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Sunday, July 4, 2010

As I Lay Dying: The Powerless Rise

Year released: 2010
Websites: www.myspace.com/asilaydying, www.asilaydying.com
Label: Metal Blade Records


1. Beyond Our Suffering [2:50]

2. Anodyne Sea [4:35]

3. Without Conclusion [3:15]

4. Parallels [4:57]

5. The Plague [3:42]

6. Anger And Apathy [4:26]

7. Condemned [2:50]

8. Upside Down Kingdom [4:00]

9. Vacancy [4:27]

10. The Only Constant Is Change [4:08]

11. The Blinding Of False Light [5:05]


American metalcore veteran AILD is back to slaughter eardrums by the masses, yet again, with their ferocious 5th studio album, "The Powerless Rise"!

Alright guys, turn up the volume of those speakers, and tune up the bass settings for that bass booster. This is one helluva album to blast! With overpowering bass lines and pounding drum beats that is sure to gratify any metalcore fan's appetite for aural destruction, wailing guitar melodies so intense that they not only shake up one's soul from the inside out, but blaze by so fast that you find your finger subconsciously hitting the song on repeat, and anthem-like choruses that would make any decent post-hardcore band proud, AILD proves that metalcore can be a genre that is not all about overly-generic distorted guitar riffs and sub-standard harsh/clean vocals.

This is a good album, not excellent definitely, but just good. There are two issues stopping me from giving this album a 9+/10 rating, and here they are.

Firstly, AILD might want to consider better planning of their vocals on future albums. Their combination of harsh vocals and clean singing on the more popular songs of this album, especially my personal favourites "Anodyne Sea" and "Parallels", proves itself to be a successful formula for creating metalcore hits that aren't too sappy yet overly-aggressive such that it borders on sounding generic. However, the five songs "Beyond Our Suffering", "Without Conclusion", "The Plague", "Condemned" and "The Only Constant Is Change" comprises of entirely growls and screams, which is nearly half of the album. The utilization of both types of vocals is not evenly spread out. If not for the relentless assault of belligerent guitar passages and brutal breakdowns on those tracks with zero clean singing, they would end up sounding like overly-generic metalcore music. If AILD wants to stick closely with the decent formula mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph, it would be better if they tried utilizing both types of vocals simultaneously on a more frequent basis from now on (not to the extent of sounding too much like pop metal of course).

Secondly, although the album blasts off with a good and explosive start and ends off on a nice, mellow and melodic note, it is rather boring in the middle. I mentioned in the earlier paragraph that "If not for the relentless assault of belligerent guitar passages... end up sounding like overly-generic metalcore music." Yes, those tracks mentioned do not sound overly-generic, but that still doesn't mean they do not sound generic. Chugging guitar riffs together with seamless drum beats and simple bass lines are such a common staple in metalcore music that even veterans like AILD cannot do without them, and that is precisely what makes a boring metalcore song these days on the modern metal scene. This is certainly something for AILD (as a matter of fact, all aspiring metalcore bands as well)to watch out for on future albums if they want their songs to be memorable for their musical value and not how they sound like so-and-so metalcore band's so-and-so song.

They will steal your last breath: From left to right - Josh Gilbert (Bass Guitar, Vocals), Phil Sgrosso (Guitar), Tim Lambesis (Vocals), Jordan Mancino (Drums), Nick Hipa (Guitar)

Production-wise, AILD had roped in Adam Dutkiewicz as their producer (guitarist for Killswitch Engage) yet again for the second time, with the last time being when they were recording their second-most recent album "An Ocean Between Us". They did so because they believed Adam understood their sound better than anyone else, and I do not find fault with this claim because Adam certainly continues to do a good job ("An Ocean Between Us" was also a well-received album).

Another minor thing to bring up would be the lyrics, and as usual, it is all about mankind's ignorance, shallowness, and hollowness. Ah, the typical lyrical theme adopted by most metal sub-genres, listening to metal sure makes one feel ashamed of your own species. Oh well, I guess this is a part of metal music that is so deeply ingrained in the culture created by many metal musicians such that one can never really expect it to have much variation.

Being yet another milestone in AILD's scintillating career thus far, "The Powerless Rise" is definitely for fans of the old Bullet For My Valentine, Caliban, Killswitch Engage, Lamb Of God, and Shadows Fall.

Verdict: 8.7 / 10

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