The Black (Asking Alexandria album)

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The Black
AATheBlack.jpg
Studio album by
Released25 March 2016
Recorded2015
GenreMetalcore, post-hardcore
Length47:41
LabelSumerian
ProducerJoey Sturgis
Asking Alexandria chronology
Live from Brixton and Beyond
(2014)
The Black
(2016)
Asking Alexandria
(2017)
Singles from The Black
  1. "I Won't Give In"
    Released: 27 May 2015
  2. "Undivided"
    Released: 25 September 2015
  3. "The Black"
    Released: 2 February 2016
  4. "Let It Sleep"
    Released: 3 March 2016
  5. "Here I Am"
    Released: 18 March 2016

The Black is the fourth studio album by English rock band Asking Alexandria. It was released on 25 March 2016, and is their only album to feature second lead vocalist Denis Stoff, who replaced original lead vocalist Danny Worsnop. Worsnop returned to the band in October 2016. The album was preceded by the singles "I Won't Give In" released on 26 May 2015, "Undivided" released on 25 September 2015, and the album's eponymous track "The Black" released on 2 February 2016. The first song on the album, "Let It Sleep", was released on 3 March 2016, with a music video for the track being released the following day.

Ever since the return of Worsnop, all songs from The Black have been omitted from the band's setlist.

Background[edit]

On 22 January 2015, former frontman Danny Worsnop announced his departure from the band to focus his work on hard rock band We Are Harlot, however, he stated that the band will continue touring as well.[1] This has been done with the induction of former Down & Dirty and newly introduced Asking Alexandria frontman Denis Stoff. Stoff's Asking Alexandria covers on his YouTube account above92 had drawn the attention of Ben Bruce, with Bruce stating that "it had to be Denis" for whom he was praised for his much greater vocal range and his style which was inspired by Worsnop during the band's early stages, believing he was capable of performing their songs live on a much higher level than his predecessor. Moreover, just like Asking Alexandria, Stoff's previous bands were contracted to Sumerian Records, which may have granted him an easier transition on succeeding Danny Worsnop.[2][3]

Stoff was also commended by the band and their fans for his enthusiasm towards the band that the remaining members felt had been a missing presence during the past few years with Worsnop as lead vocalist. Ben Bruce, on Danny's gradual loss of interest in performing with the band, stated that his departure was “inevitable” and “needed to happen for… I wanna say a few months, but it’s probably more like a few years.” He added, “Danny just stopped caring about Asking Alexandria; his heart wasn’t in it anymore. He didn’t like screaming, he didn’t like heavy music, he didn’t like the fans, he didn’t like anything to do with Asking Alexandria.” Bruce felt that Stoff's introduction to the band was "the right choice to make", adding that "[I think Denis is] an incredibly talented vocalist, from the multiple wide range of screams that Asking Alexandria obviously needs and will continue to have, and his singing and range is out of this world. He’s been a fan of the band for a long time, so he’s familiar with all our old songs, and he really cares about the band.[4]

With Denis Stoff being a permanent member in Asking Alexandria, they played at festivals including Rock am Ring and Warped Tour within Summer 2015, in order to promote their first single "I Won't Give In".[5]

Composition[edit]

Ben Bruce has stated that The Black will feature influences of Guns N' Roses and Van Halen just as influences from modern bands such as Avenged Sevenfold and Slipknot. Furthermore, he has stated that the new album will contain "some huge arena-rock songs".[6]

According to Stoff, he will maintain his vocalistic style without imitating Danny Worsnop, trying to distinguish himself from his predecessor.[7][8]

Release and promotion[edit]

Prior to the announcement of their forthcoming album, their first single "I Won't Give In" was released on YouTube on 26 May 2015, officially declaring Denis Stoff as the band's new lead singer.[9] The second single was "Undivided", which was previously leaked a few days before the actual release date, but was officially released on 25 September 2015.[10]

Later in December 2015 the band announced the title of their upcoming album to be The Black, also confirming the release date as being 25 March 2016.[6]

In January 2016, Ben Bruce launched a poll on his Twitter page, offering the possibility of the band releasing a new song in anticipation of the British Invasion tour with Welsh heavy metal band Bullet for My Valentine in the United States between February and March 2016.[11] Due to the poll's results unanimously requesting that the single be released, the band's self-titled third single from the album, "The Black" was premiered on BBC Radio 1 on 31 January 2016, with a music video being released for the single on the following day, along with an iTunes release on 30 March 2016. The song is a slight variation on the band's signature sound, featuring melodic vocals from guitarist Ben Bruce.[12][13]

A music video for "Let It Sleep" was released on 4 March 2016. Following this, the song "Here I Am" premiered on Octane (Sirius XM) Radio on 8 March 2016.[14]

Reception[edit]

Danny Worsnop[edit]

Regarding the release of "I Won't Give In", the first single featuring Danny Worsnop's successor Denis Stoff, Worsnop himself has positively welcomed their latest work, commenting "Glad to hear shit's still going strong."[15][16]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic(90/100)[17]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[18]
Ultimate Guitar2.5/5 stars[19]
Rock Sound8/10 stars
Alternative Press4/5 stars

The Black received widespread acclaim from music critics, with almost no negative reviews. The album holds a 90/100 rating on Metacritic, signifying 'universal acclaim' based on 4 reviews.[17] Furthermore, Sputnikmusic gave it a 3.5/5, praising the return of the metalcore sound found in their first and second albums, whilst also adding change, in part thanks to Denis Stoff taking over the vocals. However the reviewer criticizes the fact that they 'experiment around a bit with rock ballads a couple times'.[20] The Music Melting Pot gave The Black an overwhelmingly positive score of 92% saying 'The Black is the Asking Alexandria album we’ve all been waiting for without ever even knowing it. Asking Alexandria have taken the ongoing story of their evolution, and added a triumphant transitional chapter.'[21] The Metalist praised Stoff's vocals comparing him to former vocalist Danny Worsnop.[22]

However, Broken Arrow gave it a more mixed review, stating that the album 'goes downhill after the first few songs', giving it a 6/10 overall.[23] Ultimate Guitar also gave it a 2.5/5 stars, criticising some of the lyrics and musicianship.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Denis Stoff and Ben Bruce.

No.TitleLength
1."Let It Sleep"4:00
2."The Black"4:41
3."I Won't Give In"3:49
4."Sometimes It Ends"4:45
5."The Lost Souls"4:04
6."Just a Slave to Rock n' Roll"3:25
7."Send Me Home"4:18
8."We'll Be OK"3:57
9."Here I Am"4:19
10."Gone"3:17
11."Undivided"3:35
12."Circled by the Wolves"3:29
Total length:47:40

Personnel[edit]

Asking Alexandria

Production

  • Joey Sturgis – producer, mastering, mixing, engineering, keyboards, programming, orchestra arrangement (except track 5), choir arrangement
  • Chuck Alkazian – drum recording and engineering
  • Sam Graves – drum editing

Charts[edit]

Chart (2016) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[24] 4
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[25] 15
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[26] 79
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[27] 14
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[28] 38
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[29] 23
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[30] 13
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[31] 24
UK Albums (OCC)[32] 15
US Billboard 200[33] 9

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Asking Alexandria Frontman, Danny Worsnop, Quits Band". Kerrang!. 2015-01-23. Retrieved 2016-02-03.
  2. ^ "Asking Alexandria Reveal Frontman, Stream New Song I Won't Give In". Kerrang!. 2015-05-27. Retrieved 2016-02-03.
  3. ^ "Is this Asking Alexandria's new singer? - News - Alternative Press". Altpress.com. Retrieved 2016-02-03.
  4. ^ "Ben Bruce Says Danny Worsnop 'Stopped Caring About Asking Alexandria'". Loudwire. 2015-05-28. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  5. ^ "Danny Worsnop has left Asking Alexandria - UPDATED - News - Alternative Press". Altpress.com. 2015-01-22. Retrieved 2016-02-03.
  6. ^ a b "Asking Alexandria's Ben Bruce Says Upcoming Album Includes 'Some Huge Arena Rock Songs'". Blabbermouth.net. 2015-06-28. Retrieved 2016-02-03.
  7. ^ "Asking Alexandria's Denis Stoff: "I Won't Compare Myself To Danny"". Kerrang!. 2015-05-29. Retrieved 2016-02-03.
  8. ^ "Asking Alexandria's Denis Stoff: "I'm Not Here To Fill Anyone's Shoes" - News - Rock Sound Magazine". Rocksound.tv. 2016-01-11. Retrieved 2016-02-03.
  9. ^ "Asking Alexandria: 'I Won't Give In' Video Released". Blabbermouth.net. 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2016-02-03.
  10. ^ "Asking Alexandria Releases New Song 'Undivided'". Blabbermouth.net. 2015-09-25. Retrieved 2016-02-03.
  11. ^ "Ben Bruce on Twitter: "Should we release a song "". Twitter. Retrieved 2016-02-03.
  12. ^ "Stream Asking Alexandria's heavy new single, "The Black" - News - Alternative Press". Altpress.com. Retrieved 2016-02-03.
  13. ^ Garner, George. "Asking Alexandria Unleash New Video". Kerrang!. Retrieved 2016-02-03.
  14. ^ ""Here I Am" World Premiere". Asking Alexandria. 2016-03-07. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  15. ^ "Danny Worsnop 'Very Happy' for Asking Alexandria". Loudwire.com. Retrieved 2016-02-03.
  16. ^ "Asking Alexandria's Ben Bruce: Lyrics Aimed at Danny Worsnop". Loudwire.com. Retrieved 2016-02-03.
  17. ^ a b "The Black by Asking Alexandria". Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  18. ^ Neil Z. Yeung (2016-03-25). "The Black - Asking Alexandria | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-04-05.
  19. ^ "Advertising Page". Ultimate-guitar.com. Archived from the original on 10 August 2017. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  20. ^ "Asking Alexandria - The Black (album review 4)". Sputnikmusic.com. 2016-03-25. Retrieved 2016-04-05.
  21. ^ "Asking Alexandria - 'The Black' (Review) | TMMP". Themusicalmeltingpot.com. 2016-03-25. Retrieved 2016-04-05.
  22. ^ "Album Review : Asking Alexandria – The Black". The Metalist. Retrieved 2016-04-05.
  23. ^ "ASKING ALEXANDRIA - THE BLACK ALBUM REVIEW 6/10". Brokenarrowmagazine.com. Retrieved 2016-04-05.
  24. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Asking Alexandria – The Black". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  25. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Asking Alexandria – The Black" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  26. ^ "Ultratop.be – Asking Alexandria – The Black" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  27. ^ "Asking Alexandria Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  28. ^ "Asking Alexandria: The Black" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  29. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Asking Alexandria – The Black" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  30. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Asking Alexandria – The Black". Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  31. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Asking Alexandria – The Black". Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  32. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  33. ^ "Asking Alexandria Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 4 April 2016.