Dream Theater have been at the top of the game for such a long time …
When enigmatic frontman Danny Worsnop returned to the Asking Alexandria fold in 2016, following a very nasty public breakup the year previously, fans were anticipating a return to the bands trash-core roots of Stand Up And Scream, just like the good ol’ days.
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Their resulting self-titled LP, marking the beginning of act 3 of their chaotic career, saw a shift from the Myspace crab-core stylings of the 00’s, instead opting for a more arena rock sound.
2020’s follow-up Like A House On Fire added some slapdash outlaw country-rock elements in a bold but haphazard experiment, confirming in the process that AA wouldn’t be sitting still or investing in nostalgia stock that made them sensations a decade earlier.
Just over 12 months down the line and the band, now sober and on a prolific creative streak, are mixing things up once again on their latest offering See What’s On The Inside, ramping up the hooks and arena-rock riffs to 11, adding in strings, Slash-style guitar solos and all other manner of cinematic tropes one would expect from a band wanting to play to five-figure audiences.
See What’s On The Inside is a far cry from their roots, and hardly set to scratch the crowd-killing itch of the old school slam crew that flocked to the AA banner in the first place—but for the better part, it works a charm.
See What’s On The Inside successfully takes simple songs and makes them stadium-sized, a testament to the skill and ambition of a band that were once defined by substance abuse and controversy, but have found a way to let the music do the talking.
Opening track Alone Again is set to be an instant classic in the genre, with its stompin’ riff and infectious hook setting the bar at a nigh impossible standard for the rest of the LP.
Indeed, the band don’t come anywhere near achieving the same level of grandiose over the rest of this disc, but cuts If I Could Erase It, the tongue-in-cheek warning against decadence of Fame and closing rager The Grey come mighty close.
Of course, to play arenas one needs an anthem for the lighter waving tweens in the crowd, and Find Myself steps up to the plate, showcasing Worsnop’s impressive vocal range and the band’s increased skill at musical arrangement.
One should exercise caution in the middle of See What’s On The Inside, with the central run of You Made It This Far, the title track and Misery Loves Company all coming across as rather cheesy undercooked attempts at flamboyant epics.
For the better part though, See What’s On The Inside successfully takes simple songs and makes them stadium-sized, a testament to the skill and ambition of a band that were once defined by substance abuse and controversy, but have found a way to let the music do the talking.
Love it or hate it, Asking Alexandria wants to write sing-a-longs for the masses, and See What’s On The Inside is their finest effort to achieve this yet.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Alone Again, If I Could Erase It, Find Myself
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