The rockiest road reaps the richest rewards.
It also makes for the best stories…
Since 2008, Asking Alexandria have paved a path of their own, distilling danger and excess into an equally dangerous hybrid of stadium rock ambition, metallic energy, and electronic ecstasy. Against all odds, they achieved unprecedented success earmarked by two gold-certified singles (namely, “Final Episode (Let’s Change The Channel)” and “Not The American Average”), over a billion cumulative streams and views, and three consecutive top 10 debuts on the Billboard Top 200—Reckless & Relentless , From Death to Destiny , and The Black . In addition to headlining packed gigs on five continents, they destroyed stages alongside Guns N’ Roses, Green Day, Avenged Sevenfold, Alice In Chains, and Slipknot, to name a few. Meanwhile, 2017’s self-titled Asking Alexandria spawned two of the group’s biggest singles to date: “Alone In A Room” (40 million Spotify streams) and “Into the Fire” (30 million Spotify streams).
Fanning the flame like never before, the quintet—Ben Bruce [guitar, backing vocals], Danny Worsnop [lead vocals], James Cassells [drums], Cameron Liddell [guitar], and Sam Bettley [bass]—burn even brighter on their 2020 sixth full-length, Like A House On Fire [Sumerian Records].
“We don’t take the easy road,” exclaims Ben. “We take the difficult road that leads to something spectacular. That’s how we’ve always been. When we were kids, we moved to America with no money and lived in a carpark to make this happen. Obviously, we’ve had a turbulent past and history, from drugs and alcohol to Danny’s departure and return. So, it feels like every album we hear the same thing, ‘You guys need to prove yourselves again!’ We spent ten years growing the most insane fan base though. We did this album for us and our fans. That’s it. We’re still here. We’re not going anywhere. We don’t have anything to prove. This time, we said, ‘Fuck you. We’re doing this our way’.”
Throughout 2019, the musicians did just that. In between a high-profile arena tour supporting Shinedown and a direct support slot on the road with Papa Roach, they recorded with Asking Alexandria producer Matt Good [Hollywood Undead, From First To Last] once more. The intermittent sessions allowed them to tap into the energy of touring.
“We don’t like to just go to the studio for four weeks and make a record anymore,” Ben elaborates. “We write on a whim. Since we were playing in front of these great crowds, what people go to a rock show for was fresh in our minds. They’re there to forget about their worries and have a good time. We brought the energy from the stage straight back into the studio. We found our footing on the last record. Now, we could make something special.”
The opening track “House On Fire” introduces this chapter with a bang. Worsnop struts through stark verses towards a swaggering bridge. A sweeping and soaring chant takes hold on the chorus as guitars rage in the background.
“Instead of dwelling on the past, the song is about what we’ve got going on now and what we’re sharing,” the guitarist continues. “This band is getting on like a house on fire right now. The album is the most fun we’ve had since Stand Up and Scream. We’re at the top of our game. Greatness arises from the ashes. This is a self-realization. We’ve had ups and downs. We could’ve ruined everything with drugs. We had nowhere to go but rebuild. It’s a reminder not to get in your own way, believe in yourself, and follow your own path.”
A ticking clock sets off “They Don't Want What We Want (And They Don't Care)” as Danny’s screams seesaw back-and-forth with guttural guitars. The music capitalizes on caustic intensity. Ben adds, “It’s about following your own dreams even when other people try to steer you in a different direction.”
On “Antisocialist,” hypnotic electronics pulsate through thick distortion. Airy verses give way to a warning from frontman, “Please stay away from me, ‘cause I don’t fucking like you.” At its heart, the song raises “a massive middle finger in the air,” according to Ben.
Handclaps and piano entwine in vulnerable harmony during “I Don’t Need You” [feat. Grace Grundy]. Amidst this backdrop, Danny’s voice takes flight to unparalleled heights as Grace balances his grit with a soulful and spirited counterpoint. Ben goes on, “It’s a beautiful song, because you hear both sides of a relationship. It tugs on the heartstrings for anyone who has been through a nasty breakup.”
By blazing their own trail, Asking Alexandria might ultimately encourage others to do the same.
“At the end of the day, I don’t care who you are, no one wants to be told what to do , where to go, what to think, or what job to have,” he leaves off. “Everyone wants to live life to the fullest. The album touches on that. We wrote the record we wanted to write and had a fucking blast doing it. I hope this can be inspiring. We’re brothers playing for our lives. That doesn’t go away. It can get bigger or smaller, but we’re here forever. We’re super thankful.”