ALBUM REVIEW: Asking Alexandria – ‘Where Do We Go From Here?’

Artwork for Asking Alexandria’s ‘Where Do We Go From Here?’

Is there a more apt name for a new Asking Alexandria album than that? It’s doubtful, seeing as they’ve spent the current portion of their career stripping themselves for parts, to where there’s no clear indication of how they can make something good. That’s been a rarity for the bulk of their lifespan, sure (From Death To Destiny seems more and more like an anomaly with each passing release cycle), but now, in the guise of barebones US radio-rock that’s getting lapped by the likes of Shinedown and Five Finger Death Punch, it’s kind of embarrassing.

But like…they did bring it upon themselves. They never felt all that comfortable outgrowing the electro-metalcore of the 2010s that’s aged dreadfully, nor did Danny Worsnop’s reintegration as frontman appear as much more than damage control. They might’ve done somewhat well with fans in the five minutes that Denis Stoff was there, but The Black was erased from any memory banks in record time. And that isn’t something they’ve ever recovered from, as they’ve become more and more adamant to feed Worsnop’s rockstar fantasies, and have their efforts evaporate every single time. Did you remember they released albums in 2020 and 2021? Probably not, because both were complete garbage, and represented the exact wrong lessons learned for Asking Alexandria to embrace their frankly baffling longevity.

So of course Where Do We Go From Here? is crap, but it’s crap in ways that are simultaneously so obvious, and so exclusive to Asking Alexandria. No one makes music like this anymore, so when Asking Alexandria do it, the horribly misguided decisions leap out further than ever. All of that’s compounded by the attitude of complacency that coats this album. In no conceivable way does this feel like something designed to further a career, or even impress the hangers-on somehow still here. This is the purest form of wheel-spinning that Asking Alexandria have put on wax to date, which is saying a lot given the blockages caused by their two preceding albums.

If anything, it’s actually made worse by the existence of those albums, seeing as Where Do We Go From Here? is evidently trying to build on their foundations, and yet lipstick does not make this particular pig any more attractive. Instead, it highlights how bankrupt of ideas Asking Alexandria are, from metalcore cues that would’ve been dated about five years ago, to an amble into radio-rock that’s never as cool or swaggering as they clearly believe it to be. The whole thing lands with a tremendous thud, kicked off by the opener Bad Blood and its mix that’s on the verge of caving in—an attempt at blastbeats is layered over a chorus that also wants to be grand and operatic, and naturally nothing of worth is accomplished from that. That’s effectively the baseline that Where Do We Go From Here? reaches for the bulk of its runtime; by the time it gets good, the title track is closing the album out, with a solemn acoustic ballad that’s difficult for even Asking Alexandria to fuck up.

As for the rest of it though…where to even start? Maybe in the concessions towards ‘modernity’ that might’ve flown a decade ago, but certainly don’t now. Psycho is punctured by a canned beat and guitar gurgles that highlight the dullness of this mix so effectively, just as murky clatter of production on Nothing Left and Dark Void establishes the generally dated feel. As far as metalcore goes, there hasn’t been a single new trick picked up in years, and when even the most flagrantly clout-chasing examples of that genre have still managed to evolve, it’s a terrible look. As a whole, it’s all curdled and overweight, even when trying for a more propulsive beat on Things Could Be Different, and when fed into a vain stab at punk or hardcore on Kill It With Fire, the messiness that clashes so routinely with itself makes for one of the most deeply unpleasant minutes of music released this year. At least its title is an accurate response to it; that’s the single thing it gets right!

But remember—Asking Alexandria want to be a radio-rock band as well. Thus comes a fresh area of dimensionality for them to also get entirely wrong, though in their defence, its existing limitations aren’t enough to save them. Still, hearing the production thin out for Let The Dead Take Me is to acknowledge it could have some speeding, reckless force, only to watch it sapped away largely through incompetence. It’s the same with Feel and Holding On To Something More, both overwhelmed by the filmy textures that dominate their respective mixes, and de-power Asking Alexandria by almost ludicrous levels. Danny Worsnop is perfectly capable of doing that himself, mind, thanks to a squawking clean register that’s presumably meant to sound vulnerable or open, but gives nothing of the sort. He’s never an absolute failure in performance, though that’s more to say this chain is comprised of so many weak links that it’d fall apart if you looked at it funny.

It goes without saying that the writing is pretty much nothing too, though that isn’t a surprise. Asking Alexandria have been on the wagon of broad-to-the-point-of-meaningless mental health platitudes since time immemorial, and they’ve gotten no more powerful over time. In fact, it’s the kind of ‘release’ backed by nothing of substance that further dates Where Do We Go From Here?. You’d expect this in, like, 2015, not now when there are so many more effective ways to present something like this. There can’t be great success gained from this, so it’s a total mystery why Asking Alexandria even bother to remain this tired and unresponsive to anything going on around them. If they want to sequester themselves in their little trashcore / butt-rock corner, that’s fine, but the expectation that anyone else wants to hear what comes from it is widely misguided. But here they are, with another failure on the cards, as has become tradition. So where do we go from here, then? Hopefully somewhere where we never have to hear from Asking Alexandria again.

For fans of: Five Finger Death Punch, Bad Wolves, Falling In Reverse

‘Where Do We Go From Here?’ by Asking Alexandria is released on 25th August on Better Noise Records.

Words by Luke Nuttall

One thought

  1. Only that there is something that I have not understood with AA, why do some overrated fdtd so much? easily the most disappointing and boring album of them, like a mix between country and nu metal, songs trying to sound like korn or slipknot.
    and I see that you are another who overrated that album full of filler songs.
    Movin on a song too boring and generic and It’s copied of a song from the 70s

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