For Fans Of
Sometimes it is important to separate bias from considered opinion. To distinguish between objectivity and just downright musical prejudice. Hating for the sake of hating is immature as it equally dimwitted. However, at times indifferent critique is warranted. It’s not always easy but sometimes album’s are just found lacking.
English lads, Asking Alexandria are certainly polarising but it is important to judge sophomore album ‘Reckless and Relentless‘ on its own untarnished merits. Love it or loathe it, this second studio album is an anticipated release, with the band a current fixture in current metal discussions.
The problem though, here and previously, is Asking Alexandria‘s musical style plays in the kiddy end of the large metal swimming pool. The band have solid musicianship, a confident swagger and clearly must be doing something right to garner a healthy range of fans yet the music is just all too typical. The main issue is not a question of talent but rather appears to be that their style is filtered through many other bands. As I Lay Dying and Unearth set the contemporary ball rolling in metalcore, which resulted in a multitude of group’s trying to emulate said style. It appears Asking Alexandria though are trying to emulate the emulators. Consequently, with each passing of the musical torch the sound loses any semblance of originality.
One thing ‘Reckless and Relentless‘ has going for it is its production presence. The sound is menacing and identifiable. Moreover, the individual and collective performance effort is definitely there. It begins promising with ‘Dear Insanity‘ but quickly turns in to an influence-heavy, generic dose of metalcore that is equally predicatable. Euro riff – breakdown – clean sung chorus, repeat.
On a literal level there is not anything glaringly wrong. The rhythm is not out of time, the riffs not juvenile. It’s just the music is decisively shallow. There’s no bold or brave attempts at achieving anything innovative. ‘Morte et Dabo‘ is a strong point with a heavy delivery but again relies on breakdowns and clean sung choruses to create impact. ‘To the Stage‘ also begins honestly but where another opportunity presents itself in the middle, Asking Alexandria rely on previous used styles and metal cliches instead of trying something new.
It’s an honest attempt but I think we’ll just wait for Unearth and August Burns Red‘s new albums to restore order.
‘Reckless and Relentless’ will have a contrastive and wide-ranging level of response. There will be lovers, haters and everyone in between. But hey, each to their own. If you like this album. Good. You’re well and truly entitled to and should embrace it with stoic loyalty. Someone else’s opinion should not change this. Unfortunately though, for the rest of us, ‘Reckless and Relentless’ is twelve tracks of derivative and safe metalcore that does nothing to strengthen the genre’s dwindling stocks.
2. Dear Insanity
4. A Lesson Never Learned
5. To the Stage
7. Someone, Somewhere
9. The Match
10. Another Bottle Down
11. Reckless and Relentless
12. Morte et Dabo