With last year’s release of sophomore album Reckless & Relentless, British deathcore rising stars Asking Alexandria, riding hot on the heels of 2009’s Stand Up And Scream,removed all doubt about their bona fides as members of popular metal’s new upper echelon. The electro-assisted assault on Reckless & Relentless marries soaring pop-punk anthemic reach with the brutal driving anchor of drummer James Cassells’ powerful double bass work, which he likes to point out is achieved using the ever-effective heel-toe technique. So follow along (if you can) to the drummer’s tutorials, in his words, outlined below.


“Breathless” is probably one of the more simplistic songs on our album Reckless & Relentless, just solid structure going from heavy to verse to chorus. This is one of the reasons why it’s up there with my favorite to play as you can really get into playing hard and solid. The part transcribed here and that I play in the video on is at the end when the song really starts to spice up. The double bass intro to the breakdown lets you know something’s going down and when it stops with a choke with a brief beat of silence the breakdown hits. Throughout the whole section there are chokes on crashes and Chinas following the guitar, with accents hitting the bell at one point, all over the same rhythm. It’s the accents and linear fills that give the section character and make it seem like it changes when really it doesn’t.

Cassells Music 1


“Morte et Dabo” is by far the darkest song on the album, so when creating the drum parts for this song I wanted this to be reflected. It starts with in-your-face back-and-forth hits between the snare and kick with the odd flurry off double bass, definitely the most intense section we have to date. The fill into the next groove is what really stands out for me. The groove (in my opinion it’s not really a groove, more a pattern) shouldn’t really work. But the way that the snare and kick rhythms work together is rather unique, and coming from the intense section before just leaves you wondering what is going on. Before you know it the first breakdown hits simplistic and empty, the polar opposite of what came before.


Cassells Music 2


I use a technique called heel-toe in every Asking Alexandria song, but in no other song is it displayed as it is in “A Lesson Never Learned.” The opening rhythm is one of my favorites if not my favorite on the album, and because of the technique it makes it even more interesting for me. Usually if played heel-up this would be lead with the right foot, but because I play doubles with each foot halfway through the rhythm it switches to my left foot leading and continues to do that through both variations on the rhythm. Rather challenging to pull off smoothly but definitely interesting to play.

Cassells Music 3

Cassells Setup


Drums Truth
1 20″ x 20″ Bass drum
2 13″ x 7″ Truth Black Brass Snare Drum
3 12″ x 8″ Tom
4 13″ x 9″ Tom
5 16″ x 14″ Floor Tom

Cymbals Sabian
A 14″ X-Celerator Hi-Hat
B 20″ APX Crash
C 15″ AAX X-Treme China
D 20″ Evolution Ride
E 7″ Bell
F 21″ Holy China

James Cassells also uses Remo heads (Emperor on the toms, coated Emperor X on the snare, and Pinstripe on the kick), DW 9000 series hardware, Axis 21 Laser double pedal, and Vic Firth 5B wood-tip sticks.