By Cutter’b Pritchard, staff writer
If you are looking for gut wrenching, heart warming metal, then you need to head bang your way out of the mosh pit and buy “The Black.” The newest album by English metalcore band, Asking Alexandria, was released on March 25 through Sumerian Records. The album goes back to where the band should have progressed in their careers after the release of their sophomore album, “Reckless and Relentless,” but still touches base with their recent releases. It combines rock ‘n roll of the past and the present. After rigorous years of performing, recording, and touring with the band, former frontman Danny Worsnop departed to focus on his rock band We Are Harlot. After this news, many fans were questioning the future of the band. But Ben Bruce, lead guitarist and founding member of the quintet, had just the right man for the job.
“It had to be Denis,” Bruce said. Denis “Stoff” Shaforostov was the guitarist and clean vocalist for the band Make Me Famous that had a very similar sound to Asking Alexandria. He was also the frontman of labelmate Down and Dirty, which also played metalcore. Denis became famous on popular media outlet YouTube after covering songs by Asking Alexandria. He grew up a fan and eventually became a full fledged member. He is now the current frontman performing clean and unclean vocals. He was very involved in the writing process in the album and Bruce said, “Denis sat down with me and said you don’t want this record to be about Danny. He is in the past now and you need to look to the future which led to me rewriting most of the record with Denis.”
When asked to comment on the departure of former frontman Worsnop, Bruce said, “Danny just stopped caring about Asking Alexandria; his heart wasn’t in it anymore. He didn’t like screaming, he didn’t like heavy music, he didn’t like the fans, he didn’t like anything to do with Asking Alexandria.” This is very disappointing to fans who have followed the band since its inception in 2008.
The album starts out with the haunting single “Let it Sleep” that is very Asking-esque by touching base with the origin of the band and promotes the range of singing that Stoff has, as well as the lyrical sophistication of the Ukrainian sensation. The song talks of the demons within all of us, as most AA fans remember from songs like “The Death of Me” and “Creature.”. This leads into “The Black,” an iconic song that includes harsh screams, ear splitting riffs, and catchy hooks. The single gives classic Asking that we have all been waiting for since the move in musical direction from their previous record, “From Death to Destiny.” Other breathtaking titles are “Sometimes It Ends” which is about the departure of Worsnop and has those marvelous vulgar comments that all AA fans crave, “Send Me Home” that is a radio friendly feel-good song that puts the listener in the state of mind that each day will start anew even when you are lost in life, and “Gone” that reminds one of the downpour of rain and flood of emotions at a funeral.
Some might say the Englishmen are rock gods, others say they’re out of this world, but I say they’re the future of the genre and have made headway with their latest release. The album introduces Stoff into the AA family; he has made a substantial impression on all. To sample the album, visit askingalexandria.com.