"This record is a punching bag, it's everything we've been through..." - hmv.com talks to Asking Alexandria
Over a year after their long-time vocalist Danny Worsnop departed the band, York metallers Asking Alexandria are back with a new album The Black. Featuring the debut of new singer Denis Stoff, it's a visceral blast of anthemic metalcore and powerhouse riffage. To find out all about life after Worsnop and why this album took a lot of work to come together, we chatted with mainman and guitarist Ben Bruce...
Your new album The Black is out today, are you nervous about people's reaction, it's not your first record, but it is the first LP with Denis...
"I'm not nervous at all. We've been waiting for so long to get this out, all of us are just excited. I started working on this album a week after our last record From Death To Destiny came out and even when Danny left I kept writing. We ended up with 42 songs when went in the studio, that had never happened before, normally we go in with just about enough songs, not more than we need."
How did you decide which ones to keep and which ones to ditch?
"It was obvious for some of the songs, some had been written to cater to Danny's vocals, but some it was really difficult. You fall in love with songs and it's very hard to throw them away, it's very upsetting."
How did making this record compare to making your earlier LPs? Was it a longer process?
"It was a lot longer, I wanted our first record with Denis to be perfect. We'd do a month and a half in the studio, then go on tour, then go back, it might it ended up being a long process.
Is it the first time you've recorded in stages like that?
"It's not, but it is the first time we did it deliberately. From Death To Destiny ended up being like that because Danny couldn't be arsed and didn't turn up for the studio. This time it was more about working on the songs and living with them, making sure everything got the work it deserved and we were 100% satisfied with everything."
What kind of album is this lyrically? Is it as dark as the title suggests?
"We've had a tough time over the last couple of years, a lot of dark bulls**t. This record is a punching bag, it's everything we've been through. It's quite a dark album and it's everything we wanted to get off our chests. There's happiness too, there are some really uplifting moments, it's a diverse album I think."
When did you settle on the title?
"It took a while to come up with, we were trying to be clever and we were trying to tell everything what we've been through. Danny leaving was the band's darkest period and we wanted to get that across. Eventually we realised that nothing's darker than black. It was hiding in plain sight that title."
How has Denis settled in? What's he like?
"We thought it would take a while, but it really didn't, it feels like he's been in the band since day one. We met before going out for this massive festival run and we threw him in the deep end. It meant we had to get on and by the time the tour was over it felt like we'd been through hell and back together already. He's great, he's really similar to us, he loves to drink and have a good time and he loves being in this band. He's never tried to be any kind of replacement for Danny, he's doing things the way he would, he's been very brave and he's made us forget about Danny, it's felt really good and really natural."
What are your plans for touring the album?
"It depends. We've got lots planned. We've got Australia and some shows in Asia and then we're going out with Bullet For My Valentine and then we'll be going on after that. But things change all the time. There's a lot though, we'll be on the road a lot."