Yorkshire hard rock collective Asking Alexandria managed to emerge from the stagnant pace of 2020 with a post-pandemic run that saw the band make some significant strides - even for a band with more than a decade steeped in the culture.
Back in June, AA earned headlines with the news of a new partnership with Better Noise Music - a union that would just two months later fruit a brand new single in "Alone Again" and a surprise announcement of a brand new seventh full length LP.
Regarded as a return to form, a reinvigorated unit confidently marched towards an October release date for See What's On the Inside. The rousing, 11-track composition earned solid reviews and further reasserted AA as one of rock music's most proven, powerful mainstream voices. What proved even more telling was how the true collaborative nature of the album, an effort that saw the entire band convene in the same studio for the first time in over a decade, also resonated as some of the band's most dynamic material to date.
That fact was underscored in AA earning their first-ever #1 at U.S. active rock radio with hit single “Alone Again”. The song propelled See What’s On The Inside to earn a top 10 Spotify debut in both the US and the UK markets upon it's release - an important first for a band that has spent the last decade amassing accolades, adding to a vast body of work and converting fans the world over.
The band's second single in "Never Gonna Learn" quickly bolstered the staying power of the album - chronicling the cohesive sessions that fruited See What's On the Inside and providing fans an intimate glimpse into the band with it's behind-the-scene vantage point. The single also served as a powerful precursor to the band's triumphant live return, trekking the United States for a 25-date run with A Day To Remember.
Intent on carrying that momentum into the new year, the band is gearing up for a 2022 European/UK tour with label mates All Good Things and dynamic rock outfit Pop Evil. Yet while the focus is on the future, it would be tough to let such a formative year pass without some reflection.
In looking back on the importance of 2021, Asking Alexandria's Ben Bruce weighed in on some of his own personal favorites that delivered highlights over the last 12 months - framing the contributions of his own band alongside a roster of other artists that proved effective. As a trusted contributor to the modern landscape of rock, Bruce's take is not only relevant but also gives fans some insight as to just what moves the needle for him as a musician.
Architects - For Those That Wish To Exist
Bruce - I don’t listen to a huge selection of modern metal music. I’m normally still head banging my way through a Metallica album or a Pantera album, but when I heard the first single off this new Architects album “Animal” I was hooked.
Mammoth WVH - Mammoth WVH
Bruce - Some huge shoes were indeed filled here. Obviously Van Halen is regarded as one of the greatest guitar players of all time, so to follow in those footsteps as a musician is no easy task but this entire album is amazing!
Trivium - In The Court Of The Dragon
Bruce - I’ve been a Trivium fan since I was a kid and have had the pleasure of touring with and playing with these guys around the globe. Incredible band and amazing people.
Badflower - This Is How The World Ends
Bruce - Some absolute bangers on this album. It’s raw in the best ways and precisely polished in all the right ways.
Bullet For My Valentine - BFMV
Bruce - Similar to Trivium, I’ve loved BFMV since I was a kid and now have the pleasure of calling these guys my friends! Smashing album with some tasty riffage.
The Pretty Reckless - Death By Rock N Roll
Bruce - This album sounds like an old school meets modern day rock n roll masterpiece! It has such a great vibe and such huge spirit!
Evanescence - The Bitter Truth
Bruce - Evanescence came out when I was a kid and just left such a huge mark on my life. All these years later and they are still delivering bad ass music and Amy sounds as great as ever.
Ayron Jones - Child Of The State
Bruce - As I mentioned before, most of the music I listen to on a daily basis was released decades ago and this Ayron Jones album almost takes me back in time, in a great way. He has perfectly captured that old school energy that I love so much but given it a modern twist.
Rise Against - Nowhere Generation.
Bruce - This band has always had infectious melodies and huge energy across their albums and Nowhere Generation is no exception. For me, Rise Against are at their finest live on stage at a festival in front of tens of thousands of rock lovers and I can’t wait to hear this new album live!
Iron Maiden - Senjutsu
Bruce - Iron Maiden are one of the first metal bands that I fell in love with as a kid. I love that they never slow down and just relentlessly carry on touring and releasing new music for us to listen to and enjoy! Thank you Iron Maiden 🤘🏻