As I Lay Dying – Awakened

Metalcore has essentially logged itself in the history books of metal as a genre that will be remembered by a handful of marquee acts. As I Lay Dying, despite a waning interest in the genre as a whole, has cemented itself as one of those who will always be associated and remembered with a movement so big it filled the bank accounts of Ozzfest for many-a-year.

Yet for all the genre underpinnings and textbook definitions as to what As I Lay Dying is, was, or might have been, they are consistently heavy and have never strayed from offering up some of the most headbang worthy tracks one could ask for.

As As I Lay Dying venture into the path of Awakened, they keep up their cadence of an album release every two to three years. Their progress as a band has seen fifteen videos and eleven singles get released, with three of their five albums chart on the Billboard Top 200.

Awakened, as described by Lambesis sees the band move away from the ?outward themes of The Powerless Rise, in favor of a more introspective approach.? Whatever the case may be, there?s a freshness to the album. There are more hooks, more innovation on the guitar, and a little extra speed. It?s new territory, but at the same time, welcome territory for a band that has long existed as one of the pioneers in the space.

Limited ?clean vocals? will appease some, but even Lambesis takes it down by 20% in the album?s closing track ?Tear Out My Eyes?. Yet, for the first time since the departure of Clint Norris in 2006, As I Lay Dying has really managed to put emphasis on the talents of Josh Gilbert on backup vocals (and even on bass on ?Defender?!).

Awakened is a release of metamorphosis, perhaps personified by the butterfly on the album art. Awakened has taken As I Lay Dying from strictly metalcore act to a more dynamic metal band, ushering in patches of thrash interspersed with melody and hooks (both from a guitar and vocal perspective).

Sticking with the theme of progression and evolution, even the songs (from 1-11) seem to shift from all out brawl to a more equal footed balance of harmony. Intentional? Perhaps. Upsetting to some? Absolutely. After all, nobody likes change.

Awakened is packed with its anthemic pit-whirlers but also comes complete with some slower options. How the latter might go over in a live environment is a bit of a head scratcher, so Tim Lambesis and crew will have to choose wisely what songs make the set-list and what don?t. Overall, Awakened is a release that bridges the gap for what the future could represent for As I Lay Dying. Seeing a band not stick to a pre-determined formula is what is one of the most respectable outcomes of Awakened. It?s a job well done.

Rating: 8/10
Label: Metal Blade Records
Awakened is out September 25, 2012 | Catch As I Lay Dying on the Monster Energy Outbreak Tour 2012

As I Lay Dying – “A Greater Foundation”

 

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