Did Danny Worsnop Just Kill His Career?

Worsnop

The internet is blowing up with “Breaking News: Danny Worsnop Leaves Asking Alexandria” headlines.  Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and various music media outlets are all reporting that yes, Mr. Worsnop has finally left Asking Alexandria, but the real question is “Is this actually breaking news?” The best answer to that would be no, it’s not.  Ever since the third AA album, From Death to Destiny, dropped in 2013 there have been rumors of tension between Worsnop and the rest of AA.  The golden friendship we saw between Worsnop and AA guitarist/founder Ben Bruce seemed clouded and the overall aesthetic of the third full-length felt forced and pulled in two different directions: AA’s signature electro-metalcore sound and the ode to ’80s hard rock that would eventually shape Worsnop’s “side project” We Are Harlot.

For anyone who has not read it, Worsnop left this note to his followers on Twitter to make his announcement:

“To all of my friends and fans: I would like to let you know that Asking Alexandria and I are moving forward in separate ways. Over the last eight years together we’ve done some amazing things and created something truly special. I now, same as then, want what’s best for the band and at this point in time, that isn’t me. Asking Alexandria will continue to tour throughout the year and will be working on a new album. I will always support and love Asking Alexandria and cannot wait to see what the future holds for them. I am excited for the next chapter of my life with We Are Harlot and will see you all on the road!”

As Worsnop forgoes continuing to work with AA, I have to ask why? Leaving a band he helped break into the scene, of which he became both a prominent face and a respected icon, is kind of like career suicide, especially if he is leaving to pursue something more in the hard rock sphere rather than the -core realm. Facebook comments are attributing this switch due to the damage Worsnop’s vocal chords have received over the years thanks to his relentless partying. Back when I was growing up and learning how to play drums, my drum teacher–for whom I have the most respect–pulled the whole “steer clear of drugs and alcohol” routine that all after school programs regurgitate to their pupils.  He told me, “Don’t drink underage or passed your limit. If you do that, then you can’t be the drummer of Led Zeppelin.”  Now, my teacher was referring to John Bonham who died due to over consumption of alcohol, but that always stuck with me. In Danny’s case, if he has left Asking Alexandria due to the damage drugs and alcohol inflicted, physically and perhaps interpersonally, then my drum teacher was right.  All actions have consequences, even when you have made it to the top (of the scene). AA, however, accommodated Worsnop’s vocal change in From Death to Destiny showcasing in tracks like “The Death of Me” that their aesthetic could work with Worsnop’s new limitations, thus making his departure only two days after the announcement of We Are Harlot’s debut album more jarring.


Danny Worsnop with We Are Harlot in their latest release. 

The two releases we have received from We Are Harlot, “Denial” and “Dancing On Nails,” have left me in a world of confusion.  Whereas “Denial” sounds like Nikki Sixx got drunk, wrote a song at 3am, spilled a beer on his notes and then recorded what he had left before he went to sleep, “Dancing On Nails” is a little more digestible.  The issue with these two ’80s throwbacks is that they feel like ’80s throwbacks…being played in a bar..in the East Village…by Steel Panther fans. There’s absolutely nothing in We Are Harlot at this point that I haven’t heard before.  Hell, there is nothing in We Are Harlot that my parents haven’t heard before.  It’s an overdone concept that bands like We Are Harlot, Black Veil Brides (and even Escape the Fate to a sense) are trying to unlock by bringing back old school rock.  News Flash: Old school rock ‘n’ roll is decidedly dead by the old school rockers (*cough* Gene Simmons *cough*).

I am in no way agreeing with Simmons in saying that rock ‘n’ roll is dead.  I personally believe it is very much alive, but it is alive because that old school sound no longer is.  Today we have bands who are really pushing the boundaries of hardcore, metal, punk, thrash, etc.  We have bands who are expanding the definition of rock ‘n’ roll; bands that are still edgy, innovative, outlandish, and of the times. As the post-hardcore scene paved the way from its earlier days with groups like Botch and Every Time I Die to what it is now with our beloved British rockers, Asking Alexandria, we consistently see progression in rock ‘n’ roll.  Rock is only dead if we continue to fall back on our laurels and never risk taking it somewhere new.


Danny Worsnop circa 2009 with Asking Alexandria. 

So, do I think Danny Worsnop is killing his career by forsaking Asking Alexandria? Yes.  His voice is no longer what it once was, which is a true tragedy, and his creative outlook has now trailed off from that which made Stand Up and Scream one of the most innovative metalcore albums of its time.  But as the saying goes, when one door closes, another opens, and I look forward to seeing where Ben Bruce and crew take Asking Alexandria in the near future.

Don’t agree with me? That’s cool.  Let HXC know why in the comments below. We want to hear from you!

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VIDEO PREMIERE: The Funeral Portrait “Casanova (C’est La Vie)”

What did you eat for lunch today? We’re betting it wasn’t brain in blood soup, but in case you were craving some you can find it right here in The Funeral Portrait’s new music video. Produced by none other than Shawn Milke of Alesana/Revival Recordings, this is not your standard performance video. “Casanova (C’est La Vie)” captures the theatrical nature of the Atlanta, GA band in a bizarre montage of unnerving portraiture, blood and guts, and femme fatale. Not a fan of red corn syrup? The song, taken from their debut EP For The Dearly Departed, is a fun and charismatic romp regardless.

Like what you hear? Read more about The Funeral Portrait in an interview with vocalist Lee Jennings.

Interview with Aria Yava of For All I Am

Photo by Leonel Salcedo of Crossheart Industry.
Photo by Leonel Salcedo of CrossHeart Industry.

For All I Am  stand front and center on the stage of the famous dingy basement known as The Studio @ Webster Hall in New York City. The post-hardcore group has fans lined up against the base of the stage waiting for the first pinch harmonic-filled riffs to come in. Vocalist Aria Yava breaks into a guttural growl and immediately there is newfound community, as kids who have seen the band a hundred times and kids who’ve never even heard of them head bang to the beat. Before long Yava is handing off the mic to various guest vocalists who are coming up on stage and roaring out each lyric with as much gusto as they can muster and admiration in their eyes as they look over at Yava. Together they share the stage, bouncing energy off one another for a few bars before the cameo-vocalists step aside. But they are not walking off stage back with the rest of the tour crew.  These kids are walking back into the crowd as fans who just got the chance to sing alongside their favorite band and convince the crowd it was all meant to happen instead of being a spur of the moment occurrence. This happens several times throughout For All I Am’s set; Yava even brings local scene star Christopher Tito of  Zoúme on stage with him for a verse. At this point even the club’s bartenders and bouncers are watching.  Suddenly, the entire venue becomes the stage.

After the incredible live performance these Illinois natives brought to Manhattan, we needed to know more about For All I Am.  So we hit up Aria Yava to chat about the band’s latest album, their experiences playing live, and of course, their incredible fans.

HXC: Congrats on your latest release, No Home. What was the inspiration behind such a bold album title?

Aria Yava: It’s not like a literal title, it’s a kind of an analogy for your mind. Your home is known as a comfort place.  So “no home” actually means you don’t have comfort in your own skin.

Is that idea of “no home” where your mindset was when you went into that album?

It wasn’t just me, actually. It’s the whole band. We went through a couple things together personally where we did feel like that and that’s why we wrote that album together and for anyone who kind of feels that way.  I know people go through rough times and have different phases through their lives. A lot of people I’ve talked to at shows actually feel like they don’t have a comfort of their own skin or even in their own homes, literally, because of their family or because of insecurities. So we wanted to write an album that relates to those kinds of people.

Do you think people can kind of find that “home” then at local shows?

I don’t know if shows are a home, but they’re definitely more of an escape from whatever they’re dealing with.  When I go see my favorite bands I feel like I don’t have any problems. I just kind of forget about it for a little bit and just enjoy some good music. Sometimes that’s what people need just to keep moving forward.

for all i am

Who would you say is your favorite band?

As of now it’s kind of hard to tell. I haven’t been going to a lot of shows since I’ve been on the road lately, but I’ve been listening to a lot of Define the Great Line by Underoath. My favorite artists, my whole life, have been Underoath, Paramore, Architects, those kind of bands, just like the raw bands that don’t use too much production with sounds that really rock.

Are these the kind of the bands that initially inspired you to pursue music?

Going to see Underoath for my first time really changed  my perspective on music. That’s when I really wanted to play music and do the help-people-that-are-helping-me type thing.  I kind of discovered the power of music and how it moves through people. It’s like a universal language; no matter what language you speak, you can still understand what music is.

We caught your New York show on the Mind Games Release Tour.  You had fans getting up on stage with you to do guest vocals with you. It was crazy.

Yeah, I know. It’s like a regular thing. We don’t hold ourselves to any entitlement, to having the stage to ourselves.  The show is for everyone there, for everyone to have a good time, us as artists, listeners and even the staff and the promoters. Everyone just wants to have a good experience, so we make sure that’s easily achievable.

Do you have any favorite venues?

I definitely like the Ground Floor in [Williamsport], Pennsylvania. Their hospitality is unreal and they have a built-in fan base which is really cool because all the fans check out all the bands that go through. They all give them a chance, which is awesome and that’s what every scene should kind of do. Everyone should be open minded and just enjoy the music.

Photo by Leonel Salcedo of Crossheart Industry.
Photo by Leonel Salcedo of CrossHeart Industry.

“We don’t hold ourselves to any entitlement, to having the stage to ourselves.”

Do you prefer playing shows with barriers or ones without?

You know, unpopular statement: definitely both. They both have their own vibe and both have their own experience.  Sometimes I do like stage diving and I do like when people grab the mic, but I also like when I can have the stage and I can lose myself in the music and in the performance aspect.

Do you have a favorite track to play live off of No Home?

I definitely like “Six Souls.” It’s really heavy and hard hitting, but the other song I like is “Out of Line” because it kind of relates to what I always go through all the time and it helps me cope with it. It’s also a really good, energetic song for the crowd to have a good time to. So, I think those two are my favorites for sure.

You said you really liked to play “Six Souls.” Is that why you wanted to do the video for that song?

Well actually management and the label chose the songs that we shot for, so it was up to them, but we were stoked on their decision and we fully agreed with them, too. There’s also more [videos] coming, so I’m going to be working on those soon.

Do you have any concepts for them yet?

Yeah, we’re running a lot of storyboards and coming up with more specific ideas. We want to go in more with the concept of the songs and the messages in them are going to be more symbolic with our band and kind of go a different route.

Would you say that’s something you prefer to do, something more theatrical than just the minimalistic club show vibe?

I believe so. There’s a lot of bands that are all kind of talking about the same thing lyrically, so we want to do what we do as a band and kind of go in specifically. I feel like more people relate when you kind of relate to them more closely because they’re dealing with something more specific. We kind of like make lyrics so people can take it with them and progress and move forward with what they’re doing rather than just say ‘Hey, we’re here for you.’ Realistically, we can’t be there for everyone all the time; it’s impossible. No one can do that, so we want to really lay it down with the music and help them take away something from it.

You can tell you really care about your fans.

Oh yeah, it’s definitely important. If you don’t pay attention to that you’re kind of leading a pointless career in my opinion.

So if you could sum up For All I Am in one word, what would it be?

Real. That would be the best way to put it. Nothing is fake. We don’t do anything for image. We don’t sell ourselves, we just kind of put everything out there genuinely and hope people take it as genuinely.

VIDEO PREMIERE: Eskimo Callboy “Crystals”

As if to redefine the word “mindfuck,” Eskimo Callboy explode onto 2015 with the video for the title track of their upcoming album, Crystals. Their previous record, We Are The Mess, established the German electrocore outfit as a confusing entanglement of ravaging hardcore, precise instrumentation, and scandalous lyricism. While the band seem to still be clinging to a similar type of danceable heaviness for “Crystals,” the music video delivers some unexpectedly stunning moments uncharacteristically meaningful for Eskimo. This music video is defined by the brilliant and heavily stylized melding of camp and near high art. Between the outrageously glamorous costuming, the kitschy dangling hearts, and the monochromatic religious symbolism and iconography, the “Crystals” video could almost pass more for a modern art installation than anything. Not to mention, the song itself is devastatingly catchy.

Crystals is due to be released March 6th on Redfield Records / Earache Records (UK/US).

eskimo crystals

Music Video of the Week: Vanna “Digging”

Boston-based post-hardcore rockers Vanna put on some of the greatest live shows around.  Known for always bringing the stage past the barrier and into the crowd, their music video for “Digging,” a track notorious for vocalist Davey Muise literally bringing his mic into the audience, paints Vanna in a new light.  For such a powerful song that could have picked up any story or theatrical-based concept, the video remains a simple montage of clips of the group playing with various color schemes changing from color to black and white.  It’s simple, yet unbelievably moving, making the song take on new meaning stretched past the lyrics. Not only is it something they wrote for their audience, as they prove again and again through their shows, but it’s something they wrote for themselves, too, and carries well playing the track on a stage all on their own.

Keep Warm This Winter

Keep Warm This Winter

Cold got you down? Temperatures far below 32 degrees keeping you holed up on the couch? Fear not!  We’ve got 10 great tracks for you right here that will help you trek through the harsh winter outside and remind you of the warmer weather right on the horizon.  Take a look at our ten tracks to keep you warm this winter:

Continue reading Keep Warm This Winter

I Prevail Takes on Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space”

The only Taylor Gang I’m a part of is the unofficial and unashamed T. Swift fan club, so you can imagine my excitement upon stumbling upon I Prevail’s post-hardcore cover of “Blank Space.”  Inspired by the pop princess’s 1989 chart topper, I Prevail does a phenomenal job reworking the tune into something heavy, angsty, and with an all around groove.  The production is solid and creates an ideal example of a cover, by both staying true to the original work but fully embracing it as their own.  In other words, it goes above and beyond just adding breakdowns and uncleans to a pop song like so many “punk goes pop” tracks tend to do, but it also doesn’t stray so far from the single’s initial integrity as to obliterate it completely.  Check out this track and let us know if you think this cover is a total hit or a swing and miss!

Christopher Tito of Zoúme

Photo by Brenda Céspedes.

Webster Hall is a New York City music venue needing no introduction; a fact well-represented by the black-lettered “Most Tweeted Venue of 2014” printed above the entrance. Yet while many know of the neon-clothed ravers that attend the EDM shows held there, The Studio in the basement remains a haven for the hardcore. It is there in that dark cove of headbangers that we at HXC Magazine became aware of a person who occupies the venue as if he himself holds up the walls. Without fail, every time we attended a show at The Studio @ Webster Hall this person, to whom we affectionately referred as the “Kellin Quinn look-alike,” (so dubbed because the resemblance has affirmed my belief in doppelgängers) would be front and center. He became a fixture for us, a kind of skinny-jean’ed Where’s Waldo. Upon attending the Palisades album release show on January 6th and witnessing him hop on stage for a fierce vocal guest spot during For All I Am’s set, we learned his name is Christopher Tito, he is the vocalist for the NYC metalcore/post-hardcore band Zoúme, and he is an HXC Diehard.

Continue reading Christopher Tito of Zoúme

Music Video of the Week: The Ghost Inside “Dear Youth (Day 52)”

“Dear Youth (Day 52)” was the first track to be released off the new The Ghost Inside album and is essentially an embellished lyric video, but what makes it worthy of our “Music Video of the Week” nomination is who’s toting the lyrics here. The video for the title track of Dear Youth, one of our Top 10 HXC Approved Albums of 2014, embodies what we stand for at HXC Magazine. Music, especially hardcore, is about community. Bands like The Ghost Inside wouldn’t be what they are without their fans, and to showcase that fact the band made their fans the stars of this video. The record itself is a loose concept album surrounding a letter vocalist Jonathan Vigil wrote to his younger self, capturing his determination of purpose and loss thereof; sentiments to which we all can relate at one point or another. It only makes sense that those who mosh to his every word should be the ones to disseminate the message. Whether they’re sitting on the toilet or serving in the army, they’re the people who make the scene what it is. So this writer would like to take time to address you all, too: Dear Youth, thank you for carrying these words around with you every day. Sincerely, one hardcore kid to another.

Concepts Takes on Maroon 5’s “Animals”

I think it’s safe to say that Maroon 5’s “Animals” is one of the creepiest songs on the radio right now.  The only thing more disturbing than the bizarre predatory lyrics of it all may be Adam Levine’s displacingly excited pop vocals rounding out the song.  Luckily for us, the band Concepts came out with a cover of “Animals” that is not only worlds better than the original, but sets a musical tone that’s actually suiting to the lyrics. In a heavy rock, hardcore setting, Concepts delivers punching riffs and dual vocals aptly rendering the strange dichotomy between predatory and pop that Maroon 5 couldn’t quite get a hold of.  It’s fresh, fun and worth a listen, so check it out and let us know if YOU think this cover rocks or flops!

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In and of the scene.

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