The Black comes across as the perfect comeback album for Asking Alexandria, one of the plethora of incredible bands that have emerged from what My Chemical Romance dubbed Generation Nothing. Beginning with a confusing mass of seemingly incomprehensible voices timed with a warbling guitar, “Let It Sleep” gets your heart racing as it builds into an irresistible chant before running off and taking you on a breakneck ride of emotions.For most chart-topping bands, it seems as though losing a key member would be fatal, but sometimes it can be just what the music needs. After parting ways with vocalist Danny Worsnop, the band’s future seemed uncertain, but their fears were unfounded with Denis Stoff‘s arrival, whose vocals have made this record into something beautiful. Lyrically and musically, the record gives off a feeling that no matter how far you fall, you can always pull yourself back up, even if it turns your life around, even if you become a different person. It is, in a way, an anthem for anyone who has to overcome an obstacle, especially an unexpected one. The first three tracks feel like Asking Alexandria are standing back up, coming back from a major blow; the fourth is them finding a beginning of a new chapter instead of the end of a story. The beginning of the following track “The Lost Souls” is hauntingly beautiful, the voice of a young child joined by drums and notes on a piano, building into the melody of the song. It gives off both a demonic and angelic ambiance at the same time, which sometimes seems to be the essence of humanity, wandering between heaven and hell, lost in its own world.
“Send Me Home” has an utterly different feel from the rest of the album so far. The song is more of a ballad, with cleaner vocals and heart-wrenching lyrics that bring forth that longing for a place, a time that is out of reach. The song reminds you that, while new things can be great, familiarity can be all we need sometimes. Homesickness is something everybody feels at some point, and this nostalgic number is another reminder of that. “Send Me Home” also allow Stoff’s vocal prowess and range to shine forth, underlining the two sides that everyone has: the dark, almost violent aspect; and the human side, the one that sometimes just needs a friend.The blow of losing someone close to you can be the hardest to live with, but you can do so, and you can’t stay locked in the past — because it’s safe to leave, since the past isn’t going anywhere, the memories are still there and the song of the past will stay the same. So you need to live now, not yesterday or tomorrow, because the opportunity to live could be gone in a second; these are the sort of thoughts that came to me while listening to “Gone”. Losing yourself is hard too, but here you have a choice, to slip away or to stay. This track is almost guaranteed to bring someone to mind, whether it is a family member or a friend left behind; or your lost hero — there one day and gone the next.
The Black is a reminder of what it is to be human, to fall, to hurt, to be angry, to find yourself, to feel nostalgic, to lose someone important; but to always stand back up again, to be okay, to keep fighting and to keep on going, since life deserves to be lived. Between powerful guitar riffs, rage-filled screams and heart-wrenching vocals, this record once again demonstrates that Asking Alexandria aren’t going away anytime soon.