Asking Alexandria has been on an absolute tear since the reunion of lead singer Danny Worsnop with the rest of the band. The late 2017 self-titled album cranked out so many quality songs that it’s hard to believe it’s been over two years since that release. In the past few years, the members of the band have all gotten sober- an element that guitarist Ben Bruce says had a big impact on the new album, Like A House On Fire, out as of May 15, 2020 via Sumerian Records.
The record opens with a heavy riff at the beginning of “House on Fire,” a very catchy, chorus-driven song. The verse is heavy with a driving bass riff that opens up into a resonating chorus with a simple chant that will fare well when the world returns to live music. “They Don’t Want What We Want (And They Don’t Care)” comes next with vocals that are raw and aggressive, and the chorus is another larger-than-life, catchy showing. A recent criticism of the band is that they’ve adapted more pop-driven elements, but I don’t see where they sacrificed the heavy to do so, and this is an excellent example.
“Down to Hell” is an experimental track with quick spoken lyrics and interesting melodies. “Antisocialist” is one of my favorite tracks of the year. It’s not the heaviest track on the record by any means, but it is so damn fun. The lyrics are amazing and every one of us has been in this situation where you are just annoyed and don’t want to be bothered by bullshit.
The record takes a shift at this point into some uncharted territory for the band. Though this has brought the haters out in full effect, it’s not like it is a complete shift for the band. Worsnop has such a unique and strong voice that demands respect for stepping out. “All Due Respect” is on the slower side but has a heavy, grinding chorus. “Take Some Time” is slower-paced with a bluesy feel, picking up toward the end to add a heavy element layered on top. This carries over into “One Turns To None” which is still slow, but not to be mistaken with a hollow, heavy feel. The use of melodic fillers in the background of the verse highlights the heavy bass-driven, low tones in the chorus.
The undeniably heavy, hasty riffs return for “It’s Not Me (It’s You)” and is brilliantly placed in the track listing to pick the pace back up. This song gets me pumped up like I haven’t been in years. “Here’s to Starting Over” is a solid back and forth song transitioning from quiet and empty to a full, over-the-top sound and back again. The last segment of this song has a powerful, emotional feel. “Give You Up” possesses an immense amount of star power. It contains diverse elements, almost building off an EDM vibe with a heavier, guitar-driven feel. “In My Blood” is another song that I can see getting a wide scope of attention. The song has heavy elements but is very melodic and musically sound at the same time.
The closing of the album starts with the first single from the effort, “The Violence.” This song is synonymous with the heavy guitar and bass riff the flows throughout. It’s catchy, but at the same time has a gritty dissonance that really sets it apart. The record closes out with “Lorazepam,” showcasing Worsnop at his finest. The heavy, bluesy vocals take this track over. It has a nice groove to the music, laid back throughout the verse and really takes off into that signature sound for the chorus. The end winds down slowly and softly until it tapers off into nothing, and with that, the record is done.
Like A House On Fire is one of my favorite albums of the year so far. It’s not without its critics; there are long-time fans putting the band on blast for losing their edge, a growing and ugly trend in metal, but the effort still has the heavy elements with a broader appeal. The record is genuine and tells the bands story- if you prefer the old stuff, that’s great! No one is taking it away from you. It’s my opinion that this is the best work yet from a band that has delivered big on several albums. But don’t take my word for it- that feedback is echoed by rock icon Corey Taylor, who knows a thing or two about heavy bands evolving.