Friday, November 16, 2012

Asking Alexandria


Asking Alexandria
Beware: Not for those with weak hearts

Click On A Song!
Lead vocals, keyboards, programming - Danny Worsnop
Lead guitar, programming, backing vocals - Ben Bruce
Rhythm guitar - Cameron Liddell
Bass - Sam Bettley
Drums - James Cassells

Asking Alexandria are a British metalcore band from York, North Yorkshire. Founded in 2008 when Ben Bruce (lead guitar) contacted his old companions upon returning to the UK after residing in Dubai. 

Asking Alexandria have their roots in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, wherein guitarist Ben Bruce started a band and released one full-length album (titled The Irony of Your Perfection) with the group under the name Asking Alexandria. The band shortly afterwards broke-up and Bruce made a statement at a later date that the band known as Asking Alexandria from Dubai only had the name for about a month before leading to their disbandment, hence the band never embarked on a tour.

Official Facebook:

Asking Alexandria - Final Episode(Let's Change The Channel)
Play it!

     From what I’ve seen, it appears most people either love or hate this band. I happen to be of those who love them ^_^. Their music is headbanging metalcore with percussive staccato guitar playing, thunderous drumming, catchy choruses, menacing brutal growls and danceable techno breakdowns. Yep, that’s right, I said techno breakdowns. Their brand of metalcore happens to be electronic tinged and covers influences from emo and deathcore to 80's rock in a ultra polished sound production.

     A listen to any Asking Alexandria song should leave the listener with a few things. The aforementioned tight and clean sound production, Danny Warsnop’s vicious roars and growls, thunderous pummeling drums and memorable melodic choruses. Of course, let’s not forget the skillfully programmed electronic passages. They may not be present on every single AA song, but they do make their way into several tracks on each of their albums. Some may be less overt than others, but they are often used as bridges and provide a danceable break, before a song returns to it’s heavy mosh pit climax.( A Candlelit Dinner With Inamorta)

     It’s clear the band’s has the electronic side of things covered with Ben Bruce and the help of producer Joey Sturgis, and that’s no exception on the metalcore side of things. Ben and Cameron take care of the guitars. They’re percussive, short and often palm muted notes and power chords are a big part of the bands sound. They add extra heaviness to the breakdowns and fills by locking in rhythmically with the quick blasts of the double bass drums. Bass player Sam Bettely is no exception either. 

     However, the heavy use of open powerchords has been a major source of negative criticism for the band, but as Ben Bruce once said regarding the issue; “Sometimes less is more”. The rhythmic chugging may not be very technical, but it gets does get the job done and always complements the songs. Chugging aside, Ben and Cameron do show glimpses of being capable guitarist by using fleet hammer on’s and off’s, cleverly placed pinch harmonics and the use of blues inspired leads. And on a song like Someone, Somewhere, Ben shows he’s quite capable of soloing.

     Drummer James Cassel can be describe as the beast behind the drums. His playing style is powerful and heavy yet tight and clean. A requisite for any drummer in the metal genre. His controlled quick fire furious double bass drumming is praiseworthy as is his use of the toms for drum fills and beats. Lastly, we have Danny Warsnop taking charge of the vocals. His boomy growls are brutal and bare-boned. They border on being deathcore growls and emit unchained aggression. Combined with his forlorn emotional screams and high pitched squalls, his metal singing style is multidimensional and brutal. To balance out his growls, Danny’s clean singing is melodic, clear-cut, bright and can at times adopt a rock, emo or pop sound.(Right Now, Na,Na,Na) Perfect for the band’s catchy choruses.  

     Lyrically, the band takes up a shallow and self indulgent stance. Writing about drug use, having sex with groupies, alcohol use and revenge on ex-girlfriends. There are moments of meaningful lyrics and interesting topics, but most of the time the song writing is very straightforward. The band has matured and progressed and refined both their sound and lyrics on their second album, the much more sinister Reckless and Relentless and even more so on their latest single Run Free. And just like their lyrics, the band has matured from bragging about their heavy partying, drug use, and hanging out with groupies, to being less like the debauchery 80's rock bands that inspire them. 

     If you’re an open minded metal fan, or a metalcore fan in general, you might just get hooked on AA’s brand of metal. Their super-clean and unpretentious debut, Stand Up and Scream, and the more refined and darker follow up, Reckless and Relentless are albums to check out. Fan's can expect their full-length third album to drop in March of 2013. And any Asking Alexandria naysayer needs to give a song like Morte Et Dabo a listen. It is AA at their peak. A bleak and dark song with a haunting choir, brutal growls and screams, chaotic drumming, shards of sinister industrial programming and a emotional clean chorus with a driving melodic guitar riff.   

Asking Alexandria - Closure

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