Sound — 9
Being the follow up to Stand Up And Scream, this album certainly held true to Asking Alexandria's aggressive sound. It comes in heavy with another intro like their last album, entitled Welcome. One thing that they have improved on, is the incorporation of piano and synth. Welcome brings in the album with a mellow piano that turns into a heavy breakdown like bridge to the next song, Dear Insanity. One of the biggest things that you will notice is the layering of screams. It walks a fine line between good production, and over production, but on the good side. The new and improved highs are commonly coupled with heart pounding lows and it all turns out very well. For anyone who is a fan of Stand Up And Scream, you will begin to hear a more heavy usage of synth breaks and interludes. Songs such as Reckless and Relentless, Closure, and, A Lesson Never Learned really tie it into the songs to give it a very dark over-tone. Thankfully, Joey Sturgis was careful not to let it anything overpower something else. James Cassells really followed through on drums, setting the pace of the album and really making hooks where it counts. His technicality has improved and he now seems an even better developed drummer. In the middle of the album is, Dedication, which serves as a break and separates the album tone wise. Afterwards AA comes out with the first song they have released without any screams. Seemingly breaking out of comfort zone, but it seems as though they have pulled it off. From there, the album seems to take on an ascent, getting faster paced and aggressive. With songs like, Breathless, and, Reckless and Relentless, they really show uniqueness in sound while tying all instruments and vocals in together quite elegantly. Morte et Dabo sends the album out quite a bang. I may even venture to say it is the heaviest song from this band yet. Simple yet versatile, putting this song on a proving ground of what seems like an endless breakdown.
Lyrics — 9
The whole album seems to take a dark approach lyrically. Danny Worsnop definitely took into account his battle with alcohol addiction and his struggles to overcome it, providing a sort of hopeful undertone. Some of the lyrics take into account past and future relationships, in such songs as, Dedication, Someone, Somewhere, and Breathless. I certainly hear a lot of release in the words of these songs, aggression taken out through the all of the lyrics. If you are heavily into Stand Up And Scream, you will not be disappointed from this standpoint as many of the same concepts follow through. What has incredibly improved are the skills of Danny Worsnop and Ben Bruce in vocals. The clean vocals sound less produced and more fitting to the music. All the while, the screams have reached a much greater range. The highs are higher and the lows are lower. Simply put. The coupling of the two goes together quite well and really set Asking Alexandria apart from other bands in the metalcore scene.
Overall Impression — 9
I have been avidly awaiting this release and Asking Alexandria did not leave me disappointed. Through this and, Life Gone Wild EP, they have shown that they can really do just about whatever they want. This is a band that has really taken self improvement upon themselves and delivered to fans what they want. I have heard so much these days about how Asking Alexandria just copies every other band out there and they have no skill themselves. Well, why are they so much better then? This band, along with others like, Miss May I and, We Came As Romans have simply done their research, studied, and became good at what they do. The only thing I would like to see more from AA is guitar solos. There are some in the album but there could be more. Otherwise, the fast paced, heart pounding drums of James Cassells, along with the aggressive guitars of Sam Bettley, Ben Bruce, and Cameron Liddel, and Danny Worsnop to set it all off with strong vocals, really makes for a great quintet on the rise.