As I Lay Dying
The Powerless Rise
posted on 5/2010 By:
I’m pretty sure there’s no need to introduce As I Lay Dying to anyone reading this review. If you clicked here, you are more than likely to be a fan of the band and want to see how the new album sounds (or more likely, you have bought the album already and want to see if my review is accurate). That, or you are one of the closed-minded metalheads simply here to post a lash and say “THIS BAND SUCKS BALLS” or tell everyone how Christianity should not be in metal.
I’ll be the first to admit I enjoy, but not really love As I Lay Dying. They are solid at what they do, know their sound and more importantly, their audience. However, I’ll be the first to knock the band for treading water somewhat after the watershed Frail Words Collapse, as Shadows Are Security and the improved-but-still-safe An Ocean Between Us were relatively interchangeable.
But three years after An Ocean Between Us, here is The Powerless Rise, an album with a slightly revamped line-up, notably fully incorporated bassist/clean vocalist Josh Gilbert (Year One), who frankly seems to have invigorated As I Lay Dying’s sound a little. His clean croons are far more natural and fitting to the songs, and while As I Lay Dying is certainly still not re-inventing the wheel (cross?), they are still relevant, possibly as relevant as they have been since Frail Words Collapse. The Powerless Rise is a confident, calculated album that highlights all of As I Lay Dying’s positives.
Bolstered by an all-star production/mix/mastering team (Adam D, Colin Richardson, Daniel Castleman, Tim Lambesis), the result is expectedly clean, big and heavy and the songs all benefit, without sounding as processed as the last album. Opener “Beyond Our Suffering” does what “Nothing Left” did on An Ocean Between Us, signaling the album's start with a fierce, emphatic and dare I say, brutal assault before things settle into the more traditional As I Lay Dying sound of “Anodyne Sea”, where Gilbert delivers his first smooth chorus and some nice, somber melodies arise. Arguable standout “Without Conclusion” reverts back to the pseudo-brutality with some slick blast beats that are more naturally aggressive and forceful, but still melodic -- more so than anything on the band's last two albums, as “The Plague,” “Condemned” and “The Only Constant Is Change” also show. However, there are plenty of your ‘typical’ As I Lay Dying tracks for the fan-base like “Parallels,” the smooth “Anger and Apathy,” “Vacant” and of course, two ballads in closer “The Blinding of False Light” and other highlight, the moody “Upside Down Kingdom”.
With The Powerless Rise, and even with a predictable formula, As I Lay Dying has staved off the challenge of the likes of War of Ages, Inhale/Exhale, Destroy the Runner, Letters to the Exiles and such by remaining relevant and at the top of thier game with a deft Christian metalcore delivery that covers all the genre's bases and packs an extra punch.
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RelatedAs I Lay Dying
An Ocean Between Us
8/21/2007 As I Lay Dying
Shadows Are Security
6/14/2005 As I Lay Dying
Frail Words Collapse