Asking Alexandria – ‘Where Do We Go From Here?’

By Katherine Allvey

After fifteen years of dedication and seven studio albums, not to mention frontmen coming in and out like a cat next to an open door, Asking Alexandria know what works for them. So much so, in fact, that on their most release, ‘Where Do We Go From Here?’, they’ve decided to create a musical smoothie of all their favourite parts of their sound. “We worked really hard to incorporate every aspect of what our fans love about Asking Alexandria,” says guitarist Ben Bruce. “We have taken elements from every single record we have ever written and pieced them all together to create one album.” It’s a tactic that pays off; by refining their recipe and amplifying their speed, scream power and synth addiction, they’ve created the most definitive Asking Alexandria album to date. They’ve fermented their rock star dreams into a neat, gift-wrapped bottle like a vintage wine, albeit with some sediment lurking at the bottom.

For all the Joker rhetoric, the first single ‘Psycho’ sounds like Maroon 5 cosplaying as a metal band. “I love to get attention, attention’s all I need,” brags vocalist Danny Worksnop. However, don’t let that clunky line or a relatively weak choice of initial drop put you off ‘Where Do We Go From Here?’. Similarly, the soap opera schmalz of the title track, which closes the album, isn’t reflective of the rest of the tracks. Why they decided to finish with sub-par Ed Sheeran nonsense is a mystery, unless they’d worn themselves out recording the good stuff and needed a little rest.

In all fairness though, everyone needs a lie down after a track like ‘Bad Blood’. This is the sound of the band Asking Alexandria were always meant to be. It’s complex, playful and blasts heat like a flamethrower wielded over the crowd; in short, it’s what Asking Alexandria could do all along. Maybe they’ve had a lot of Red Bull, or switched breakfast cereal brands. Ultimately, what’s caused their sudden spike in energy is irrelevant because the result is songs like ‘Things Could Be Different’. Hyper-real in its video game drama, it featues layers upon layers of neon degradation. ‘Let The Dead Take Me’ is another strong offering, with a move towards more challenging lyrics that extend further than just playground taunts. In the interim between 2021 and now, Asking Alexandria have finally shaken off their lethargy and learned to fly.

Thankfully, they’ve also reined in their tendency to believe that slower songs automatically have more emotional intensity. Instead, they’ve turned towards atmospheric buildups and near-silent vocal focus to highlight their increasingly intelligent sentiments, used to maximum effect on ‘Dark Void’ and ‘Let Go’. The latter’s grinder guitars add gritty industrial energy to an already impressive track. Asking Alexandria also gets massive points for including one-minute-long grindcore screamer ‘Kill It With Fire’, which is so at odds with the rest of the album but serves as a palate cleanser between the more worthy tracks.

Where does Ask Alexandria go from here? They’ve set the bar very high for their future records, barring a few lacklustre songs that don’t mar this eighth outing too much. With a high profile US tour in their near future, there’s the potential to use this strong album release to rid themselves of a turgid back catalogue. Now they, and we, know what an Asking Alexandria record should sound like. This album is bound to be remembered as the point when their careers made a huge leap forward.

KATE ALLVEY

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