Review : As I Lay Dying - The Powerless Rise
PopmattersOf all the dozens and dozens of American metalcore bands who bluntly co-opted At the Gates’ groundbreaking blend of melody and aggression and drove it into our heads instead of trying to come up with something remotely original, As I Lay Dying is one of the tired genre’s most inexplicable success stories. At their worst, the San Diego band can be hopelessly generic, the songwriting often lacking the melodic punch of peers All That Remains and Killswitch Engage, the vocal work of frontman Tim Lambesis strong but failing to differentiate from all the other death growlers in metal, their live show devoid of the energy and charisma that a band like Unearth exudes in spades. Yet by sheer will they’ve chipped and chipped their way into the heads of younger metal fans especially, building an extremely loyal fanbase from the ground up by literally playing anywhere and everywhere over the course of ten years to the point now that they can keep churning out the same old tired Slaughter of the Soul rip-offs and be assured of a top ten debut on the album chart. For all their faults, that tenacity alone is worthy of some respect.
Granted, in the wake of their 2005 breakthrough Shadows Are Security As I Lay Dying has attempted to shed the metalcore tag. At times 2007’s An Ocean Between Us showed some mildly interesting signs of growth, the majority of its songs a lot darker in tone, riffs often ditching the mellifluous flourishes for a much blunter attack that could sometimes be described as “Slayer-esque”. For their fifth album, however, the band has decided to go back to the formula that gained them such notoriety in the first place. But before all the skeptics start rolling their eyes and thinking, here we go again, the end result is far more interesting than expected. Sure, the quintet has gone back to the cookie-cutter sound of twin leads, hardcore breakdowns, and alternating clean and harsh vocals, but by essentially admitting that they have no innovative ideas whatsoever and are content to work within that metalcore template, they actually sound like a band liberated on The Powerless Rise....full text
HeavymetalThe Powerless Rise is As I Lay Dying's fifth full-length CD, and their most versatile and polished release to-date. On songs like "Anodyne Sea," As I Lay Dying puts it all together: catchy riffs, intense guitars, brutal breakdowns and melodic vocals. "Without Conclusion" is one of the heaviest songs on the CD, with unrelenting intensity and all harsh vocals. They follow that with perhaps the catchiest track, "Parallels," which has a lot of radio-friendly hooks, but also a lot of aggressiveness.
"The Plague" is a highlight, with galloping thrash riffs and a strong vocal performance from Lambesis, who varies the pitch of his screams to avoid monotony. The guitar solo is also good. The Powerless Rise is a focused effort as well, with the 11 songs clocking in at just 44 minutes. "Condemned" manages to pack in a plethora of mosh-worthy riffs and an anthemic chorus in under 3 minutes. The album ends on a strong note with "The Blinding Of False Light."...full text
BlogcriticsAs I Lay Dying is a really good band. They have seemingly found that perfect balance between mainstream appeal and street cred. This is evidenced by their ability to draw crowds on big package tours like Sounds to the Underground as well as on the stages of those big European metal festivals like Wacken.
However, when it is all said and done, it doesn't matter what types of crowds they draw, it is the recorded music that will ultimately dictate their worthiness. I must say, The Powerless Rise is as good a reason as any to like them and give them the benefit of the doubt.
Why do hey need this? Well, this happens to be one of those bands that a few years ago I was willing to write off. I did the unthinkable and lumped them in the screamo crowd that I was not terribly interested in. Then came the 2006 Sounds of the Underground tour. They were the first band I saw and they completely won me over. Simply put, they were heavy, brutal, and melodic, and completely engaging. From then on I was a fan....full text
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