaner vocals. The album closes out with the track "The Death of Me" which is a high energy track with an almost "sing along" chorus.
Lyrics — 7
Danny Worsnop has a very solid voice, despite vocal injuries a few years ago and his more recent bout with alcoholism. While there are definitely a fair share of "unclean" vocals, there is also a fair amount of relatively cleaner vocals on the album which makes for a nice breaking of monotony. Ben Bruce provides backup vocals on the album, and he does an excellent job as well. According to interviews with Ben Bruce, there were some problems getting Danny to actually record his lyrics for the album, because of both his alcoholism and the strain his alcoholism had created within the band, but in the end they got it worked out and the end product was worth the wait. For a change, the band has been writing lyrics about subjects besides drug abuse and partying. As a sample, here are some lyrics from the song "Run Free": "Open your heart, open your mind/ To a new world, to a new world/ Spread out your wings and learn to fly/ To a new world, to a new world/ Close your eyes and pray for something better than/ This world has to give! / Make it worth your time when you move on to/ Whatever the hell is next! / Know that you went in the end without a single/ Regret! / That you lived and loved and laughed and cried and/ Followed your dreams! / You won't be alone in the end/ You don't have to be afraid/ Run free and wild, let your heart soar with the eagles/ Run free and wild, let your love take over/ You won't be alone in the end/ You don't have to be afraid." Actually, those lyrics could still be about partying, but at least they are more covertly about partying.
Overall Impression — 8
The album really does have a more radio friendly type of vibe to it, but at the same time Asking Alexandria isn't trying to be a clone of anyone else. This is despite the fact that they have said in interviews that the album is like mixing Motley Crue and old Slipknot. My favorite tracks on the album are "Break Down the Wall" and "Creature." I don't know what to think about the track "Don't Pray for Me," as it seems like it would be rough as a vocalist to have a moment when you are publicly at your lowest being used as an audio sample on your new album you're expected to go out and tour behind and support. The bottom line, while I could get picky and point out some things I didn't like about this release, there were a lot of moments when I was pleasantly surprised. I was especially impressed with Ben Bruce's restraint when soloing, which is actually melodic with an emphasis on phrasing instead of just being some sweep picking, tremolo picking, and tapping.