Asking Alexandria @ HMV Forum, London

21st January 2012 Review by Ollie Thomas
Photography by Barley Taylor

Hailing from York, five-piece metalcore band, Asking Alexandria are probably known for their “bad boy” label as much as their music. Embarking on tour, in support of 2011’s effort Reckless and Relentless, with One Last Breath, Chelsea Grin and Blessthefall; they find themselves playing to a Forum packed to the rafters. This one’s been sold out for a while and kids are queuing all the way around the block.

Tonight’s first band, With One Last Breath, is a British post-hardcore band featuring no other than ex-Asking Alexandria Bassist, Joe Lancaster. They seem to entertain the crowd, using the whole of the stage, and winning them over with their heavy riffing and melodic breaks. Spencer Costello’s growls are brutal, cutting through the air, whilst Sam Graves’ cleans almost glide across it.

You do feel however they’re playing by numbers. Enjoyable as the show was, it seemed to lack a deal of originality. They could do that more with a full length album behind them. For now, it entertains without ever exciting all that much (almost like watching a teen-horror flick, you know exactly what’s coming and exactly when!) whether they can break out from the obscure and make a name for themselves remains to be seen [6/10]

With One Last Breath
With One Last Breath
With One Last Breath
With One Last Breath
With One Last Breath
With One Last Breath

The next band up are American deathcore crew, Chelsea Grin. A six-piece promoting their second full-length, My Damnation, released in 2010. Their set appears to consist of mostly breakdowns and brutally low screaming, with the occasional sweeped scale thrown in to bring some melody to the party.

Mostly appearing to be a mindless crescendo of noise masquerading under the name of music, it has the hardcore kids flying through the air like demented ninjas. The music lacks a lot of creativity, spewing out the same old over-used breakdowns, and only really appeals to pre-pubescent teens.

Those who wear more make-up and hairspray than you’d find on a Milanese catwalk, and their main aspirations in life are to: get a chest tattoo; have more holes than a sieve; and boast who is the most “brootal”. The set induced more of a headache than entertainment. [3/10]

Chelsea Grin
Chelsea Grin
Chelsea Grin
Chelsea Grin
Chelsea Grin
Chelsea Grin

Blessthefall is the penultimate band of the night, another post-hardcore band hailing from Phoenix, Arizona. The band has survived many line-up changes, mainly Craig Mabbit (now vocalist of Escape the Fate) and most recently, Mike Frisby (rhythm guitars). They are touring 2011 effort Awakening, released under Fearless records. Their sound is huge, and quite easily fills the room.

The most energetic the crowd has seemed to be all night. Playing a set with a fair mix of new and old material, they have most of the crowd moving and singing along! (No mean feat for a support act!) A great performance from the support act tonight, and a rather catchy set has the whole crowd moving and entertained, as a tonne of girls surface on shoulders and crowd-surfers really come out to play [8/10]

Blessthefall
Blessthefall
Blessthefall
Blessthefall
Blessthefall
Blessthefall

Asking Alexandria is the band everyone’s here for though, and the crowd really springs into life when they storm onto the stage. Unleashing tracks from both breakthrough album Stand Up and Scream and Reckless and Relentless, they whip the teenaged crowd into a crazed frenzy.

Danny Worsnopp turns out to be a huge frontman, exuding a huge confidence that could quite easily fill arenas in the years to come. They really know how to put on a spectacle as the light show is brilliant, while they put out their trademark mix of metalcore riffs, laced with a very generous helping of synth creating a very full atmosphere which echoes out through the sold out Forum.

Not even a drum solo, followed by a self-admitted Slipknot rip-off crowd-participation can knock these guys off their pace. They have the kids wrapped around their little fingers, as they whole-heartedly eat up everything Danny has to say. Considering a lot of metal fans only want to hear the older, staple songs in the set, the explosive reception to the newer songs in the set is a massive accomplishment.

The headliners really owned the night, and gave the feeling no matter what stage you throw them on they’ll pull it off, knocking you onto your arse and leaving a trail of destruction behind and making your girlfriend wetter than the Atlantic Ocean. [9/10]

Asking Alexandria
Asking Alexandria
Asking Alexandra
Asking Alexandra

Setlists:
Blessthefall: Awakening; Promised Ones; To Hell and Back; The Reign; I’m Bad News, In the Best Way; Hey Baby, Here’s the Song You Wanted; Bottomfeeder; 2.0; What’s Left of Me; Guys Like You Make Us Look Bad.

Asking Alexandria: Welcome; Closure; Breathless; A Lesson Never Learned; Not the American Average; I Was Once, Maybe, Possibly, Perhaps a Cowboy King; Dedication; Dear Insanity; To the Stage; Morte et Diablo.
Encore: Alerion; Final Episode (Let’s Change the Chapter).

 

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