Maybe it’s YouTube. Or the Mark Wahlberg movie Rock Star.
Whichever it is, it seems more rock bands looking for new singers these days are turning to fans. The latest to do so is British alt-metallers Asking Alexandria.
“The Rock Star movie, where a fan joins the band, was definitely the running joke at the record label for a little bit,” guitarist Ben Bruce tells the Dig. “But there’s no Mark Wahlberg here. I wish there was a Jennifer Aniston, though.”
The band parted ways last year with singer and co-founder Danny Worsnop, who is now focusing on his band We Are Harlot. Worsnop was replaced by Denis Stoff, a longtime fan from the Ukraine who had posted videos of himself singing metal covers, including Asking Alexandria songs. Stoff was also a label mate at Sumerian who formerly fronted the band Make Me Famous.
“It’s actually funny because Denis, when he was young, he had tons of YouTube covers online, so we were aware of him,” Bruce explains. “As soon as Danny departed, it was the obvious choice. He was on the same label. It was quite an easy transition.”
Stoff has breathed new life into the British band and planted his flag with authority on the new album The Black, which comes out March 25. The band headlines House of Blues Thursday with Bullet for My Valentine.
“We’re all enjoying ourselves again, which is nice. He brought back the energy and passion we lost a few years ago. He’s as much in love with this band as we are. He gives his all, 100 percent, every night. It gave us a boot in the ass too. We’re all having fun again.”
Bruce has remained friends with Worsnop, but welcomes the new creative freedom and invigoration brought by Stoff. The result is an album that has moments as heavy as any the electronicore band has delivered, as well as some of its most anthemic, Sirius Octane-ready bangers. Sample the glorious metal carnage of “Circled By The Wolves,” the Avenged Sevenfold-Meets-Linkin Park-esque “I Won’t Give In,” or the impassioned ballad “Gone.” The whole Worsnop-Stoff drama is addressed in the intense “Sometimes It Ends.”
“We’re ecstatic, man. We put everything into this album,” he said. “The last album [2013’s From Death to Destiny] was a big struggle for us. And it definitely didn’t come out the way we wanted it to. It didn’t work well with Danny. He just went a different way than we did. We weren’t on the same page.”
“We wanted to make sure we were all on the same page and make sure all five of us were doing something we were all in love with. [Danny] didn’t want anything really heavy. But this is just a very honest and passionate album.”
The hard-partying Brits are no strangers to Boston—they’re buds with the dudes from Vanna—so don’t be shocked to find them at the local pub.
“We always go out drinking when we’re in Boston. It’s an awesome place to hang out. I love all the history and the old architecture in Boston. We love Boston.”
And who knows, maybe they’ll run into Wahlberg and pitch a Rock Star sequel.