A little more than a year after reuniting with original lead singer Danny Worsnop, the genre-straddling heavy rock group Asking Alexandria released its fifth studio album this past December 15. Partly inspired by the reunion with Worsnop, the rested and reenergized group chose to work with producer Matt Good (From First to Last, D.R.U.G.S.) instead of its usual go-to guy, Joey Sturgis (We Came as Romans, the Devil Wears Prada). “We still love Joey to bits,” the band’s longtime drummer, James Cassells, says. “But Matt’s a good friend of ours, and we wanted to try something different. With Danny returning to the band, we wanted a fresh start.”

Cassells’ wide, smashing groove and huge, natural drum tones on lead single “Into the Fire” reveal a hard-earned maturity that’s evident throughout the album. The drummer’s straightforward drive and massive snare tone on opener “Alone in a Room” and restrained fills on “Under Denver” also stand out. Cassells explains that while tracking he was able to draw inspiration from the tones he achieved in the studio with Good. “I feel like everything was just captured so well,” he says. “We were listening back to the raw drum takes with no EQ or editing, and they sounded amazing. That’s when you know that you captured a good sound—when there’s no tampering and it’s already beautiful. I just had a great time recording, and as soon as you know that you’re capturing great sounds, the whole tracking process turns from being a chore to being awesome.”

Cassells says that the band’s approach to writing has matured. “A lot of people ask us, ‘Is it going to be heavy? Are you going to do pop songs? Is it going to be electronic?’ We’re just trying to write good songs. They ask, ‘Are the songs going to sound like Asking Alexandria?’ Of course they are—we’re the ones writing and recording them! Danny’s voice hasn’t changed. If you liked From Death to Destiny [Worsnop’s previous album with the group], you’re going to like this one.”

With more than 5 million views of the album’s lead single on YouTube a month after its release, Cassells is confident about the reception to the band’s new material. “Honestly, from the reaction from all over the world to ‘Into the Fire,’ I think that everyone’s really going to love this album,” he says. “They’re going to take it as it is: an album with a lot of good and honest songs. I feel like a lot of people are going to relate to that.”

Asking Alexandria will be coheadlining with Black Veil Brides on a U.S. and European tour in early 2018.

James Cassells plays Tama drums, Sabian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, and Axis pedals.

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