Asking Alexandria - Stand Up and Scream
Record Label: Sumerian
Release date: September 15, 2009
Asking Alexandria has been through a lot since 2003. Starting as Amongst Us, becoming EndofReason and then the original Asking Alexandria. Ben Bruce was the only constant member throughout the projects. He moved from the UAE to England and still managed to start a band. His work paid off when he got Asking Alexandria II signed to Sumerian Records. Am I ever glad he did.
Asking Alexandria falls under the scope of many genres: metalcore, post-hardcore, deathcore, and even trance at some times. They sound like some massive street orgasm between Attack Attack!, Suicide Silence, The Devil Wears Prada, August Burns Red, and Breathe Carolina (I'll go into more detail on that later).
The album opens with the intro entitled "Alerion," which, oddly enough, refers to an eagle with legs or a beak. I don't know why they chose this title, but the song on it's own is a little bit boring. It opens with a phone call that sounds like a woman asking if anyone is there, followed by random Muzak, and finally starting into the techno beat. The song then has what sounds like a stereotypical metalcore breakdown over a mysterious synth sound. The song then abruptly stops, and the band proclaims "Fuck this!". These are the opening words of an album to follow suit. The song then has a slightly modified term ("Cross my heart I hope you die") and ends simply ends with a long chord.
The strangeness of the opening track dissolves immediately in "Final Episode (Let's Change the Channel)". This, however, isn't good. The song is extremely stereotypical to metal/deathcore music. However, there is a trance/electronica build-up where Danny Worsnop sounds almost exactly like David Schmitt of Breathe Carolina, then a breakdown. I still find myself listening to this song, though, even though it is very generic. Luckily, the tacky sound of "Final Episode" changes for the better in "A Candlelit Dinner With Inamorta." It begins with a heavily syncopated guitar rhythm with drums to match. The song then changes to what sounds like near pop-punk, strangely enough. As soon as it changed, it goes back into a deathcore-ish breakdown, followed by a British person yelling, and then another deathcore breakdown. Then it goes to pop-punkish again. In case you haven't noticed, this album changes between genres quickly. It then goes to trance, with chants over the beat. Then, Asking Alexandria decides to pull another AA: Attack Attack! They use a similar method of distortion that makes Danny Worsnop sound almost exactly like Austin Carlile. Now, I'd say I've said enough about this must-get-if-anything track.
"Nobody Don't Dance No More" has an extremely good breakdown and good clean vocals, but doesn't particularly stand out in any other ways. Its follow up track, "Hey There Mr. Brooks" featuring Shawn Milke (Alesana), is extremely good, and features the best guitar work of the album. Shawn Milke's clean vocal appearance is outstanding, and I honestly think one of the main reason I listen to this song is to hear Shawn Milke. Oddly enough, I hate Alesana. He needs to keep his vocals like this. Anyway, this song is clearly about him murdering someone (I take the spade I slit your throat / You fall into your grave I cover up my tracks / I'm done I won't kill again). The song almost sounds like he's been gone for a long time and he's visiting a girlfriend or something (I'll be there in the morning with a smile with on my face / I'll be there in the morning to start it up again). This is another must-have track, even if you (like me) don't enjoy Alesana.
The thing is, this album is so unique, I don't think I can get through every song. So I'll skip to the only song that could be considered bad on this album. It's called "Not the American Average." It has the lyrics of a 50 Cent or Eminem song, as it is almost entirely about having sex with someone you don't know (Clothes trailing from the backdoor to the bedroom / And I don't even know your name). He also says that the girl he's sleeping with looks like a whore (I knew when I first saw you / I knew you'd fuck like a whore / Take it all the way / You stupid fucking whore). If you listen to songs for the lyrics, make sure to avoid this. If you enjoy songs for their sound, I personally love this.
Overall, despite it's flaws, this album is the best album I've heard from Sumerian since I See Stars' 3-D. I would highly recommend getting these guys if you like genre and tempo changes. However, if you listen to music for lyrics, you will want to pass on them, as one of the songs ("A Prophecy") literally pauses just to yell "fuck!" at you. It swears throughout the whole album, and you can hear it clearly. Nonetheless, this is an extremely good album, and I'm looking forward to the sophomore release.
I've heard most of this album...I would have agree that the lyrics seemed pretty dumb. From what I have heard, they sound very similar (musically, at least) to The Devil Wears Prada...very similar. The only thing they seem to do different is throw in a lot more dance/trance parts, which reminds me of Attack Attack! and We Came as Romans. Ultimately, I probably wouldn't listen to this band just based on what I've heard from them.