Asking Alexandria

Reckless & Relentless

Written by: AP on 12/06/2011 20:05:41

Despite being written in a drug and alcohol binge, "Reckless & Relentless" sees Asking Alexandria offer a more mature rendition of their fashionable sound than their debut album, "Stand Up and Scream". Less reliant on strange eurodance infusions, the approach here is traditional and the songwriting vastly improved, featuring huge choruses and orchestral samples to beef up the many breakdowns - though it must be said that any improvement on the rampant adolescence of "Stand Up and Scream" would have constituted a significant step in the right direction for a band that, despite their strange obsession with crunk, have always shown a degree of potential.

Nowhere is this potential more apparent than in vocalist Danny Worsnop, who needs no auto-tune to correct his soaring clean vocals nor multiple layers to deepen his beastly growls. Too bad then that the remnant musicians still prefer breakdowns and chug over substance, resulting in a disastrous amount of redundancy on a near track-by-track basis. The finest moments on "Reckless & Relentless" are those where rehashed staccato riffs have been replaced with enormous chords and Worsnop's emotive clean singing, such as in the songs "To the Stage", "Someone, Somewhere", and "Breathless", all instantly catchy towering anthems that, for the first time ever, tempt the use of the word quality in the context of an Asking Alexandria record.

There are a number of such moments scattered within other songs, such as "Dear Insanity" and "A Lesson Never Learned", too, but these glimpses of hope are swiftly eclipsed by yet another never ending breakdown (case in point: "The Match"). What also bothers me about "Reckless & Relentless" is that although Worsnop's vocals have clearly improved, he now tends to play it a little safe, thus lacking the slightly unhinged feel of brainless songs like "I Was Once, Possibly, Maybe, Perhaps, a Cowboy King". But if this outgrowth is what it takes for Asking Alexandria to break free of their scenester stigma and cash in on their potential, then I'd be more than happy to bask in his current, allegedly 80's influenced singing, which, as mentioned, is a vast improvement considering from a technical standpoint.

Another new feature, as hinted at in the preamble, is the use of symphonic and orchestral samples in a number of songs, most notably "Another Bottle Down". Unfortunately, while the idea is decent, remembering Bring Me the Horizon's excellent "There Is a Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let's Keep It a Secret", the execution is not, as rather than using them to form the backbone for the song, the strings and organs make their entry during breakdowns only, rendering them effectively pointless. The bottom line is that while "Reckless & Relentless" is a step in the right direction, it suffers from a lack of ideas, ultimately resulting in an album that is depressingly repetitive. It's decent stuff, but in order to rise above their many contemporaries, Asking Alexandria need to carve out their own niche and craft a sound that is truly their own.

Download: Dear Insanity; To the Stage; Someone, Somewhere; Breathless
For the fans of: The Devil Wears Prada, Miss May I, We Came as Romans
Listen: Myspace

Release date 04.04.2011
Sumerian Records

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