Those metalheads who consider themselves fans of Asking Alexandria, of which I am one, were surprised, devastated and afraid when the news broke that Danny Worsnop had left the band. There were several interviews with AA founder and guitarist Ben Bruce for months about the split and all things in between that left fans wondering if the band's future was hanging on by the thinnest of threads. Then in May of 2015 new singer Denis Shaforostov, known as Denis Stoff, was announced as the new singer and shortly after "I Won't Give In" was released as the band's first single in the post Worsnop era. With the approach of 'The Black' release I was anxiously awaiting to get my hands on the full-length to see what was in store for me.
'The Black' is exactly what I had hoped for with the new Asking Alexandria album. It has a mix of the band's "bread and butter" type songs with some newer sounding tracks as well. As I listen to it more and more it's evident that the addition of Denis Stoff has injected new life and gave them a pretty big springboard to become the band that they had always hoped to be. The songs on the album are so damn catchy and Stoff's vocals are absolutely incredible. I was asking myself "Danny who" each time his clean vocals came on and those screams…man those screams are just insanely good!
One of the big things I noticed on the album is the use of electronics and sampling hasn't really fluctuated at all, which is great especially since that's been one of the band's signature. There is definitely an underlying reference to Worsnop a couple of times, especially in the song "Sometimes It Ends" with their being audio from an interview with Bruce talking about the whole situation and how Denis helped him get past it. The band dynamic has become so revitalized and it shows on tracks like "I Won't Give In", "The Black" and "Undivided". Those tracks just get you bouncing and have so much weight to them. The clean vocal section in "The Black" is hands down my favorite vocal performance on the record with Bruce's soft vocals giving way to Stoff's soaring vocals. And the heaviness factor is definitely back in the mix, an element that was sorely lacking on 2013's 'From Death to Destiny'.
All in all 'The Black' is the album that will re-establish AA as a metal force and will bring fans back into the fold as well as garner many new fans. I'm excited to see where the band goes from here, with Stoff and Bruce clearly steering the ship together.
About this Writer: Greg Watson // Greg Watson has been hooked on the loud and heavy sounds since the summer of 1994 when he first heard the opening notes of "Operation: Mindcrime" by Queensryche. Since then his tastes have expanded and grown like the ever evolving heavy metal tree of genres. He has been an active member of Maximum Metal off and on for 10 years. In his spare time, Greg enjoys deciding the fate of his loyal subjects in the realm of Skyrim and secretly playing air keyboard to "Separate Ways" by Journey when no one is watching. He currently resides in Roanoke, VA with his wife and his metal wannabe beagle.
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