web analytics
Tag Archives: Asking Alexandria

Top 10 2017 by Yannick

Another year comes to an end and while it has, arguably, had the lowest of lows in the history of mankind in some areas, it has also stood for acceptance and social evolution in many other areas. However, what is truly relevant at least on this platform is the music…and it has definitely been another strong year with many brilliant releases. I’m here to give you my personal top 10, which will, again, include a majority of records that I didn’t get to review.

#10 While She Sleeps – You Are We

I’ve seen WSS live twice over the past few years and while I was always impressed by their energetic and spot-on performance, their albums never really convinced me. However, with You Are We the quintet have definitely hit a new level and managed to put themselves not only on my radar but gained my deep appreciation.

#9 Paramore – After Laughter

What started out as a crush on the lead singer all those years ago when Misery Business was released, developed into a real fascination with their music by the time they released their self-titled record five years ago. Naturally when they announced a new record, I was fairly excited and looking forward to their evolution; and After Laughter did not disappoint: not only was the music fresh, but the songs were also lyrically very honest, at times even too much.

#8 Taylor Swift – Reputation

Well. How do I put this? After buying the previous record when Shake It Off was released, I realized that it’s actually great pop! When the first single off the new one was released I felt a bit disappointed but I decided to give the record a chance anyways…and I was rewarded. It’s debatable, but I would say that this is her best record to that. Give it a shot, seriously!

#7 Adventurer – Sacred Grove (review)

When I first discovered Adventurer, around three years ago, I was immediately enamored with their chaotic yet highly melodic sound, reminiscent of The Fall Of Troy. Naturally, I was super hyped for their, at the time already announced, full-length album…but it took until fairly recently to be released. And the wait was definitely worth the while! You can read more thoughts on it in my review.

#6 Andrés – Strange Memories On This Nervous Night

By far my biggest surprise-discovery this year was Andrés! His tongue-in-cheek lyrics, his charismatic performances and his pure talent simply shine in every corner of his debut solo album! I had the chance to meet him earlier this year in London and I’m confident in saying that the future will hold some big things for this dude. Get on the hype train before it’s too late!

#5 Wolf & Bear – Everything Is Going Grey

Let’s not kid ourselves…pretty much every Blue Swan release will usually make it on my top 10. The second one on the list, so far, is the debut album of Wolf & Bear, a band that is fairly similar to Dance Gavin Dance in terms of their setup (they even share the same bassist), but are different altogether in their song structures and sound. This one has been on heavy rotation for quite a while on my playlist.

#4 Asking Alexandria – Asking Alexandria

Another, so to speak, surprise entry: the fifth full-length by Asking Alexandria was just released five days ago, but I can safely say that the return of their original singer was the best thing that could happen to the band. A re-vitalized sound, a very open-minded songwriting and a lot of weird, but good, stylistic choices make the self-titled album a force to be reckoned with and put the quintet back on the map.

#3 Trivium – The Sin And The Sentence

When Trivium released their screamless Silence In The Snow, I accepted their change of direction and was ready to follow them down that path. But when the first teaser for their eighth studio album was released, I knew that I might have lied to myself at the time. Because THIS is what I first loved about the band: a perfect blend of heavy and melodic with loads and loads of details to be discovered with every subsequent listen. TSATS is the epitome of what this band is about and I can only recommend it to everyone!

#2 Julien Baker – Turn Out The Lights

This one is a bit weird for me…since I haven’t even listened to it more than ten times. But I feel like it deserves a spot this far up simply for what it did to me on every single listen. Julien Baker‘s debut album already affected me deeply, but Turn Out The Lights is one a whole new level. It is not for everyone, but for me it was a very cathartic experience that I believe should be had by everyone.

Eternity Forever – Fantasy
Hail The Sun – Secret Wars
Happy Hour – What’s Your Poison
Push Over – Demo

I know, I know, I’m kind of bending my own fictitious rules here…but this year saw the release of quite a few really solid EPs, that I think deserve a quick shout-out! Two of those feature one of my favorite vocalists, Kurt Travis, and they are both very different. The, sadly, already defunct Eternity Forever is one of the dreamiest things I’ve gotten to hear all year and Push Over is a fun project with Thomas Erak, of TFOT. Happy Hour is another very DGD-y band, but they managed to stand out to me because of some very unusual elements like a reggae part in one song. Another band that I have fairly high hopes for. And last, but certainly not least, is Hail The Sun‘s new release Secret Wars, which has them going back to their roots, so to speak and just delivers on every single level. What a treat!

#1 A Lot Like Birds – Divisi (review)
Sufferer – Sufferer
Eidola – To Speak, To Listen (review)

While last year had a clear winner, this year I will have to settle for a three-way tie. I’ve written reviews about two of these, so I will just say a few words about the one that eluded me. In the past I’ve dealt with anxiety quite a bit and, while I never dove into real depression, it has definitely made many aspects of my life fairly difficult and it was a real struggle to overcome the hard times. While I have managed to rid myself of the majority of those things on my own, Sufferer is a record that, I feel, can serve as a form of self-therapy to some people out there. (note: of course it does not replace actual therapy) It certainly put a lot of things into perspective for me and, besides, it is just a phenomenal work of musical art.

All in all, I really enjoyed the dynamic this year. I was a bit more active, writing fifteen reviews, and I managed to cover all the local releases that were relevant, to me. However, looking into the future at the moment is a bit weird since, aside from a new Dance Gavin Dance record, I have very few albums I’m actively looking forward to…maybe 2018 will be the year of surprises!

Asking Alexandria – From Death To Destiny

I am a person that is very fond of routine and I dislike sudden major changes in my life, while that might be considered a strength or a weakness depending on your personal attitude, I am absolutely in favor of change, read evolution, in music. There is nothing I like more than a band stepping out of their comfort zone and writing an album that sounds, almost, nothing like their previous endeavors. Earlier this year Bring Me The Horizon did a phenomenal job in that domain, and now it’s the turn of another rather influential band of the genre to do the same. If you haven’t guessed by the cover, I’m talking about Asking Alexandria who recently released their third record From Death To Destiny.

While the twelve songs do still bare the signature AA sound, they are so different from especially the debut record, Stand Up And Scream, that I was wondering whether there had been a mix-up in the pressing. After the intro which, fun fact, features soundbites from the singer’s drunk escapades at one of their early concerts, you are confronted with very melodic riffing and singing. While there is still the typical “chug-chug” stuff, the songs just sound way more mature and structured.

It goes further than that however, because so far my description might as well be of their second album Reckless & Relentless. Personally, the entire forty-seven minutes remind me of eighties rock and heavy metal in many and more passages with a healthy dose of metalcore. If I had to describe it in one, alas made-up, word I’d say: rock-core. To fans of the first hour this mix will certainly seem strange at first, but if you give it a chance to seep in, you might come to same conclusion as me: this is what Asking Alexandria should sound like.

Another aspect, that seems to be a trend this year, is that the vocals (and lyrics) have vastly improved in comparison to previous works. Singer Danny Worsnop damaged his vocal chords in late 2012 and subsequently went through rigorous vocal training, resulting in a noticeable change of his screams and growls. His clean vocals on the other hand sound very similar to before but simply better executed. Again, the “new” heavy vocals might scare some people off at first but they fit the music perfectly.

As a closing statement I can only say that this album is definitely the band’s musically soundest release and while they have strayed far from their original sound, it is the best thing that could have happened since these days only the daring bands can survive. And trust me: these guys will survive for a long time. Check out the band’s Facebook page and give the song below a listen; I picked a non-single track on purpose to better illustrate what I mean.

In The Name Of – This Will All Make Sense Soon

Today’s review needs a little introduction, since in recent times I’ve never heard of this happening to a metal band, or at least it was not openly acknowledged: In The Name Of is, what you could call, a casting band. In 2010 the vocalist Tyler Small started the band, with Danny Worsnop of Asking Alexandria (fun fact: I’ve lost count of how often I’ve mentioned AA in my reviews) acting as manager. They recruited several band members over the course of, roughly, half a year and started recording almost immediately.

The first result did not impress me much, but it was just a rough edit of a song so I didn’t really lose interest in the band itself but I stopped checking their page regularly. A bit more than a year later, in late 2012, I saw that they were about to release their first record completely for free via Facebook. I was assuming that it’d be nothing more than a handful of songs but I was surprised to see that it was a full album with eleven songs. So now, without further ado, here is my review of said record: This Will All Make Sense Soon.

The album starts with a couple of acoustic chords but quickly picks up the pace with finest metalcore coming at you. The similarities between ITNO and AA are hard to miss but it’s not to the point where it’s a bother, at least to me. The guitars as well as the drums have a surprisingly good sound, considering that the band is unsigned and has only had, I’d imagine, access to limited funds. I must say that the entire production value is at a pretty sick level, another factor that made my jaw drop the first I listened through the thirty-nine minutes. The songwriting might not blow away everything that has ever been written but it’s solid, with a good sense for catchiness in the choruses, so no critique there.

The one thing that might put you off at first is the vocalist’s clean singing. It’s a bit “whiny” at first, but you get used to it quickly and, at least that was the case for me, you’ll enjoy them after, at the latest, your first listen-through of the album. His screams and growls on the other hand are on an excellent level and you’ll feel right at home. Additional support is given by Nick Arthur of Molotov Solution and Sean Neumann of This Romantic Tragedy on the songs Evoker and Discord, respectively.

To sum it up: give these guys a chance if you like the above-mentioned band or similar stuff, you will not be disappointed. And if you’ve never listened to anything of the kind, this might actually be a good start, especially since you can listen to it absolutely for free on their Facebook page. Here’s to hoping that the band is going to keep up the same level of output and possibly go on tour in the near future. They have my support for sure! You know the drill: song below if you need convincing.

Capture The Crown – Til Death

In the couple of years that I’ve been listening to metalcore and similar music I’ve seldom seen one band receive as much hate as Capture The Crown. The reason for all this malice is that people argued that they blatantly copied Asking Alexandria‘s style from their Stand Up And Scream era. This includes: the way they dress, their musical style, their lyrical content and so on. I have to admit that back when I heard their first single You Call That A Knife? This Is A Knife! I had the same impression and opinion…but since I usually don’t judge a band after a single song I decided to wait for their first full length. In late 2012 they announced that their debut Til Death would be released in December 2012 via Sumerian Records, which wasn’t really a surprise since they have also signed AA. But enough back story, let’s get down to business.

Already during the intro you’ll know what direction this record is taking: metalcore infused with electronic elements. The guitars come at you with great ferocity and even though the main riffs are pretty generic, there are a lot of tasty licks to keep it from being monotonous. And, as you may or may not know, even though I usually have a hard time to hear the bass lines, there is absolutely no problem here, they are clearly distinguishable.

The drums throughout the fourteen songs are nothing awe-inducing but they do exactly what they are supposed to do: keep the beat and rhythm. So no complaints there. The vocals vary between deep growls, high screeches and clean singing and are altogether very well executed. The lyrics are laden with curse words but if you’re not too much of a wimp when it comes to that it shouldn’t bother you.

There’s only one small gripe during this forty-eight minute album: the “dubstep” song Storm In A Tea Cup is just awful, especially with the auto-tuned vocals…but I’m not a big fan of stuff like that to begin with. But since it’s easily skipped it doesn’t bother me much when I listen to the entire record.

All in all, I’d say that CTC have managed to make a respectable first step into the scene and that they’re definitely worth checking out, especially if you liked the above mentioned Asking Alexandria album. I’m eager to follow their evolution and I hope that people will at one point look past the prejudices and just accept the band’s style, be it original or not. Check out their Facebook page and listen to the song below!