Well, Here’s something that we didn’t expect to be saying two years ago: we’re on the verge of a new album from a Danny Worsnop-fronted Asking Alexandria. The returning enigmatic frontman and his bandmates are currently putting the finishing touches to their fifth studio album to cap off one of the most surprising reunions of recent time. Following the decent reception to first single Into The Fire, which was unleashed last month, we spoke to guitarist Ben Bruce about what to expect, and to see if time truly is a healer.
So, how have your relationships held up during this recording session?
Ben Bruce: “Well, I always have a really good time in the studio because I love creating new music and seeing things grow, but this has probably been my favourite experience in a studio ever. I hadn’t been in the studio with Danny since From Death To Destiny five years ago and back then our relationship was incredibly strained. We were in a bad place, it wasn’t a lot of fun, but this felt like when we went in to record Stand Up And Scream, when we were young and we were hungry and we were excited. And it felt just like we were kids again; we couldn’t wait to wake up and work on these songs again. It was a magical experience.”
Has Danny brought any of those outside influences that were such a sticking point last time around on this record?
“I think what’s different this time is that he does have those other outlets, and before he didn’t. He’s got so much inside that he wants to get out, that we all had to sit down and agree that we wanted to do something fresh and original. We had to say, ‘Let’s restart Asking Alexandria’ and we have created something totally different, unlike anything I’ve heard before. And we’re lucky that we have a vocalist who stands out – there aren’t many in metal where you know who they are the second they open their mouth. There’s M Shadows, Corey Taylor, James Hetfield, and I think Danny is one of those, too.”
Has he addressed the issue of his departure on the record, do you think?
“I’ve noticed a massive change in him. Danny used to just sing about sex and drugs and rock’n’roll, but this time he’s more honest and raw, it’s not about just being fucked up. The first lyrics you hear on the album are ‘I’ve been away a while’ and he does address him going away and not being in the right headspace. It’s him opening up about that experience and having a clearer frame of mind. I was sat in the studio and it almost brought a tear to my eye; it was almost like he was apologising to me and telling me that he was here for us now. It was really nice. I think these lyrics will speak to people.”
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How has the reaction from people outside the band been to the new stuff?
“It’s funny: normally when we hand in our albums they just go, ‘OK cool. Well done’ but this time we handed it in and my phone just blew up! People have said that it’s the most insane thing they’ve ever heard and it’s the moment they’ve been waiting for from us. Which is exciting; we’ve still got that hunger, we stumbled along the way, but it’s still there.”
And the songs from The Black? How do you feel about them in retrospect?
“I’m proud of them in retrospect. It was just a very dark time in our career and my life and I hear that in the songs, so I’m not that keen to revisit them at the moment. I’m too happy with my life at the moment to want to play them, although Danny has said ‘If you want to play those songs, I’ll sing them’, which is really cool of him.”
How about Matt Good, what did he bring as a producer?
“Well, we’ve known Matt for a long time – he used to be in From First ToLast and D.R.U.G.S. and we toured with them a lot over the years. He just brought a great character and clarity to the songs. It was our first time working with him, but I think we’ve found the dream team!”
The new Asking Alexandria album lands on December 15 via Sumerian, and is available to pre-order now.