Asking Alexandria - 'Like A House On Fire' Album Review


Tracklist:

1. House On Fire

2. They Don't Want What We Want (And They Don’t Care)

3. Down to Hell

4. Antisocialist

5. I Don't Need You

6. All Due Respect

7. Take Some Time

8. One Turns To None

9. It's Not Me (It's You)

10. Here's to Starting Over

11. What's Gonna Be

12. Give You Up

13. In My Blood

14. The Violence

15. Lorazepam

British Metal heavyweights Asking Alexandria have returned for their sixth studio album, 'Like A House On Fire', released through Sumerian Records, and the followup to 2017’s self titled effort, which marked a departure from their regular sound.

It is clear from the beginning of the album that the change in sound was not a one off and is indeed here to stay. Opening track ‘House On Fire’ begins eerily, launches into a massive arena Rock riff, then falls off into an electronic-fuelled verse. The real saving grace of the song comes about two thirds in where I feel the band really let loose for a few bars, but that’s about it. It’s by no means a bad song, but it’s not a standout, and proves rather forgettable in the grand scheme of the album, and indeed Asking Alexandria’s discography as a whole.

I feel track two, ‘They Don’t Want What We Want (And They Don’t Care)’ would be a better fit as the opening track to the album. It’s a blend of heavier riffs with their newer and, for lack of a better term, softer sound. It has an aggression and attitude about it that is reminiscent of albums like 'Stand Up And Scream', especially with lyrics like ‘they were supposed to be protectors not o-fucking-pressors’. It explodes towards the end with a breakdown that is simultaneously heavy with a tonne of groove to it. This is the sound I want for this album, and works incredibly as a single for the album, but Asking Alexandria don’t necessarily hit that same mark with every track.

The album takes a much softer turn on the album with ‘I Don’t Need You’, which features Grace Grundy. Now I’m certainly not opposed to tracks like this, quite the opposite as they can be some of my favourite tracks on albums, but ‘I Don’t Need You’ just doesn’t quite gel with me. To me, it’s too stripped back. I don’t think Danny Worsnop is a bad vocalist, in fact he’s very good and has a great, distinct voice, but I think this feels very much like a Danny Worsnop song, not an Asking Alexandria song, as I think the rest of the band aren’t given as much importance, and the track suffers for it.

There are some moments where I feel like this album could shine. Tracks like ‘Take Some Time’ give a great blend of electronica with heavy riffs, and I feel like the band are having a lot of fun on this, reflecting the approach to writing and recording that they took for this album, not doing it all in a single block, but spread out in chunks between tours. The same can be said with the track ‘One Turns To None’, which also brings in a string section and feels absolutely huge and has some of Ben Bruce’s best guitar work on the release.

The approach to writing they’ve taken, however, also hinders the album in my eyes. It feels like two different albums merged into one, with high and low energy tracks mixed around in an interesting order. I’m not objecting to artists branching out and trying different things, they have every right to, but it doesn’t necessarily always work. 'Like A House On Fire' is an album that branches out but doesn’t quite fully hit that sweet spot that other releases have this year. It has a lot of potential, but is ultimately, and unfortunately, a bit forgettable.

Website - http://www.askingalexandria.com/

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/askingalexandria

Review - Gordon Rae

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