Release Date: 25 March 2016
Review by Alex Sievers
The Black is one-half commercial metal/rock, one-half heavy-hitting metalcore and that has been Asking Alexandria’s bread and butter since day one and was integral in their initial (and continual) success. While the formula is basically still the same, the songs are vastly better and I was genuinely surprised to find myself singing along to the title track, Here I Am, Sometimes It Ends, Just A Slave To Rock n’ Roll, Circled By The Wolves and We’ll Be Okay – all of which were my favourite cuts off this album.
Some songs didn’t get my seal of approval, like the ballad anthem Gone and I Won’t Give In, for instance, but the good just manages to outweigh the average (The Lost Souls) and the just plain awful (Gone). And sure, this album isn’t going to be my favourite release of 2016 as musically, it is pretty generic for the genre with plenty of dual vocals alternating between the verses and choruses, and typical breakdowns and generic guitar chugs abound. Oh, and it is filled with this style’s very cliché production methods, like those vocal cut-up edits which got really old after the second time you did it, lads.
This is Asking Alexandria’s first album with their new vocalist Denis Stoff, who used to sing for the severely average MySpace era bands, Make Me Famous and Down & Dirty, but he suits Asking Alexandria very well. He’s got some good screams and a great singing range to boot, and he brings their sound back to the old days.
Asking Alexandria have also done the mature thing and kept a lot of the interpersonal BS about their split with singer Danny Worsnop out of the limelight here, which was really nice to see and not have to deal with any nonsense beef tracks and messy internal politics here.
While I don’t think that The Black is necessarily a great album in the grand scheme of things, for my money it’s the best work Asking Alexandria have done to date.