I have never been a massive fan of metalcore, mainly because a lot of the bands just sound too similar and the songs sound very samey, but for me there are a select few that have always stood out from the scene, and AS I LAY DYING are one of them. AILD return with their fifth studio effort, ‘The Powerless Rise’, and from a few listens to it, it’s definitely another step forward for these guys who have consistently produced quality album after album.
Album opener, ‘Beyond Our Suffering’ sets off at such a pace like a drag car that you are kind of left in it’s exhaust fumes whilst it powers on without any remorse, giving it a more technical death metal feel to it. Unrelenting in it’s approach, Jordan Mancino‘s drums are as brutal and vigourous as I have ever heard, whilst the unmistakable rough vocals of Tim Lambesis are not far behind, and especially here amongst other places on this album you can hear a more lower guttural growl style from the big man himself mainly associated with death metal vocalists.
‘Anodyne Sea’ follows in a similar fashion to the opener, albeit a more restrained version, and also showcases the first clean vocals and melodies too, something used on the rest of the album to good effect to change things up, whilst the more heavier and faster numbers in the form of ‘Without Conclusion’ and ‘Condemned’ hits us full in the face, both of which make use of some excellent thrash style riffs, the latter being an exceptional example.
‘Parallels’ and ‘Upside Down Kingdom’ are both prime examples of mixing melody with brutality seamlessly, and with catchy choruses that ensure they will be stuck in your head for days, it shows the varied approach to each song on this album. Closing duo of ‘The Only Constant Is Change’ and ‘The Blinding of False Light’ end the album solidly and keep the listener engrossed until the end with some good guitarwork and melodic sections.
The breakdowns that are so well known with the genre are all but gone in favour of more solos, riffs, melodies and harmonies between the guitars that bring a breath of fresh air to whole metalcore sound, while the structures of the songs are out of this world with every little piece sounding exactly where it should be and fitting together nicely like a cold beer in your hand!
‘The Powerless Rise’ is far from a powerless release, in fact I would go so far as to say it’s their most powerful, heaviest and best release to date and combines their previous efforts whilst adding another dimension and influences to their sound which shows AS I LAY DYING‘s apt nature for evolution whilst still creating solid and outstanding albums at the same time. ‘The Powerless Rise’ has evolved the metalcore sound even more, and for the better, and whether anyone, including the creators themselves, can better this in the future remains to be seen.
Review By Adam Fredericks
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