Review: Asking Alexandria’s ‘The Black’

 

You’re looking for new music. Something….loud, exciting, metal. Well, let me point you in the direction of Asking Alexandria’s new album, The Black. And if you’re a die-hard fan who’s already played it 17 times, then nod in agreement as I explore everything that’s right with this record.

After what can only be described as an excruciating wait for Asking Alexandria fans, their much-anticipated album, The Black, has finally be released. Naturally, since the departure of Danny last year, there have been a lot of questions about the direction the band would take – namely whether it would be up or down. Despite newcomer Denis Stoff (who has already more than become a part of the ‘AA Family’) displaying his impressive vocals on pre-released singles ‘I Won’t Give In’ and ‘Let It Sleep’, as well as smashinglive performances with the band, some couldn’t help but wonder if The Black would shape up to previous AA albums. Well let me tell you, this is the album by which future AA music will be set against.

‘Let It Sleep’ opens the album in an explosive way, with Denis’ screams coming through right at the start – giving a good taste of exactly what his voice can do. It is also the most Asking Alexandria-style track on this record and it’s definitely comforting to hear that the band have stayed true to their music and themselves. Follow-up tracks ‘The Black’ and – my personal favourite – ‘I Won’t Give In’ continue the upward spiral of quality that AA have begun to produce. Ten months ago, ‘I Won’t Give In’ was released and received as the confirmation that Denis Stoff was perfect for the band. Ten months later, the hard-hitting lyrics, powerful vocals and awesome guitar riffs still blow me away.

The Black features a couple of ballads in the form of ‘Send Me Home’ and ‘Gone’ – the former quickly becoming a fan favourite and with good reason. Whilst neither of these are fast-paced, head-banging songs, they’re nice reminders that metal is about a lot more than screams and crazy riffs. Besides, they’re kickass songs anyway.

That said, I have no complaint when screams and crazy riffs are introduced, especially in the form of penultimate song ‘Undivided’. Starting with a short but slow build up that isn’t unlike From Death to Destiny’s ‘Don’t Pray for Me’, ‘Undivided’ quickly erupts into a mix of screams, a heavy drum sequence and fast guitars. The song maintains its intensity throughout, making the perfect track for some early concert moshing. New set opener, guys?

A rarity among albums that I listen to, I have genuinely failed to come across a song I don’t like or am not a major fan of in The Black. So, to anyone who had their doubts about whether the band would remain great without Danny, I can assure you they are better than ever before. As to whether this is their best album yet, it’s probably too soon to say. But I can say, it’s nothing short of brilliant.

 

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