Sound — 7
There are only so many directions a Metalcore band can take before wearing out their sound and becoming monotenous. It's happened to some of the best in the game, even. Clearly, Asking Alexandria are fighting very hard not to be lumped in that category, because their new album, Reckless And Relentless takes as many steps away from thier debut as possible. The overall result is an album that's heavy, raw, and begging to be played as loud as you can get it. The intro, properly titled "Welcome" brings in the new sound, starting deceptively calm, and veering into a punishing breakdown (a sign of what is, most certainly, to come). The next few tracks show off AA's heavy side, with crunchy guitar lines and tremollo leads a'plenty. And most certainly unlike some contemporaries, keyboard lines are executed not only well, but in a manner that they make the sound all the more epic. The most surprising element, to me, is the inclusion of a few really decent guitar solos. Apparently all the Skid Row worship broke through into their music, prompting them to stay away from just breakdowns and octaves. The downside to all of this is that the songs, very like their first album, can come off as sounding far too similar at points. Listening at a distance I can missmatch breakdowns from songs to ones on the complete opposite end of the album. All in all though, this is a drastic improvement upon Stand Up And Scream musically.
Lyrics — 9
Love him, or hate him, Danny is an amazing vocalist. His bellows are fierce and gritty, screams sharp as knives, and melodious lines perfectly executed. He has improved a lot since the last album, favoring the low end growls over higher screams, which matches the heavier tone of the band very well. One of the vocal highlights is the song To The Stage, which showcases Danny displaying all his vocal techniques with supurb mastery. Lyrically, this album is surprisingly strong. Subject matter is very diverse, going from God (What a way to end the world/With false hope in a false god - Morte Et Dabo), self loathing (I spend my days looking through pages/Trying to find a way to get away from me - Breathless), and the vigors of touring (Even though I'm on my own/ I know I'm not alone/Cause I know there's someone, somewhere/Waiting when I make it home - Someone, Somewhere). This is far more than 12 tracks of lovesick emo-metalcore: the passion of the lyrics, backed up by outstanding delivery, makes vocals a true highpoint on this album.
Overall Impression — 8
Reckless and Relentless may be the metalcore jem of the year with its varried atmosphere, vigorously passionate delivery, and all around better approach than that of almost every band in this scene. Asking Alexandria have truly suceeded in making an album that unlike those of others, could quite possibly stand the test of time and become a milestone for the genre. While there are quite a few people that find this band absolutely attrocious, R&R may just turn some haters into fans, and for the ones it doesn't, they obviously are missing out on a brilliant piece of work. For fans of: "Zombie" era The Devil Wears Prada, early Bring Me The Horizon, Miss May I.