Saturday, February 5, 2011

Review: As I Lay Dying - The Powerless Rise

Band: As I Lay Dying
Album: The Powerless Rise
Year: 2010
Genre: Melodic Death/Metalcore

After the exceptional An Ocean Between Us As I Lay Dying are back with The Powerless Rise. Starting from where AOBU left off the band continues in that same direction. Automatically you can tell the band has gotten a little heavier musically and vocally. Tim’s growls and screams are more guttural and there are far more Death growls incorporated. Or maybe they havent even gotten heavier musically, perhaps just more consistant in their heaviness.

AILD never were heavy on clean singing but they usually kept a number of songs on the album with singing during the chorus. This trend is continued here and Gilbert’s vocals remain as they did on AOBU, not whiny but not terribly gruff either. He finds a medium and sticks with it which does the album ok but I think it would offend far less of the “true” metal heads if he took a more aggressive stance vocally. Tim’s vocals are more extreme than the last album. His highs are better I would say and his lows used much more while going into death metal territory.

Jordan Mancino is excellent on drums. I especially like how he throws blast beats into tracks pretty liberally. They are scattered throughout the album on songs like Without Conclusion, The Plague, and Condemned. He has become one of my favorite drummers in modern metal.

The riffs are all around great. My favorites would have to be the riff that starts Condemned, Upside Down Kingdom (especially during the chorus) and The Only Constant Is Change which has the most epic chorus on the album. But The Only Constant Is Change is also full of good riffs in its entirety. In fact if I had to describe the riffs on this album in one word it would be emotion, they all contain lots of it.

Lets talk about the solos! Back in the days before An Ocean Between Us they were painfully absent until AILD got their new guitarists who seemed to bring more metal into the band. There are some nice smaller solos like in Beyond Our Suffering and Without Conclusion. Even though its not my favorite song, Parallels has the best solo on the album and in that way its sort of like The Sound of Truth from AOBU.

And hey the bass can actually be heard! He (Gilbert) even has some nice bass fills and lines. Just check out the start of Upside Down Kingdom or the start of Condemned where its very audible. It also sounds like they turned his bass up a little more in the mix which is nice considering bands in this genre usually never do anything with the bass.

When all is said and done this album sets a new bar by which the band and others in melodic metalcore will be compared and criticized. The production is just downright perfect, the instruments are played with serious talent, the vocals are heavy and it all is combined to create one great album.

Score: 9/10
Standout Track: The Only Constant Is Change (definitely give this a listen!)

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