ARTISTdirect.com editor-in-chief Rick Florino recently conducted an interview with ASKING ALEXANDRIA guitarist Ben Bruce. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.ARTISTdirect.com: What was the vision for the new album as a whole? Ben: By far, I think it's the best album we've ever written. There's more to this record. There are heavy parts and softer parts. There's a really rock-y ballad too. The whole record flows from heavy to more mellow. It tells a cool story. ARTISTdirect.com: Did you get try anything new here? Ben: We've been playing together a lot longer now so we're used to each other's playing styles. We had a much more solid direction of where we wanted to take this record. Everyone knows we're huge '80s rock fans, hence the SKID ROW covers. We've got a few more covers coming out. We delved a little bit more into that aspect, which we didn't get to do on our last two records because we were still trying to establish ourselves and find our sound. It was fun to experiment with that more. On the last two records, there were heavy string sections, which were all done on the computer. On this record, we got a well-known composer Stevie Blacke to write a real score. We had real string instruments and real choir. I'm really excited we got to explore that on this record. ARTISTdirect.com: Is this album a bit brighter than "Reckless & Relentless"? Ben: It definitely is a little bit brighter. We still explored the dark side. For a long time, we struggled with alcohol, drugs, and being on the road at such a young age. We still explore those things on this record, but we're in a much better place as a group of guys. There are some more positive and uplifting songs like [the band's latest single] "Run Free". We feel like we have a voice now and a responsibility. There are a lot of kids who go through shit at school and people who go through bullshit in their personal lives who we feel we can relate to. We're trying to use our voice to send a more positive message on "Run Free", especially. Read the entire interview from ARTISTdirect.com.