Album Review: Asking Alexandria - 'Stepped Up and Scratched'

9 December 2011 | 11:42 am | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Another one tries but doesn't quite make it.

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Remix records are tricky as they rarely offer something as interesting as the original song. The immediate exceptions that spring to mind however are Thom Yorke’s Eraser Remixes,’ Limp Bizkit’s New Old Songs’ and Linkin Park’s ‘Reanimation.’

I have always felt that the hardcore genre has the potential to be remixed really well, Bring Me The Horizon came close with ‘Suicide Season Cut Up,’ but that didn’t really hit the mark. Asking Alexandria are now giving it a crack with ‘Stepped Up and Scratched,’ a collection of remixed songs from their previous two records, ‘Stand up and Scream and ‘Reckless & Relentless.’

This album suffers from the same issues that most remix records do, whilst there are a few good tracks throughout, the gimmick wears off very quickly and the filler tracks ruin the whole project. Essentially there are a lot of versions here which just feature vocals samples stuck over the top of dance songs, and far more thought than this is needed to make a good remix album.

The sinister tones in the Sol Invicto remix of Morte et Dabo sound like something from ‘Suicide Season’ until it opens up into a bright, airy, Ibiza sounding bridge. The DJs have been hand picked by the band and whilst you can’t really expect it on a record like this, there is no flow at all, with all sorts of genres included in the remixes. This can be looked at as both a good and a bad thing.

The opening track, a KC Blitz remix of A Single Moment Of Sincerity, kicks things off with a pounding dance beat and big bass sounds which then changes to the woeful Tomba remix of Another Bottle Down, which sounds like it hasn't been mastered at the same place as the other tracks. So now we have sonic inconsistencies to add to the genre mis-matches.

The Bare remix of To The Stage lives up to the album title the most with scratches a plenty before the out of place Owl City sounding Celldweller remix of A Lesson Never Learned. This track is remixed again to close the record on Sol Invicto’s second appearance, a fast paced version that blends plenty of screams and guitars, and even uses some of the original drum lines in some standout percussion patterns.

The hardest things about metal and hardcore bands making remix records is that their fan base will probably not appreciate, or even want to listen to, the electronic dance versions of the original songs. Whilst 'Stepped Up and Scratched' features some good production, it is not cohesive or clever enough to make this a memorable moment in the Asking Alexandria catalogue.

1. A Single Moment Of Sincerity (KC Blitz Remix)
2. Another Bottle Down (Tomba Remix)
3. Reckless And Relentless (Document One Remix)
4. I Was Once, Possibly, Maybe, Perhaps A Cowboy King (Robotsonic Remix)
5. To The Stage (Bare Remix)
6. A Lesson Never Learned (Celldweller Remix)
7. Final Episode (Let's Change The Channel) (Borgore Remix)
8. A Candlelit Dinner With Inamorta (Run DMT Remix)
9. If You Can't Ride Two Horses At Once...You Should Get Out Of The Circus (Noah D Remix)
10. I Used To Have A Best Friend (But Then He Gave Me An STD) (Big Chocolate Remix)
11. Dear Insanity (Revaleso Remix)
12. Not The American Average (J. Rabbit Remix)
13. Morte et Dabo (Sol Invicto Remix)
14. Closure (Mecha Remix)
15. A Prophecy (Big Chocolate Remix)
16. A Lesson Never Learned (Sol Invicto Remix)