The name of an artist carries a lot of weight behind it. For some, the moniker that the members create hold a lot of pride in its meaning. For others, the releases that appear to be made for commercial purposes only seems to bring their titles a certain tastelessness when mentioned. Regardless, music (despite being completely subjective) can be looked upon with positives and negatives that are more or less objective. The name “Asking Alexandria” is one of the most pivotal denominations of this thought process. Once a beloved metalcore titan, the movement of Danny Worsnop’s musical influence combined with the increasingly growing sales of atmospherically lighter sounds have brought us to the point of the five-piece’s sixth studio album, Like a House on Fire. Whether or not you despise the band for straying away from their heavier roots or no longer want to listen to them due to their perceived lack of sincerity, LAHOF brings forth some elements that even the most elitist metalhead can appreciate.
First of all, going into this album expecting anything pre-The Black is the wrong mindset to have when starting the record. “House on Fire”, the opening track, kicks off with an anthemic, stadium-chanting chorus. The verses leave a little bit more to desired, but this song sets a precedent for the rest of LAHOF: this is a ROCK record, not a heavy metal record, and Asking’s main goal is to have entire arenas singing these words along with them. “They Don’t Want What We Want (And They Don’t Care)” follows suit with a punchy riff and a vocal arrangement that is reminiscent of Save Rock and Roll-era Fall Out Boy (that is something that I never thought I would be saying). The breakdown in the back half of the track also feels like it would translate extremely well in a live setting. The closing notes give a subtle lean into “Down to Hell”, which does not do a lot for itself in terms of isolated listenability. The song does not do anything exciting outside of a few events from Worsnop and the breakdown, which unexpectedly creeps up before the final chorus. The cliché amplifier fuzz at the end felt tacked on, but that is a bit nitpicky.
“Antisocial” would have been an awesome song to listen to for the first time if I had not heard it plastered all over Sumerian Records’ Facebook advertisements. Even after hearing this chorus for what seems like the thousandth time, the song has a very memorable chorus (albeit somewhat banal lyrics). “I Don’t Need You” is a more radio-rock song (even more so than its predecessors), but the piano and acoustic guitar that supplement Worsnop and the female singer (whose name was not available to me at the time of this review) make for it being a halfway decent listen, and a nice breather after four stadium songs. “All Due Respect” continues the trend of the soft verses and booming chorus formula, but this song fell a bit flat just to the sheer similarity to what has already been presented. The lyrics are a bit pretentious as well, which never sits well with me.
“Take Some Time” is a better return to current form than “All Due Respect”, but again, at this point in the record, it feels like a filler song you would hear on a Marathon commercial. The chorus is very catchy, but lacking compared to the first section of the record. “One Turns to None” feigns heaviness in the opening riff, but falls back into the same verse-chorus-verse formula that Asking has abused since their self-titled album. Also, the words “I’m an animal” are some of the most cringe-inducing lyrics that any artist has ever used, and it does not change my mind here. “It’s Not Me (It’s You)” is a bit better than the past couple of tracks, as it places more of an emphasis on rock rather than meshing genres. Having an identity to your music is so vital, and this track was a breath of fresh air. The fast-paced verses were a bit out of place, but again, that is a small nitpick.
“Here’s to Starting Over” is pretty uneventful, but thee chorus is one of my favorites on the record due to the melody. If there is one thing that I enjoy about the record, it is that the vocals are written phenomenally. “What’s Gonna Be” brings another anthemic chorus into the mix of what we have been given, and is a feature of the album. “Give You Up” remains cookie-cutter; a constant recurring outlook on the middle tracks of LAHOF. The chorus is also one of the worst on the record; repeating words in the chorus is not passable. The bridge is decent, which may be the only compliment I have on this particular song.
“In My Blood” serves as a highlight of the back half of the record, with decent lyrics and one of the better choruses on the record. As a softer song, it showcased that Asking can still return to their From Death to Destiny sound. “The Violence” is the worst song on the album in my opinion, and nothing about it is redeemable. Released almost a year ago, this song works decent in the context of the record’s sound, but it should not have been released in the first place. The attempt at a “heavy” song backfired here. “Lorazepam” serves a decent closing song to the record, but al in all, falls in line with the rest of the record’s theme of recurring elements.
In fifteen tracks, Asking Alexandria managed to put out a decent album. There is a lot left to be desired, but not from a heavy standpoint. The album stayed the same for a majority of the runtime, and outside of a few bright moments from both the instrumentalists and Worsnop’s vocals, you are more than likely looking to pick out singles from LAHOF rather than listen to it in its entirety.
I give Like a House on Fire by Asking Alexandria a 5.8 out of 10.
The songs I feel best represent the album are “They Don’t Want What We Want (And They Don’t Care)”, “I Don’t Need You”, and “In My Blood”.