Asking Alexandria is a British hard rock band that debuted as a metalcore band in 2009 with their album Stand Up and Scream. They’ve been a strong name in the alt scene since, and in their time, they’ve experienced drastic shifts and changes in their sound as they’ve grown to mirror themselves in honest representation. Now a recognizable hard rock band with metal influences, they’ve been a reliable source of new albums and a steady stream of singles since 2016. As each album holds a minimum of eleven songs, they never disappoint fans with ample content. Their latest EP, Never Gonna Learn, continues the trend.
If you know me, you know that I had an unhealthy obsession with Asking Alexandria’s Stand Up and Scream album. In my heart forever, the album set me up for a lifetime of love and loyalty to Asking Alexandria in all its many phases, facets, and genres. This EP was no exception.
The Never Gonna Learn EP has four songs with a sixteen-minute listen time and centers around “Never Gonna Learn”, a single originally on their 2021 album See What’s On The Inside. The EP also includes “Find Myself” from the same album, meaning the release added two new songs to their ever-growing roster, “New Devil (feat. Maria Brink of In This Moment)” and “Miles Away.”
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It’s an unexpected release in a lot of ways. It isn’t that Asking Alexandria hasn’t put out an EP before, but this felt almost disjointed. The new songs match the energy of the previously released songs, like a mirror, but the energy in the songs from beginning to end makes the EP feel almost unfinished. “New Devil (feat. Maria Brink of In This Moment)” is a very high-energy hardcore song, “Never Gonna Learn” is hard rock with a classic rock feel, but then the energy suddenly drops down with two ballads, “Miles Away” and “Find Yourself”. It felt like getting dropped off a cliff.
If “Miles Away” is any indicator, I’d posit the reason for this weird feel is because of the pandemic. The music world has heavily evolved to try to adjust to the new way of things due to Covid-19, and Asking Alexandria is no exception. In that context, the EP doesn’t feel so much like an unfinished product as it does an intentional statement on these changing and trying times.
The highlight track in this EP for me was “New Devil”. Maria Brink is an absolute goddess, and you can really feel her influence in the track. In This Moment’s signature is implementing minor song keys and a mix of soft vocals with prominent vocal fry, and “New Devil” captures both. Throughout the song, it’s truly hard to find where one band’s influence ends and the other begins. Between the chorus, pre-chorus, and the breakdown, it’s almost anybody’s game.
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Brink and Danny Worsnop have such unique voices and singing styles, but they blend seamlessly in the second chorus and through the rest of the song. She complimented his chorus vocals with her soft tones in the second verse, and her echoing outro (which is also very signature for In This Moment) all came together to create a collaborative track that feels truly melded together, something more than the joining of two parts.
“Miles Away” was a shock. Along with “Find Myself”, these songs might be the most emotional and heartfelt pieces that Asking Alexandria has ever written. It’s still choking me up to listen to it, it’s such a raw presentation of emotion. Worsnop’s vocal range is really presented here, he has a soft and light voice that doesn’t get the spotlight often. The verses feel like precious moments in solitude, quiet, gentle, restrained. The chorus feels like the emotional constant of breaking, the non-linear process of grief and healing that throws us from acceptance and peace back into the trenches of anger and disbelief. His last scream in the song holds like it’s trying to reach that person described in the lyrics, across all that distance, and it is absolutely heart-wrenching.
Don’t take my word for it, listen to this emotionally stunning EP below:
An avid book reader, overthinker, houseplant caretaker, and MMO player, Kay loves listening to angry music with as much bass boost as she can manage to balance her otherwise quiet lifestyle. If she doesn’t write about the stuff she likes it will inevitably be spewed forth in nonsense order to whomever will listen. She lives with her partner, an angry cat, and a lazy dog, both of which are named after StarCraft characters.