After months of radio silence following the departure of original lead vocalist Danny Worsnop in January, Asking Alexandria have returned with a new singer and a new song.
Denis Shaforostov (formerly of Down & Dirty and Make Me Famous) taking over vocal duties seems to herald a new start for the band, as "I Won't Give In" sounds fresher and freer than AA's previous releases. Even with the harsh screaming that the band is known for, the sound overall feels more like willingly jumping into a pool of cold water than being drenched in a violent rainstorm.
If the new single is an indicator of Asking Alexandria's future, it's brighter now than ever before.
Back in August of last year, I watched Asking Alexandria perform at Mayhem Fest with a friend of mine. Between sets, we remarked that Danny hadn't seemed incredibly present (aside from the presumable drunken state he was in). We estimated the band had a few more months before it dissolved. When the band loses interest, there really isn't much hope for a future.
We were kind of right-- lead singer Danny Worsnop left Asking Alexandria earlier this year to pursue his side project We Are Harlot full time. We Are Harlot is less metal and more rock, which follows Danny's music tastes which, it should follow, means that he'll be more heavily invested in the new road he's walking down.
Based on their debut, self-titled album, We Are Harlot are receiving Danny's full attention. The album is a full-tilt hurricane of sex and guitar riffs- classic rock made modern. There are no tricks or gimmicks, just good, honest musical skill, and a reminder that, regardless of Danny's "screamo" roots, he is an incredibly talented singer.
So we could bemoan the end of Asking Alexandria as we know them, or celebrate the birth of another band with an incredible future lying ahead of them, and keep faithful that Asking Alexandria will be just as, if not more powerful than they were before.
When Twenty One Pilots burst onto the scene in 2012, it wasn't just their aggressive, spoken-word, hip-hop influenced pop rock that made people stand up and take notice. It was the stage presence of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun, the manic shows, the exploding energy, the height-scaling and death-defying of every single show, that really grabbed their audiences.
Coming off of their first label-backed debut, there were (as always) concerns about a sophomore slump (despite Vessel not being their first album, only their first after being signed to Fueled By Ramen). But every concern has been alleviated, evaporated, and disintegrated, as Twenty One Pilots debuted a new single and video tonight that is both musically and visually visceral.
'Fairly Local' is the first single off of the forthcoming album Blurryface (due May 19) and it is dark and dense and at the same time tears the weight from your shoulders. Like Oli Sykes if he had gone the route of hip hop.
Twenty One Pilots are a shining example of what modern musicians can be if they stay honest and make the music that is in their blood and their bones and their fingertips, and I'm counting down the days until May.
Twenty One Pilots Facebook | Twitter
A few months ago, we got a hint of Mat Devine's new work with Wrongchilde when we heard "Falling In Love Will Kill You," featuring Gerard Way. And of course, my original excitement over Wrongchilde centered almost entirely around the taste of new music from Gerard. I'm a ride or die emo kid, you can't take that from me.
Luckily, I got a second exposure to Wrongchilde, and had the chance to hear Gold Blooded in its entirety. Like falling slowly through icy water, the sound seeps into your veins and coats them in the grey mist that hisses above the ground before sunrise. And your arteries slowly fill with gold, and your whole body starts to glow, and the album name becomes incredibly appropriate and you get very embarrassed by your tacky metaphors no matter how accurate they are.
"Just Call Me Crash" is a standout on the album, not a violent, sudden impact, but a slow motion intoxication of sunlight hitting your skin or a wave breaking above your head. It's the crash of surf, not the crash of cars. And if the album as a whole is the ocean, then "Crash" is the current, driving the sound in churning patterns across your skin.
Gold Blooded is like having the sun rise slowly in your chest and flowers bloom down along your arms... like having the ocean spray your feet and mist curl around your ankles. Listen and let the world open up inside of you.
Pax Am Days, Fall Out Boy's surprise "album," is a surprise in more ways than one. Fall Out Boy is a band notorious for their meticulousness and their long battles over melody and lyrics. Patrick Stump and Pete Wentz have been known to argue about the placement of a syllable for days. ButPax Am Days is a rough, true-to-punk, glorious car crash of an album. WhereSave Rock and Roll was evidence of the growth Fall Out Boy needed to come back together, Pax Am Daysis proof that the boys have rediscovered the joy in making music together.
The longest song, "Caffeine Cold," is two and a half minutes, but most run about a minute and a half, packing in as much energy and ferocious guitar riffing as possible. What separates this album from a run of the mill punk bonanza is Patrick Stump's vocals, which are in their Infinity On High glory, deep and reverberating over massive chords from Joe Trohman and adrenaline shot basslines from Pete Wentz. Andy Hurley's hardcore roots are in their prime here, and the power that was missing from Save Rock and Roll's drum loops works in overtime here.
The song most similar to classic Fall Out Boy form is probably "Hot To The Touch, Cold On The Inside," which showcases the lyrical prowess that is often missing from punk songs.
Pax Am Days is a return to the hardcore influences that birthed Take This To Your Grave, but with a higher level of refinement and skill that Fall Out Boy has become known for bringing to the pop punk scene.