Make no mistake about it, this is an album of critical importance for Asking Alexandria. On a global scale, they’re at least as big as Bullet For My Valentine, Bring Me The Horizon, Biffy Clyro... in fact, pretty much any contemporary UK rock band you care to mention. They’ve managed to do this somewhat under the radar and without a unified blessing from the press and, let’s face it, a few outstanding cuts withstanding, they’ve achieved it in spite of releasing albums that are patchy at best.
With this album comes a certain amount of ‘put up or shut up’. Having seen Bullet For My Valentine and Black Veil Brides stumble at this particular hurdle already in 2013, it feels like the time is nigh for a band to capitalise and truly grab the bull by the horns. From Death To Destiny is that album. In short, it’s easily the best record of the band’s career, and by an immeasurable margin. This is an album that could genuinely make them one of the biggest bands within our realm.
For starters, there’s a shift in musical styles that suits them to a tee. Asking Alexandria have often spoken about Mötley Crüe and Aerosmith and they’re notorious for having made the rock’n’roll lifestyle their calling card, but here they’ve started to shift away from ‘the scene’ and write arena-humping anthems that match their personas and overall band ethos. Their electronic edge is now all but obsolete, replaced by towering authentic strings – although the crunching guitar tones and the ability to break things down remain untouched.
Above all else, though, these are well-crafted hard rock anthems that will see them trading blows with the likes of Five Finger Death Punch and Avenged Sevenfold at the hard rock battle royale, rather than duking it out with Motionless In White and Of Mice & Men.
One of the key ingredients on From Death To Destiny is that Danny Worsnop happens to deliver the performance of his life. The melodies that drive The Death Of Me and White Line Fever carry sexuality and danger in equal measure, his voice reaching a level of maturity and passion that previously seemed beyond his capabilities. Think the commanding, full-throated roar of Believe-era David Draiman meets the growls of A Day To Remember’s Jeremy McKinnon and you’re in the right ballpark. The last 90 seconds of lead single Run Free, in particular, are as powerful as anything you’ll hear from a vocalist in rock music this year, and should strike a chord with fans of classic rock as well as those throwing elbows in the pit.
It remains to be seen whether a band can unite the new and past generations of metalheads and break down the walls put up by aesthetics and online mob mentality but, on strength of songs alone, Asking Alexandria have a real shot at it here. In a year rammed with top quality releases, From Death To Destiny is one of the very best.