Following the monumental impact of their 2017 self-titled, Asking Alexandria’s sixth album Like a House On Fire (Sumerian Records) had a lot to live up to. Thankfully, if anyone’s truly mastered the ability to evolve without betraying themselves or their fans, it’s AA. They’ve stood as a pillar in metalcore and metal for over a decade now, and they’ve made it damn clear they aren’t looking to give up their throne anytime soon.
It’s near impossible to criticize AA on a technical level. Every recording is clean, unique, and performed masterfully. This band is a collection of remarkably talented musicians who have a unified vision. ‘The Violence’—The album’s first single—has already become an instant classic. The title track ‘House On Fire’ works as an excellent introduction; It’s crass, charismatic, and defines the energy of the album perfectly. The other singles off of this record, ‘They Don’t Want What We Want,’ ‘Down to Hell,’ and ‘Antisocialist’ maintain this same incredible strength. Undoubtedly, these songs will be amongst the most memorable off this record.
As fantastic as this album is, it’s not without its flaws. The pacing of ‘It’s Not Me (It’s You)’ is questionable. Sections of the song sound unnaturally sped up. To have an effect like this over such a remarkable vocalist as Danny Worsnop is an unfortunate oversight. As we’ve seen in several of their songs, including the very next track on the album ‘Here’s to Starting Over,’ it’s very possible to artistically warp Worsnop’s vocals without sounding so off-putting. When it comes to strange choices, nothing is more bizarre than the decision to put ‘Lorazepam’ on this album. The sleaze metal sound would’ve been far more appropriate on a We Are Harlot record, and frankly, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Worsnop wrote it for Harlot originally before moving it over. AA are no strangers to breaking down genre boundaries and doing it well. In this instance, it just came off as very disjointed from the rest of the record. Perhaps they stuck it at the end of the tracklist because they realized this, but the album could’ve had a far more impactful ending had it finished with ‘The Violence.’
The biggest oversight of this album was the lack of a true ballad. Songs like ‘Moving On’ and ‘Vultures’ have become integral aspects of AA’s identity. While there are some songs that feel reminiscent of a ballad, like ‘I Don’t Need You’ and ‘In My Blood,’ there isn’t a single song that cuts as deep and genuine as what we’ve come to know from AA. Danny and Ben Bruce are some of the best songwriters of their generation, and it’s quite awful an otherwise very powerful release was left with a feeling as if something was missing.
‘Take Some Time’ is a particularly notable track, as it draws some parallels to one of the most remembered songs off their debut record, ‘Not The American Average.’ When placing these songs beside each other, it’s easy to see how Asking Alexandria has matured without losing their personality, which is a far trickier feat than it’s given credit for. By their sixth album, countless bands become burnt out and flavorless, but AA has aged like fine wine. They have more than paid their dues and their hardships have only refined their ideals. In ‘One Turns To None’ Worsnop sings about his efforts to build a legacy. If AA continues at their current rate, there is no doubt they’ll solidify their place in the history books.
7 / 10